July 2010 issue

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Korea growing again

The outgoing student market in Korea has been suffering in recent years, mainly as a result of the economic crisis. Language travel agents reported a difficult year in 2008 and conditions have not much improved in 2009. The outlook for the future, however, is brighter.

Key points
• The total number of students placed by the 10 agencies in our survey was 10,576

• Individual agencies placed between 36 and 8,960 students on language courses each year

• Average business growth was 3.3 per cent

• The average length of stay for Korean students was 21.1 weeks

• Overall, 48 per cent of Korean students stayed with host families when studying overseas

35 per cent of Korean students took a language course for their studies overseas

22 per cent of the agencies in our survey charged a handling fee, the total of which depended on length of stay

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. USA 32%
2. UK 23%
3. Canada 16%
4. Germany 10%
5. Australia 9%
6. New Zealand 6%
7. Switzerland 1%
Other 3%
1. Intensive 34%
2. General 33%
3. Academic/exam prep. 10%
4. University foundation 7%
5. Summer vacation 5%
6. Business 4%
7. Junior 2%
8. Work 2%
Other 3%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Future work 38%
2. Studies overseas 35%
3. Studies at home 17%
4. Current work 8%
5. Pleasure 2%
1. Language progr. 46%
2. Higher education 19%
3. Work & travel 13%
4. Internships 5%
5. Volunteer 1%
Other 17%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Website 37%
2. Word-of-mouth 32%
3. Seminars to students 17%
4. E/online 5%
Other 9%
1. Internet 38%
2. LTM/ETM 33%
3. Workshops 11%
4. Lang. fairs & expos 8%
5. Other press 7%
Other 3%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 11%
English Australia 33%

Languages Canada 67%

Souffle 0%
Groupement FLE 11%
L'Office 0%
Unosel 0%

MEI 44%

Asils 0%
Italian in Italy 0%

Feltom 22%

New Zealand
English NZ 33%
Aeple 0%

South Africa
EduSa 11%

Fedele 11%

ABLS 11%
English UK 67%
British Council 67%

Accet 56%
CEA 44%

Eaquals 11%
Ialc 11%
Quality English 0%
Tandem 0%

Market growth
After a turbulent 2008 – in which 70 per cent of agencies reported a drop in business (see LTM, August 2009, pages 22-23) – the education and language travel industry posted a mixed bag of results in 2009. Among the 10 agencies that took part in this issue’s survey of business trends, there was an equal split among those who said business had declined, grown or stayed the same. Those who had experienced a drop in student enrolments reported that numbers were down by between 40 and 70 per cent, while among those who said numbers had grown, they had experienced growth of between seven and 30 per cent, with another reporting growth of 100 per cent as it was a new agency. Overall, enrolments increased by 3.3 per cent in 2009, compared with a negative growth of 11 per cent in 2008. However, the picture looks somewhat bleaker if the new agency’s 100 per cent growth rate is removed from calculations; then enrolments fell by 20.5 per cent in 2009.

Language and destination trends
English remains the top language choice among Korean students, although its share of the market in this year’s survey was 89 per cent, compared with a more dominant 93 per cent last year. This is owing to the fact that one of our agency-respondents specialised in German language courses for students who wanted to go on to higher education in Germany. The USA remained the number-one destination among Koreans, although its share had slipped from 47 per cent to 32 per cent. The UK’s remained almost the same, while Canada’s share increased by nine percentage points to account for 16 per cent of enrolments.

Student and course trends
Similar to last year, the main motivating factor for students to take a language course overseas was for their future careers, although this year its share was down slightly, accounting for 38 per cent of students’ study reasons. While a similar proportion of students were studying a language for their overseas studies, the proportion taking a language course for their studies at home had risen from 10 per cent in 2008 to 17 per cent in 2009. However, when looking at language course choice, it is interesting to note that academic preparation and foundation courses accounted for 17 per cent of agency bookings compared with only five per cent previously.

