January 2010 issue

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Agency Survey
Market Report
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Course Guide
Regional Focus

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Russia challenged

In general, business for outbound education agencies was bleak in Russia in 2009 and only agents with pro-active business plans for 2010 are optimistic…

Key points
• The total number of student weeks placed by the 16 agencies in our survey was 1,677

• Individual agencies placed between 12 and 420 students on language courses each year

• Average business growth was -12 per cent (bar one result)

• The average length of stay for Russian students was 7 weeks

• 80 per cent of agencies that replied charged clients a handling fee

• The UK was the most popular destination for Russian students, gaining in popularity

• In the last 12 months, agencies had worked with an average of just 20 language schools each

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. UK 60%
2. France 7%
3. Ireland 6%
4. Canada 5%
4. Malta 5%
6. USA 4%
7. Spain 3%
8. Germany 2%
9. Australia 1%
9. China 1%
9. Japan 1%
1. General 25%
2. Summer 21.5%
3. Junior 12.5%
4. Intensive 12%
5. Academic prep. 8%
6. Lang. plus work 7%
7. Foundstion 5%
8. Business 4%
Other 5%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Future work 36%
2. Studies overseas24%
3. Studies at home 19%
4. Current work 12%
5. Pleasure 7%
1. Language progr. 60%
2. Work & travel 16%
3. Higher education 14%
4. Internships 4%
Other 6%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Word-of-mouth 40%
2. Website 27%
3. Seminars to students 9%
4. Advertising in press 6%
5. E/online 2%
6. Mail shots 1%
6. TV/radio 1%
Other 14
1. Workshops 37%
2. Internet 29%
3. Fairs and expos 21%
4. LTM/ETM 8%
5. Other press3%
Other 2%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 14%
English Australia 21%

Languages Canada 36%

Souffle 14%
FLE.fr 21%
L'Office 7%
Unosel 7%

MEI 28%

Asils 7%
Italian in Italy 7%

Feltom 57%

New Zealand
English NZ 28%
Aeple 0%

South Africa
EduSa 0%
English SA 7%

Fedele 57%

ABLS 14%
English UK 71%
British Council 93%

Accet 28%
CEA 7%

Eaquals 36%
Ialc 71%
IHWO 36%
Quality English 57%
Tandem 14%

Market growth
There is no doubt that Russian education agencies have had it tough in 2009, and smaller numbers were posted in this survey than in our previous survey (see LTM, February 2008, pages 14-15). Bar one exceptional result of 190 per cent increase in business in the last year (from a relatively low base of students), the overall figure for business performance in 2009 arrived at –12 per cent (four per cent including this figure). And, of the 16 agencies that took part in our survey, seven posted a negative growth rate and two declined to say, while a further two agencies said business remained consistent only. The global financial crisis was roundly blamed for the lacklustre performance of the market, with children sponsored by parents to travel abroad particularly declining, according to one agency.

Language and destination trends
With affordability a key issue, it is no surprise that the UK became far more popular a destination because of the relative value of the UK pound. Sixty per cent of all language clients were estimated to have studied in the UK in the last year, up from 38 per cent previously. All other English speaking destinations lost out as a result, although Ireland was next in line, with a six per cent market share; up from four per cent. One agency said they would work more with Ireland over the UK next year because Irish schools were maintaining their prices while British schools were increasing their prices, not taking into account “that the financial crisis still exists”. France and Germany were clearly significant markets too, accounting for seven per cent of demand each, after 72 per cent of clients overall requested English.

Student and course trends
Summer vacation courses rose in popularity to be second only to general language programmes. Future work was the predominant reason for studying abroad, followed by studies overseas (24 per cent). Forty-five per cent of clients wanted host family accommodation while overseas and 27 per cent requested residential. Average length of stay, at seven weeks, dropped by one week, and more intensive courses were signalled as a possible trend that will continue.

Agency business
Word-of-mouth recommendation remained the most typical way to recruit clients, with a company website becoming slightly more essential, now estimated to be attracting 27 per cent of new business as opposed to 24 per cent. In terms of business sectors that agencies were involved in, most offered work and travel (16 per cent); higher education (14 per cent) and internship programmes (four per cent), as well as language tuition placement (60 per cent). Although agencies worked with an average of 80 schools in 15 countries worldwide, in the last 12 months, they had actively worked with just 20 education partners.

