January 2011 issue

Agency News
Agency Survey
Market Report
Special Report
Course Guide
Regional Focus

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China hots up

With demand for higher education overseas remaining consistently high, Chinese agencies report that the number of students looking to learn a language for future or current work purposes is on the rise.

Key points
• The total number of students placed by the nine agencies in our survey was 1,774

• Individual agencies placed between 50 and 1,000 students on courses per year

• Average business growth was 5.3 per cent in the last 12 months

• The average length of stay for Chinese students at three of the nine agencies was 32 weeks

• Overall, 43 per cent of Chinese students stayed in residential accommodation when studying overseas

Eight of the agencies surveyed charged their clients a handling fee

• An average of 54 per cent of agency clients

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. USA 33%
2. UK 17%
3. Japan 10%
4. Australia 8%
5. Canada 7%
5. Korea 7%
7. Singapore 4%
8. New Zealand 3%
9. Malaysia 1%
Other 10%
1. Academic/exam prep. 16%
1. General 16%
3. Intensive 13%
4. Summer vacation 10%
4. University foundation 10%
6. Language plus work experience 3%
7. Junior 2%
8. Business 1%
Other 29%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Studies overseas 66%
2. Future work 31%
3. Current work 7%
4. Studies at home 6%
5. Pleasure 4%
Other 2%
1. Higher education 54%
2. Secondary education abroad 25%
3. Language programmes 13%
4. Internships 4%
5. Work & travel 2%
6. Volunteer 1%
Other 1%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Word-of-mouth 28%
2. Advertising in press 19%
3. Website 15%
4. Seminars to students 13%
5. E/online marketing 9%
6. Mail shots 2%
Other 14%
1. Agent workshops 25%
2. Fairs and expos 19%
3. Internet 15%
4. Other press 7%
5. LTM/ETM 3%
Other 31%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 33%
English Australia 55%

Languages Canada 44%

Souffle 22%
Groupement FLE 11%
L'Office 11%
Unosel 11%

MEI 22%

Asils 11%
Italian in Italy 0%

Feltom 22%

New Zealand
English NZ 44%
Aeple 0%

South Africa
EduSa 11%

Fedele 11%

ABLS 33%
English UK 67%
British Council 78%

Accet 22%
CEA 22%

Eaquals 22%
Ialc 22%
IHWO 22%
Quality English 22%
Tandem 11%

Market growth
There was much variation where growth forecasts were concerned in 2009 and 2010, with three agencies signalling that business had remained stable and four recording encouraging growth figures of between 10 and 100 per cent. If we exclude the latter figure, which only serves to inflate the overall average, business growth across the board was a respectable 5.3 per cent, in keeping with our last agency survey on China (see LTM, February 2009, pages 22-23) where business grew by an average of four per cent. Only one agency recorded a decline in bookings in the past year, while one agency declined to comment.

Language and destination trends
In our 2009 survey of 2008 trends, just four languages made it into the list of most sought after language programmes abroad. However, this year’s survey saw more diversity with French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean and Russian language programmes requested by students, according to survey respondents. However, English remains the most popular choice for Chinese students, accounting for 77 per cent of all agency bookings, compared with 92 per cent previously. The USA has consistently been popular with Chinese students and a total of 33 per cent of all agency clientele opted to study in the USA in 2009 and 2010, compared with 30 per cent previously. The next most popular study destinations were the UK (17 per cent) and Japan (10 per cent). Asian EFL study destinations are also a popular option for Chinese students, with Singapore and Malaysia each securing a spot in the top ten.

Student and course trends
The largest proportion of agency clientele (66 per cent) opted to learn a language overseas for further education purposes, followed by future and current work purposes (22 per cent). Consequently, academic preparation (16 per cent compared with 13 per cent previously) and university foundation programmes (10 per cent compared with 33 per cent previously) were some of the more popular courses with students.

Agency business
The main crux of agency business fell into the higher education sector, accounting for 54 per cent of all client requests received, compared with 52 per cent in the 2009 survey. A further 25 per cent were allocated to secondary education placements abroad – a sector not profiled previously. Language programmes accounted for 13 per cent of business across surveyed agencies, down significantly on the 30 per cent recorded previously. Agent workshops provided a good platform for agencies to find new school partners to work with, accounting for an overall average of 25 per cent of all new partners sourced. Language fairs and student expos (19 per cent) and the Internet (15 per cent) also proved useful sources.

Looking ahead
With China’s economy hotting up, the future of the Chinese study abroad market looks promising. However, recent announcements concerning the Chinese government’s intention to encouarge more of its top students to remain in China for their studies, while attracting more foreigners to study in the country, may have a negative effect on agency business in the future.

Economic overview

• China’s economy has maintained robust growth in the third quarter of 2010, despite slowing down slightly. Official figures show a drop from just over 10 per cent growth to 9.6 per cent, still far ahead of any other major economy.

• The Chinese government has been taking measures to cool a credit boom in order to achieve more sustainable growth levels. A surprise interest rate rise in October was seen as a sign of the government tackling inflation to bring it back towards a target of three per cent by the end of 2010.

• Consumer prices rose 3.6 per cent year on year, the fastest increase since October 2008.

Source: Bloomberg.com, BBC.com

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.






International House
      World Organisation  
MEI Ireland  
Quality English  

Alphe Conferences  
IALC International  


Dr. Walter GmbH  

LTM Digital  
Student Marketing  

Malta Tourism

Twin Group  

Bond University  
English Australia  
Impact English
Language Studies
Pacific Gateway
      International College  
Perth Education
Shafston International
English Language &
      Foundation Studies
University of New
      South Wales  
University of

Banff Education
College Platon  
Global Village  
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
       of Canada  
MWS Student
      Camps International
Richmond School
      District #38  
School District
      No.42 Maple Ridge
      & Pitt Meadows  
Vancouver English

Active Learning  
Bell International  
      Education Group -
Camp Beaumont  
English Studio  
Hampstead School
      of English  
Harrow House
Hove College  
      House London  
International House
      World Organisation
INTO University
King's Colleges
Language Studies
London School
      of Business &
Malvern House
      College London 
Millfield School 
Quality English 
Queen Ethelburga's
Sedbergh School  
St Giles Colleges  
Study Group  
Twin Group  
University of
      Essex -

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

MEI Ireland  

      Language School
Malta Tourism

Otago Polytechnic  

EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps  
Live Language  
University of
Stevenson College  

      Spanish Courses  
Malaga Si  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  

ELS Language
UC Berkeley
University of
      San Diego  
Zoni Language

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