July 2007 issue

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Tragedy in USA not putting off international students

The recent tragedy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA in the USA, where 32 people were shot dead by a lone gunman, has not deterred international students from studying in the USA, according to sources.

In April this year, student Cho Seung-hui, a Korean-born US national, killed fellow students and professors in a campus shooting spree lasting several hours before turning the gun on himself. Among the victims were several overseas students, including two undergraduate students from India and Peru.

However, Amaresh Shanker from Target Counselling Services in India said that the incident would not put off Indian students from pursuing their studies in the USA. “Over 80,000 Indian students go to the USA every year to study, more than any other nationality,” he said. “The shootings may make some students rethink their plans but it’ll take a lot more than this for most to let go of their American dream. I am yet to see any of my students changing his/her plans and most of my students and their parents still believe that US campuses are a safe study destination.”

Umesh Pandey from Nobel Institute in Nepal said, “The USA is the first choice for serious students from Nepal as it offers quality education, scholarships and much more. Even after the Virginia Tech shootings, we have been receiving numerous applications from Nepalese students who are willing to study in the USA. I don’t think that the USA is a less safe study destination even after the Virginia Tech shootings.”

Gordon Clark, President of the Association of American Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) in the USA, told Language Travel Magazine that school directors had not seen a decline in international enrolments since the shootings. “[Members] reported that applications continue without a hitch,” said Clark. “I think that most of the world saw this as a random act committed by a very disturbed individual.”

Meeting in Spain calls for unified industry

The future of Spain's language teaching industry was debated at a recent meeting of industry professionals, organised by Fundacion Campus Comillas, in Comillas, Spain earlier this year.

The event, which received support from Eduespaña, was held over two days and was attended by 35 interested parties, including language schools, and four international guest speakers. One of its main aims was to promote Spain as a destination for language travellers and develop a promotional plan that would benefit the industry as a whole.

Francisco Moreno, Academic Director of Fundación Campus Comillas, said, “The event gathered a group of professionals who want to get ready for the future.” He added, “Spain wants to continue to be the leader in teaching Spanish as a foreign language. An important part of it has been moving out to Latin America and Spain wants to remain innovative too in this sector.”

A number of issues that were identified as being likely to hold back industry growth in the future were raised at the four round-table discussions held over the two days. These included the lack of Spanish language teachers currently being trained in Spain, visa problems faced by students of some nationalities when trying to get a visa to study in Spain as well as how low quality standards in a few Spanish schools were tarnishing the reputation of the industry as a whole. It was also stressed that existing education providers should develop a joint strategy to promote quality Spanish language teaching within Spain.

Hipólita Arjona, from Spanish language school ELE Cordoba, who attended the event, said that it was very worthwhile. ”I believe that this type of event is very interesting and necessary as we are facing a current difficulty in attracting students wanting to learn Spanish as a foreign language and we need to find new solutions to promote the quality of teaching in Spain,” she said.

New language school for Belfast

Belfast's English language teaching industry got a boost this year when International House Belfast opened its doors to students in April.

The city, based in Northern Ireland, currently has very few language schools operating within its boundaries and Paul McMullan, Director of the school, said that IH Belfast would offer a whole range of year-round language

courses. “Cities similar in size to Belfast – Liverpool, Edinburgh, etc – have upwards of 40-to-50 language academies,” he said.“Dublin has upwards of 60, many of which have been running for 20 years or more.”

Despite the popularity of the Republic of Ireland as a destination for language students, neighbouring Northern Ireland has yet to place itself on the language travel map, although McMullan hopes this will change in the future. “Over the past few years, Northern Ireland has found its way on to the map of attractive, affordable and safe destinations for both investors and foreign visitors,” he said. “Industries of all kinds are now investing in the region and Belfast has become one of the most dynamic European cities.”

Kaplan partnerships with universities

Kaplan, the educational and career services provider, has announced a number of new joint ventures that will see the company providing academic preparation programmes to potential university students in the UK and China.