Looking ahead
There is a real challenge ahead for Russian agencies, as many predict continued uncertainty and possibly further decline in the market or further price sensitivity. Renowned exam programmes and junior programmes were highlighted as two best possible avenues for growth. There was some optimism among agencies, but this was all related to individual agency effort to build business rather than the market outlook.

Economic overview

• 2009 was a turbulent year for the Russian economy, which shrank by 10.9 per cent in the second quarter as demand for oil, gas and metals fell.

• Year-end GDP decline is expected to be between –7.5 per cent and –8.5 per cent, but President Medvedev said that measures to save jobs and stabilise the country’s banking sector had paid off and prevented a worse situation.

• There are some green shoots of recovery, however, according to analysts, although a slow rebuilding of confidence is expected. Manufacturing output grew for the first time in 14 months in September and the rouble stabilised against the dollar.

Sources: BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters.

Russian agencies named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Insearch UTS, Sydney, NSW. In Canada: ILAC, various. In Ireland: Centre of English Studies, Dublin. In Germany: Sprachinstitut Treffpunkt, Bamberg; Eurasia Institute, Berlin; did deutsch-institut, various. In Italy: Linguadue, various. In France: Actilangue, Nice; Carel, Royan; Paris Langue, Paris. In Spain: Malaca Instituto, Malaga. In Malta: Sprachcaffe, various. In Austria: Actilingua, Vienna. In China: Harbin Engineering University, Harbin. In Portugal: CIAL, Lisbon. In New Zealand: Languages International, various. In the UK: Colchester English Study Centre, Colchester; London School of English, London; Winchester School of English, Winchester; Concord College, Shrewesbury; Bellerbys College, various; Bournemouth Business School International, Bournemouth; Malvern House, London; St Giles, various; LSI, various; International House London, London; King’s School of English, various; Into University Partnerships, various; Twin Group, various. In the USA: FLS International, various; LSI USA; Manhattan Language, New York. Worldwide: Regent, OISE, EF, Kaplan International Colleges, Embassy CES.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: ALM Co. Ltd; Anima Project; Center for International Education; CIPT Alternativa; Educational Centre Meganom; International Exchange Center “Real Fun”; Irkutsk Linguistic Center Big Ben; Language for Life; Masterclass; Optima Study Ltd; StudyIN; StudyLand; Svetlana-S; System-3 Education; Ya Language School.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Feltom Malta  

Alphe Conferences 


LTM Digital  
Your World on

Malta Tourism
Office de Tourisme

Twin Group 
      (Ireland, UK) 

Ecela - Latin
      (Argentina, Chile,

English Australia  

Dialogo Language

Spanish World

Study Team

College Platon  
Global Village 
      (Australia, Canada,
Public Schools of
       the Canadian
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
       of Canada  
National School of
Public Schools of
      the Canadian
Red Leaf Student
      Program and Tours  
Rocky Mountain
      School District  
Saint Charles
      Garnier College  
Southeast Kootenay
      School District No. 5
Vancouver English

Bright World
Camp Beaumont  
English Studio  
International House
Kaplan Aspect  
       (Australia, Canada,
       Ireland, Malta, New
       Africa, UK, USA)
Kings Colleges
       (Prime Education)  
LAL Language
      and Leisure
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
London School of
      Business & Finance  
St Giles Colleges 
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Twin Group 
      (Ireland, England,
Queen Ethelburgas
University of Essex -
Wimbledon School
      of English  

Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France  
Institut de Touraine  
Office de Tourisme
SILC - Séjours
      (England, France,

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Language College

Kai Japanese
      Language School  
      Language School  

      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Malta Tourism

Habla Ya
      Language Center  

EAC Language
      Centres and Activity
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)
University of

International House
      Sevilla - CLIC  
Malaca Instituto
      - Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga Si  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Singapore,
      South Africa, Spain,
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)

California State
      University Long
ELS Language
Geos North
      American Language
      (Canada, USA )
IH New York  
      International, LCI  
      College (NY)  
San Diego State
University of
University of
      California San
University of
      Illinois at Urbana-
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)

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