July 2003 issue

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Agency Survey
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South Africa feedback

South Africa continues to attract an older, professional student who nevertheless may be a first-time language traveller. It also continues to score highly on its teaching quality.

South Africa feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 65 (35 female, 30 male)

Average age in years: 29

Average length of programme in weeks: 9.3

Average number of students per class: 5

Average number of hours of language tuition p/w: 22.7

Average spend per week on tuition and accomm: US$289

% of students who found their course via an agent: 37%

% of students who booked through an agent: 55%

% of students who had been on another language programme: 31%

% of students who would recommend their school: 94%

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (26%)
Western Europe (57%)
Latin America (3%)
C & E Europe (6%)
Africa (6%)
Unknown (2%)
1.German (26%)
2.Swiss (23%)
3.Korean (11%)
4.Chinese (8%)
5.Japanese (5%)
6.Russian (3%)
7.Angolan (3%)
8.Italian (3%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
Too many students (0%)
Too many students who speak my language (18%)
Too many students from one other country (18%)
None of these (62%)
Unknown (2%)
For college study in South Africa (9%)
For college study in another English-speaking country (5%)
For college study in my home country (12%)
For current or future work (48%)
For pleasure only (24%)
Unknown (2%)

How did you find your programme? How easy was it to practise English with native speakers?
I saw it advertised (14%)
I found it on the Internet (28%)
It was recommended by an agent (37%)
It was recommended by a friend/relative (20%)
Unknown (1%)
Very easy (9%)
Quite easy (68%)
Quite hard (15%)
Very hard (3%)
Unknown (5%)

Standard of the teaching Standard of your academic programme
Excellent (54%)
Good (40%)
Satisfactory (5%)
Unknown (1%)
Excellent (18%)
Good (49%)
Satisfactory (23%)
Poor (2%)
Unknown (8%)

Standard of your accommodation Standard of your social programme?
Excellent (31%)
Good (37%)
Satisfactory (20%)
Unknown (12%)
Excellent (14%)
Good (58%)
Satisfactory (17%)
Poor (3%)
Unknown (8%)

How did you travel to South Africa? Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser?
Low-cost air carrier (5%)
Ordinary air carrier (94%)
Unknown (1%)
Yes (55%)
No (40%)
Unknown (5%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study? What do you like most about South Africa?
Yes (75%)
No (23%)
Unknown (2%)

Yes (70%)
No (29%)
Unknown (1%)

Yes (23%)
No (75%)
Unknown (2%)

1.The countryside
2.The language
3.The people
4.The culture
6.The food

Student nationality
Western Europe continued to represent the bulk of South African language travel students, accounting for 57 per cent of respondents in our survey this year. However, compared with the 81 per cent that Western Europe accounted for in last year's survey (see Language Travel Magazine, April 2002, pages 16-17), its share has clearly slipped. In second position was Asia, with its share increasing from only seven per cent last year to 26 per cent this year. Korean, Chinese and Japanese students all made it into the top-five nationalities, after German and Swiss.

Student age and motivation
South Africa continues to be a popular destination with the older language traveller. The average age of students this year was 29, a slight decrease on the 31.2 average of last year. The motivation of taking a language course for many students, therefore, was professional. Forty-eight per cent of those surveyed said they would use English for work purposes, and 28 per cent were already in employment. The older average age, compared with other student markets, also explains the 24 per cent of students who said they were learning English in South Africa for pleasure only. Surprisingly perhaps, given the high average age, 66 per cent of students had not been on a language travel trip before.

Student enrolment
Fifty-one per cent of students were enrolled on a course of six weeks and under, and the majority of these students were studying for four weeks, so the South African market is a short-term language travel destination. Western Europeans tended to study for up to 16 weeks, while the longer-term language learners, enrolled on courses of up to 44 weeks, were all Asian. Agent usage remained similar to last year: a majority of 55 per cent of students booked through an agency, while 37 per cent initially found their course via an agency. Most schools were located in Cape Town, and 70 per cent of students said they had a clear idea about which city they wanted to study in, although only 23 per cent knew which school prior to booking their course.

Standard of the schools
Class sizes were small among those schools surveyed, with the average number of students in a class standing at just over five. It follows that most students - 62 per cent - were happy with their class size. Eighteen per cent, most of whom were German, Swiss or Chinese, felt there were too many students who spoke their language in their class, while a further 18 per cent said there were too many students of another nationality. The teaching quality was rated highly, with 54 per cent saying it was excellent and a further 40 per cent saying it was good.

Living in South Africa
South Africa continues to be a cheap destination for most language travellers. The average spend on tuition and accommodation was US$289 per week, and 72 per cent of students said that they found the cost of living in South Africa to be cheaper than in their home country.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey:
Boston Language College, Cape Town; Cape Studies, Cape Town; Interlink School of Languages, Cape Town; International House Durban, Durban; Good Hope Studies, Cape Town; One World Language School, Cape Town; Shane Global Village, Cape Town.
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