In the UK, an agreement has been reached between Kaplan and the University of Liverpool to establish an international college on the university campus. Liverpool International College will be run by Kaplan International Colleges and will offer courses that prepare international students for entry on to university undergraduate and post graduate degree programmes. The first students are due to arrive at the college in September 2007.

Professor Drummond Bone, University of Liverpool Vice Chancellor, said, “Our affiliation with Kaplan will enable us to widen our opportunities for overseas students and take our teaching further into the international arena.”

Kaplan already runs international colleges with Nottingham Trent University, the University of Sheffield and the University of Glasgow and is currently in talks with the University of Southampton to provide a similar service. The collaboration highlights a recent trend among UK universities to outsource their academic preparation courses to private providers and follows on from the launch of Into University Partnerships, which offers courses to international students in partnership with a number of UK universities (see Education Travel Magazine, July 2006, page 50).

Kaplan also plans to offer university preparation courses to students in their own countries after pairing up with ACE Education, an education provider in China. The new venture, called Kaplan ACE, will provide preparation courses for entry into 11 UK universities. Elizabeth Hess, Director of Communications at Kaplan International, said that the preparation courses would be targeted towards a variety of subjects and, in the future, they hoped to provide business and finance qualification training. “Kaplan will add capital, their state-of-the-art technological expertise, and global expertise to the ACE offering,” she said.

Yong Zhou, President of ACE Education in China, said, “Kaplan’s global expertise and resources, and ACE’s experience in China will enable Kaplan ACE to provide a wide variety of education and training services that meet international standards, helping Chinese students build a bridge to international success.”

Immigration changes in Australia

Students from certain countries applying for a visa to study English in Australia now face easier requirements after changes to risk assessment levels were introduced in May.

Under the new rules, students from Vietnam applying to study on an Elicos programme in Australia no longer have to submit an Ielts score when applying for their visa, while Indonesian students can study on an English language programme for more than the previous limit of 50 weeks and students from Hong Kong, Macau, Mauritius and Mexico can apply for their visa to study English in Australia online.

Sue Blundell, Executive Director of English Australia said that the changes were “really positive for some of the Elicos sector’s key markets”. She added, “English Australia has devoted a large proportion of its lobbying efforts in the last 18 months to ensuring that the methodology used to determine the risk assessment levels is appropriate and in a way that fairly assesses risk.”

In another change to immigration regulations, students wanting to work part-time while studying in Australia will no longer have to apply for a work permit once in the country, from the second quarter of 2008. Instead, students will have the right to work on the basis of their primary visa application, thereby saving themselves AUS$40 (US$33) in application charges.

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.





English Australia

Malta Tourism

Alphe Conferences

English Australia
Milner International
       College of English
       Independent and
       Catholic School

Ackworth School
Aspect (Australia,
       Canada, Ireland,
       Malta, New Zealand,
       UK, USA)
Bell International
Islington Centre for
LAL Language and
       Leisure (England,
       Malta, South Africa,
London Metropolitan
Malvern House
       College London
Queen Ethelburga's
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
SUL Language
Tellus Group
Twin Group
West London
       Business College

IH Nice

Prolog - International
       House Berlin


English Language
IH- Malta-Gozo
inlingua Malta
Malta Tourism

EF Language
       Colleges Ltd
       (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, Malta,
       New Zealand,
       Russia, Scotland,
       South Africa, Spain,

       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Italy,
       Japan, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Spain, Switzerland,

ALCC - American
California State
       University Long
ELS Language
      (Canada, USA)
Kaplan Educational
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Seattle Language
University of
       California Riverside
University of
       California San Diego
University of
       California Santa
University of
       California Santa
University of
Zoni Language
       (Canada, USA)


Bell International
St Bedes School

University of Stirling

Monterey Institute of
       Studies (MIIS)
Seattle Language