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Contents - July 2008


Special report
The mordern client
The way clients use agencies has changed over time. Nowadays, online processing and detailed information on the web is paramount in order to attract the modern client, although speed of processing is not always an associated requirement. Amy Baker surveys a sample of agency clients and unravels modern business standards.


Direction
Foundations for onward study
Academic preparation and university foundation programmes are invaluable in helping students to adapt to studies in another country, but costs and visa problems are getting in the way of growth in this sector. Gillian Evans reports.




Destination
US West Coast
Comprising the states of California, Oregon and Washington, the west coast of the USA borders the Pacific Ocean and is flanked by a rugged coastal range that makes this a truly awe-inspiring destination. Nicola Hancox takes a tour.


Opinion

Economic influence

Working in a global industry means that all agencies witness currency exchange rates rising and dipping in various countries with which they work. This may or may not change their clients’ decision about where to study but it is surely a consideration. (One New Zealand language school points to the high NZ dollar as discouraging students from long-term study in the country, page 35).

Now, with a global economic slowdown being touted and increased price sensitivity, it is interesting that this current climate seems to have its roots in the emergence of China as an economic powerhouse, which in turn has buoyed the education export market in so many countries (and helped bolster New Zealand’s industry a few years ago, page 19).

The growing economy of China has meant greater demand for oil, which is one reason behind high oil prices, which is having a knock-on effect on airlines and the farming industry. Rising consumption of meat in China is also credited with pushing food prices upwards as grain used to feed livestock is in high demand. And as certain countries try and move away from a reliance on oil to biofuels, land that was used for food crops is now being used for crops for fuel, exerting more pressure on food production and prices.

The big question is, will inflation and the rising cost of travel make an impact on the study abroad market? For students studying for pleasure only, their plans will undoubtedly be hindered by having less disposable income. However, over the years, I have heard many reports that study abroad is a resilient sector; that in times of recession, students become more convinced of their need to improve their qualifications and skills.

Agents around the world told us of changing client trends in this issue, with online booking becoming common and an agency’s website imperative in attracting business (pages 24-28). One Swiss agent said that because his fees were “reasonable”, “In times of recession, I have more requests and more bookings. [Clients] do not take so many risks and choose big international school organisations to book with.”

Interesting that school chains might be considered a safer venture (EF has just opened two more schools, page 6). This suggests that economic considerations might influence enrolment patterns but not numbers. Right now, there are certainly upbeat reports, with outbound business good in Spain, for example. However, the market is somewhat dependent on the economy, say agents (pages 20-21).


Opinion
Economic influence

News
SEVP fee likely to rise in the USA
South African language school sets up kindergarten
Actilingua offers language teaching podcasts
EF opens new schools in Chicago and Hawaii
Students to work straight away in Australia
Ialc celebrates 25 years
US school owner arrested for visa fraud


Agency News
First Anza Workshop in Australia
MEI-Relsa scores with agent delegates


Agency Survey
Spain sprinting
Business was booming in the outbound Spanish language travel market last year and although some sources predict a slow economy in 2008, help from the Spanish government is rumoured to be just around the corner.

Feedback
South Africa
A low cost of living and high standard of teaching meant that students in South Africa were satisfied with their English language learning experience. Cape Town was the requested destination for many.

Spotlight
English and sports in New Zealand
English and sports courses attract language learners looking for something extra from their programme as well as sports enthusiasts who decide to do something else while practising their chosen sport, such as surfing or skiing. We find out more about such options available in New Zealand.

Course Guide
Latin America
Students can discover Latin America by learning Spanish or Portuguese. We list a selection of schools that offer language immersion courses in the region.

Status
Australia 2007
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.