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Contents - June 2009

Special report
Warming up for success
Academic preparation and foundation programmes are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with many now including some modules of the student’s future area of study. At the same time, in some cases, course length is shrinking. Gillian Evans takes a look at some of the products available.

Market Report
NZ turbo power
ELT providers in New Zealand are still gunning for immigration reform but despite restricted access to work rights, student numbers performed well in 2008. And with a new government in power, a reassessment of visa policy could be on the cards. Nicola Hancox reports.

City Focus
Total Tokyo
Visiting Tokyo is a total sensory experience, promising the cutting edge of high-tech, a vibrant neon party scene, a trendy manga art community, gentle tea ceremonies and old world customs alongside the peace of cherry trees. Matthew Knott reports.


Real-time lessons

I’m not the first person to observe that despite the plethora of time-saving devices in our lives, we seem to be busier than ever. As I was loading the dishwasher last night, I was musing on this point. And I think the reason is that there is always so much choice about what to do with our spare time: do I go online and chat to my friends, do I do some housework (unlikely), do I challenge my partner to a game of scrabble?

Reading about the University of Essex International Academy in the UK setting up a virtual campus in Second Life, an online world where you can assume a new persona and identity, is one more example of a choice that didn’t exist in years gone by: sitting alone at a computer interacting internationally with other people was simply unimaginable – the technology didn’t exist and besides, who had the time? There was the washing up to do.

Twitter is a new phenomenon in the UK – which I haven’t succumbed to yet because I am convinced that I don’t want to waste my time reading musings and minutiae of other people’s lives... but it is another nod to the lure of the online world in everyday life. I was unaware that there are language learning communities online, but there are more than one; these sites offer the chance to connect with speakers of your target language. Industry publisher, Pearson, has seen the business potential of tapping into such a community by teaming up to offer bespoke online learning products.

While the Internet’s relevance in our lives is unavoidable, it is nevertheless great to get away from it all and relax in an environment that is media-free, in my opinion. One of the appeals of a beach holiday is the lack of distractions: no TV, computer, phone switched off. This is a fact that clearly resonates with parents who want a relaxing yet enriching holiday – as we discover in this issue, tailored parent-and-child programming is particularly popular in holiday destinations such as Malta, Ireland, Jersey or in exciting cities such as London .

A city break or active holiday may not be relaxing, but it is invigorating, because interaction with people is stimulating. That is why online language learning is interesting, but it will never replace the excitement and achievement of real-life learning abroad.

Studying abroad can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and of course this is what agents want to achieve, but how would they cope if a language school failed suddenly? We report on tuition assurance schemes, which offer an insurance policy for students’ dreams. Businesses can collapse, but no one wants to learn that the hard way.

Real-time lessons

Accreditation impact in UK
ELS boasts new centres overseas
Mike Francis, MBE, honoured for work in UK
UK university language centre opens branch in Second Life
Study Group opens university study centre in UK Midlands

Agency News
New agency association in Switzerland
Two new agencies on the block

Agency Survey
France loses pace
Despite the global economic crisis, a majority of French language travel agents recorded growth in 2008, but are cautious of their business performance for 2009.

Asia lost a chunk of its market share in this year’s Feedback survey on the UK. Meanwhile, Middle Eastern students proved to be an increasingly important source market for UK education providers.

Parent & child courses in Europe
Families looking to utilise their vacation time in a relaxing and enriching way could well find what they’re looking for on a Parent & Child language programme. Schools all over Europe specifically cater for adults who wish to study alongside their child or children.

Course Guide
High school prep in Canada
High school preparation courses aim to prepare international students for entry into secondary school education. Catering for students who wish to bolster their language skills prior to high school enrolment, they also help participants unravel a foreign curriculum and adapt to a new academic culture.

France 2008
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.