|The total number of students placed by the nine advisories in our survey was 4,455
Individual advisories placed between six and 3,800 students on courses per year
Average business growth was 6.7 per cent in the last 12 months
The average length of stay for Middle Eastern students was four weeks
Overall, 93 per cent of Middle Eastern students stayed in host families accommodation when studying overseas
An average of 77 per cent of advisory clients were learning a language for further studies overseas
Higher education abroad is the most lucrative sector of the study abroad market for Middle Eastern advisors
On average, agents worked with 31 different partners in the last 12 months
||Most popular courses
|1. Australia 30%
2. UK 29%
3. USA 19%
4. Canada 9.5%
5. New Zealand 6%
6. Ireland 5%
7. Germany 1%
||1. Intensive 45%
2. University foundation 20%
3. General 13%
4. Summer vacation 10%
5. Academic/exam preparation 6%
6. Junior 3%
7. Business 1%
|Reasons for studying overseas
||Average percentage agency business
|1. Studies overseas 77%
2. Future work 10.5%
3. Current work 5%
4. Pleasure 2%
5. Studies at home 2% Other 3.5%
||1. Higher education 50%
2. Language programmes 48%
3. Work & travel 1%
4. Internships 1%
|How do advisors recruit students?
||How do advisors find new schools to represent?
|1. Word-of-mouth 43%
2. Advertising in press 16%
3. Website 14%
4. E/online marketing 10%
5. Seminars to students 6%
6. Mail shots 5%
7. TV/radio 2%
||1. B2B conferences%
2. Internet 19%
3. Language fairs and
student expos 8%
4. STM 9%
5. Other press 3%
|Percentage of advisors who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 55%
Languages Canada 55%
Groupement FLE 22%
Italian in Italy 11%
English NZ 55%
British Council 100%
English UK 89%
Quality English 67%
A region that encompasses western parts of Asia and northern Africa, the Middle East has become a bountiful source market for institutions in English-speaking and non-English speaking study destinations. In 2011, this world region accounted for 17 per cent of the total student body at New Zealand institutions, 15 per cent of the student population at Canadian institutions and seven per cent at French institutions (see latest STM Industry Statistics online). Analysing the market as a world region we received data from advisors based in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Israel we discover that individual advisors placed between six and 3,800 students within the last 12 months. Five advisors posted a business increase of between five and 35 per cent, while two recorded a 30 or 40 per cent respective dip in business. One agent cited complications surrounding visa applications and the well-documented political unrest in the region as having had a negative impact on the outgoing student market in their country. Average business growth across the board came in at a respectable 6.7 per cent.
Language and destination trends
While the most significant language requested by Middle Eastern students was English (98 per cent), a very small proportion did appear to be interested in other languages including Russian (one per cent) and German (one per cent). English-speaking countries dominated the list of preferred study destinations with bookings for Australia accounting for majority of agency business (30 per cent), followed by the UK (29 per cent), and the USA (19 per cent).
Student and course trends
Middle Eastern clients proved to be a highly motivated lot with 45 per cent requesting intensive English language programmes. The higher education landscape in English-speaking destinations proved a big draw for Middle Eastern clientele, as evidenced by the 77 per cent who determined that they were studying overseas in preparation for further study. Requests for university foundation courses were the second most requested course (20 per cent). The governments of several Middle Eastern countries have shown a real keenness to nurture and grow student potential by awarding study abroad scholarships to pursue university studies in a foreign country perhaps the best known is the King Abdullah Scholarship Programme (KASP) in Saudi Arabia, however, both Jordan and Oman also provide similar schemes.
Higher education represented a significant business sector for Middle Eastern agencies (50 per cent) in 2011, in keeping with our previous summations regarding this region’s high regard for university education abroad. Language learning programmes represented 48 per cent of business. When looking for new school partners to represent, Middle Eastern advisors were staunch supporters of agent workshops, with 57 per cent finding new partners via this means. When asked how advisors attracted new student clients, a majority found word-of-mouth marketing the best source (43 per cent).
The Arab Spring the revolutionary wave of political protest and demonstration that swept the region in late 2010, early 2011 looks to have had a minimal affect on the study abroad market, and business forecasts for the future remain positive. One agent noted that a new website and e-marketing campaign had had a positive impact on business.
• The Middle East comprises Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
• Oil exporters’ economies were expected to expand by 4.9 per cent in 2011, up from 4.4 per cent previously, according to a report carried out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
• In the wake of regional unrest, Middle Eastern leaders met to confront issues surrounding unemployment. The youth unemployment rate in the region is thought to exceed that of any other region in the world, said the IMF. The oil rich Gulf nations have set out to use oil revenue to create employment opportunities for local citizens.
Middle Eastern advisors named a range of programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Curtin University, Perth, WA. In Canada: Brock University, St Catherine’s, ON; Hansa Language Centre of Toronto, Toronto, ON; Ilac, various; LSC Language Studies Canada, various. In Germany: GLS Sprachenzentrum, Berlin; International University of Applied Sciences, Bad Honnef. In Italy: ALCE , Bologna. In the UK: Anglo Continental, Bournemouth; Berlitz, Manchester; English in Chester, Chester; Eurocentres, Cambridge; Cambridge Academy of English, Cambridge; Malvern House London, London; Regent, Bournemouth; Regent, London; Studio Cambridge, Cambridge; Swansea University, Swansea; Wimbledon School of English, London. In the USA: Center for International Career Development, various; ELS, various. International: Embassy CES; Language Studies International (LSI); Navitas; Kaplan International Colleges (KIC); EC English Centres.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: Ghannam Tours & Education Services, Saudi Arabia; Leaders Cultural Center, Jordan; Al Rawas Educational Services, Syria; IGEC, Saudi Arabia; Al Ahlam Training Services, Oman; Education Zone, UAE; Saudi International Travel Agency, Saudi Arabia; API Kavoshgaran Elm, Iran; Lingualink, Israel.