Agency business
Notwithstanding the popularity of academic pathway courses, the proportion of students booking a higher education programme through an agency was lower in this year’s survey: 27 per cent in 2008 compared with 19 per cent in 2009. General language course bookings were also down from 55 per cent to 46 per cent this year, while work and travel programmes were up by nine percentage points. Korean agencies sourced most of their new business partners through the Internet (38 per cent), LTM/ETM (33 per cent) and workshops (11 per cent).

Looking ahead
With the economy picking up in the first half of 2010 and forecasts pointing to favourable year-end results, agents in South Korea are quietly confident that business will improve this year. One agent noted that the weakness of the won in recent years has discouraged students from studying abroad, so the strengthening of the currency will be positive for their business.

Economic overview

• South Korea’s economy grew by 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, faster than expected.

• The IMF conservatively forecasts that South Korea’s GDP will grow by 4.5 per cent in 2010. The Bank of Korea is more optimistic with an estimated GDP growth of 5.2 per cent.

• Korea’s finance ministry and Statistics Korea forecast that the employment rate will fall to 58.5 per cent in 2010, an 11-year low.

• The won rose 0.5 per cent to close at 1,103.80 per dollar in April 2010. The currency has appreciated 5.5 per cent this year, and had previously topped 1,102.85, its strongest level since September 2008.

Sources: Xinhuan News; Bloomberg; Korean Times

Korean agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Canada: Global Village, Toronto and Vancouver; ILAC, Toronto and Vancouver. In Germany: CDC, Berlin; Cologne. In Switzerland: CDL (College du Leman); Geneva; Tasis Switzerland, Lugano. In the USA: Converse, San Diego and San Francisco, CA; Fryeburg Academy, Fryeburg, ME; Intrax, San Francisco, CA; North Broward Prep School, Coconut Creek, FL; University of California San Diego Extension, San Diego, CA; Zoni, New York, NY. International: Eurocentres; Kaplan; St Giles; Study Group.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: CCPB Education; CampusOK Global Education Group (Daejeon); Educare; Euro Arts; Ganada Uhak; Hankook Education; To Be Londoner; Uhak Aight; Uhak.com; Uhak House Co.

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.





Britannia Student

English Australia  
MEI Ireland  

Alphe Conferences  

Pearson Education  

Dr. Walter GmbH  

LTM Digital  

Malta Tourism

Bond University  
Carrick Institute
      of Education  
English Australia  
La Trobe University  
Language Studies
Pacific Gateway
      International College  
      College (Shafston
      House College)
Universal English
College (Global
      Village Sydney)  
University of
University of
      Western Australia  
University of
      Western Sydney

Global Village 
      (Australia, Canada,
Saint Mary's

Ordex Cultural
      Exchange/ Quito -
Vida Verde - Green
      Life Spanish Center

Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
      Education Group  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      UK, USA)
LAL Language
      (Australia, Canada,
      Costa Rica, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Malta, Mexico,
      Russia, South Africa,
      Spain, Switzerland,
London Metropolitan
Malvern House
      College London  
Prime Education
      (king's Colleges)  
Spinnaker College  
St Clare's Oxford  
St Giles Colleges 
      (Canada, UK, USA) 
Study Group 
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Queen Ethelburga's
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, UK)
University of Essex-
Wickham Court

Home Language
      (Australia, Brazil,
      Canada, China,
      Czech Republic,
      Denmark, England,
      Egypt, Finland,
      France, Greece,
      Hungary, Ireland,
      Italy, Japan,
      Scotland, South
      Africa, Spain, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Norway, Poland,
      Portugal, Switzerland,
      United Arab Emirates,
      USA, Wales)

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Academia de
      Español PROBIGUA 

Delfin English
Language College
MEI Ireland  

      Language School  

      Residential Language
NSTS English
      Language Institute  

Habla Ya
      Language Center  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Spain, Switzerland,
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)

ELS Language
International House
      San Diego  
University of
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)

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