|The total number of students placed by the 12 advisories in our survey was 8,756
Individual advisories placed between 60 and 3,981 students on courses per year
The average length of stay for Spanish students was five weeks
Overall, 77 per cent of Spanish students preferred residential accommodation when studying overseas
A higher percentage of advisory clients were studying abroad for current work, namely 67 per cent
Language learning is the most lucrative sector of the study abroad market for Spanish advisors
||Most popular courses
|1. UK 56%
2. Ireland 13%
3. USA 12%
4. Malta 7%
5. France 4%
6. Germany 4%
7. Canada 2%
8. Italy 1%
||1. General 71%
2. Junior 14%
3. Summer Vacation 7%
4. Language plus work Experience 6%
4. Language plus work experience 6%
6. Intensive 2%
|Reasons for studying overseas
||Average percentage advisor business
|1. Current work 67%
2. Future work 23%
3. Pleasure 5%
4. Further studies overseas 4%
5. Further studies at home 1%
||1. Language programmes 86%
2. Internships 6%
3. Work & travel 5%
4. Higher education 2%
|How do advisors recruit students?
||How do advisors find new schools to represent?
|1. Word-of-mouth 39%
2. Website 25%
3. E/online marketing 19%
4. Mail shots 9%
5. Advertising in press 4%
6. Seminars to students 1%
||1. B2B conferences
2. Internet 32%
3. Language fairs and student expos 26%
4. STM 7%
5. Other press 2%
|Percentage of advisors who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 67%
Languages Canada 75%
Groupement FLE 33%
Italian in Italy 17%
Eng NZ 67%
British Council 92%
English UK 92%
World Organisation 67%
Quality English 83%
Spanish student advisory centres are currently riding the crest of a wave in terms of agency business, with all but two of those surveyed recording increased or stable bookings. In keeping with last year’s survey, which saw business peak at 24.8 per cent (see STM August 2011, pages 26-27), operating conditions in the ensuing 12 months saw the Spanish study abroad market experience double digit growth again (10.3 per cent). Agencies posted individual growth rates of between five and 80 per cent.
Language and destination trends
There was more variation in terms of language of instruction over the last 12 months. While 82 per cent of student clients were keenly interested in an English taught academic programme, seven per cent requested a French study abroad programme, five per cent German, one per cent Italian and 0.5 per cent Portuguese. The UK remains the preferred study destination for Spanish students with, on average, 56 per cent of agency clientele travelling to this country for study purposes. Non-English speaking destinations, including France (four per cent), Germany (four per cent) and Italy (one per cent), each doubled their marketshare compared with last year.
Student and course trends
Junior programmes were the most popular course choice among Spanish students in 2011 (39 per cent), however according to this year’s survey only 14 per cent of agency clientele requested this type of provision in recent months. While this change in trend could be attributed to the fact that a different selection of agencies took part in our survey, it is worth noting that junior programmes accounted for two thirds of all bookings at three separate agencies suggesting that this is a still a significant, marketable programme for many. One agency forecast that there would be a noticeable decrease in summer vacation programmes, which generally comprise junior students on young learner programmes, however. General language courses grew by 35 percentage points to 71 per cent. This was the mainstay course choice for clients at two large participating agencies. Reasons for study travel reflected an older demographic of student (i.e non-junior) with a combined 90 per cent motivated by current or future work purposes, compared with 41 per cent previously.
As a percentage of advisor business, the language learning sector accounted for 86 per cent of all bookings, compared with 82 per cent previously. Two agencies reported that this sector accounted for 100 per cent of all business booked. A third of all new business partners found were a direct result of agencies meeting educators face-to-face at b2b workshops, down 13 percentage points on previous results. When targeting annual student clients, Spanish advisors relied heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations, down 11 percentage points to 39 per cent.
Changes to the Becas MEC scholarship scheme (what these were exactly was still unclear at the time of writing) could throw up some potential challenges for Spanish study abroad advisors over the next operational year, as could Spain’s faltering economy (see economic overview). But several advisors report that they are looking to target the junior market and secondary or boarding school placements to counter any downturn. Another noted that social networking could prove instrumental in attracting new student business.
• Spain’s GDP contracted in the fourth quarter of 2011, pushing the economy toward its second recession since 2009 and undermining the government’s efforts to reorder public finances.
• The People’s Party government, in power since December 2011, is trying to convince investors it can reduce the budget deficit by almost half this year even as the recession weighs on revenue and employment. The economy may shrink 1.5 per cent, pushing the jobless rate to 23.4 per cent if the government meets its austerity goals “strictly,” said the Bank of Spain.
• With the highest jobless rate in the European Union and credit shrinking by the most on record, Spain’s economy will probably slump for the next two years, contracting 1.7 per cent this year and another 0.3 per cent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund.
• Concerns Spain will struggle to meet tough deficit targets and repair its ailing banks as the economy shrinks have hampered its debt issuance plans and fuelled concern it might be forced to follow Greece, Ireland and Portugal in seeking a bailout.
Source: Reuters; Bloomberg
Spanish advisors named a range of programmes they work with, including, in Ireland: Cork English College, Cork; Cork English World, Cork; Delfin English School, Dublin; Emerald Cultural Institute, Dublin; Galway Cultural Institute, Galway; Horner School of English, Dublin; ISI, Dublin. In Malta: English Language Academy, Sliema. In the UK: Beet Language Centre, Bournemouth; Bell, various; Cambridge Education Group, various; Celtic School of English, Cardiff; English Studio, London; International Summer School, Eastbourne; Lila*, Liverpool; Liverpool School of English, Liverpool; Malvern House, London; OISE, various; Plus, London; Regent, various; Skola, various; St Francis’ College, Letchworth; Stafford House School of English, various; Taunton International School, Taunton; Thames Valley Summer Schools, various; Tti School of English, London; United International College, London; In the USA: Converse International School of Languages, San Diego, CA. International: Kaplan International Colleges; Eurocentres; Embassy CES, St Giles, LAL.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: Twist Gestion de Ocio Educativo; CEVEX; Globus Idiomas, Formacion y Ocio; Puromundo; Internacional Au Pair & Language Abroad; Inturjoven; English Summer S.A; Tirant Lo Blanc Cursos de Idiomas; GSC Study Abroad; Eurolang Education; AGNC Academic Global Network Consultancy; Click Idiomas.