June 2013 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Agency Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Special Report
Course Guide
Regional Focus
Market Analysis

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Spain’s resilience

Increased competition between agencies and diversification of study abroad products are trends noted in this year’s survey of Spanish agencies.

Key points
The total number of students placed by the 34 agencies in our survey was 11,362

Individual agencies placed between 10 and 2,200 students on courses per year

Average business growth was 16.2 per cent in the last 12 months

The average length of stay for Spanish students was 3.9 weeks

Overall, 48 per cent of Spanish students preferred residential accommodation when studying overseas

The largest percentage of Spanish students (40 per cent) were studying for the purpose of future work opportunities

Language study is the largest sector of the study abroad market for Spanish agencies (72 per cent)

Most popular course requests Average percentage of agency business by sector
1. General 32%
2. Junior 21%
3. Intensive 13%
4. Summer vacation 12%
5. Language plus work 10%
6. Academic/exam prep. 4.5%
7. Business 3%
8. International Baccalaureate/A level 2%
9. University foundation 0.5%
Other 2%
1. Language programmes 72%
2. Work & Travel 11%
3. Higher education 5%
4. Secondary education abroad 4.5%
5. Internships 4%
6. Volunteering 0.5%
Other 3%

Reasons for studying overseas Top destinations

1. Future work 40%
2. Current work 17%
3. Studies overseas 15%
4. Studies at home 13%
5. Pleasure 11%
Other 4%

1. UK 45.6%
2. Ireland 12.7%
3. USA 7.5%
4. Australia 7.7%
5. Germany 6.3%
6. Malta 4.2%
7. Italy 3.8%
8. China 3.7%
9. Canada 3.6%
10. France 2.9%

How do agents recruit students?
How do agencies find new schools to represent?
1. Word-of-mouth 39%
Website 27%
2. E/online marketing 15%
3. Mail shots 3%
4. Seminars to students 2%
5. Advertising in press/TV/radio 1%
Other 13%
1. b2b conferences 42%
2. Internet 25%
3. Language fairs and student expos 15%
3.STM 4%
5. Other press 0.5%
Other 13.5%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 10%
English Australia 50%
NEAS 10%

Languages Canada 90%

Groupement FLE 30%
Souffle 20%
L’Office 0%
Unosel 0%

MEI 30%

Asils 0%
Italian in Italy 60%

Feltom 20%

New Zealand
English NZ 30%

Aeple 0%

South Africa
EduSA 10%

Fedele 20%

ABLS Accreditation 10%
English UK 60%
Accreditation UK (British
Council) 80%

AAIEP/English USA 20%
Accet 30%
CEA 40%

Eaquals 20%
Ialc 40%
Quality English 60%
Tandem 40%
IHWO 60%

Market growth

Spain, along with several other countries in the eurozone, has been experiencing challenging economic conditions in the last few years which has affected all sectors of the country’s business output. The country officially entered another recession at the beginning of 2012 following two years of recession in 2009 and 2010. The Bank of Spain has recently announced that the economy is unlikely to begin to recover until 2014, following a 1.4 per cent contraction in 2012 and predicted contraction of 1.5 per cent in 2013. These conditions are unlikely to stimulate business growth in the study abroad sector, yet our Agency Survey of 34 Spanish agents reveals that overall business growth was an impressive 16.2 per cent for the sector.

This figure is an average of all agencies’ business and therefore hides the true story of agencies’ mixed fortunes. Some agencies reported negative growth of up to 90 per cent and others reported growth of up to 210 per cent. Such a varied swing between negative and positive growth reveals an industry which is in transition with some agencies working hard to diversify their product range to capture the significant study abroad market that is still present in Spain.

Language and destination trends

English was by far the most requested language for learning overseas with 83 per cent choosing to study overseas in English. This is a similar figure to our previous Agency Survey on Spain (see STM, June 2012, pages 20-21) when 82 per cent of Spanish students requested an English language programme. However, when it comes to destination choice for Spanish students, some trends can be clearly seen. The UK’s popularity decreased in 2012 from the previous year with just over 45 per cent of students requesting this destination compared to 56 per cent previously. This perhaps reflects the increasing price conscious nature of Spanish students as the cost of courses and living expenses play a higher role in the decision making process than previously.

Ireland, a fellow eurozone member that has also experienced its own economic woes in recent years, remains a popular destination for Spanish students, perhaps as competitive language schools in Ireland compete for market share with lower course prices. Maggie Ford from Lingua Select says, “Ireland in particular seems to be developing some innovative programmes, which are attracting interest.”

Another destination that is becoming more popular with Spanish students is Canada. Juan Garoz at Eurolingua Study says, “We feel the increase of the work and study programmes in Canada, for the accessibility of a visa that allows you to work and study has led to increased requests for information. We have increased in 2013 by 30 per cent our courses to study and work in Canada.”

Student and course trends

As Spanish students seek to maximise their return on investing in studies overseas, so the trend for general language courses has shown a very noticeable decline. In our previous survey, this sector made up 71 per cent of the language courses chosen by students but this survey reveals a drop to 32 per cent. Instead language plus work and intensive language programmes have both gained in popularity (from six per cent to 10 per cent and two per cent to 13 per cent respectively).

Garoz points out that students are increasingly choosing courses that allow them to earn money while they study or maximise their investment in learning the language. “We’ve found an increase of au-pair programmes,” he says, “where students are choosing this language immersion for the low costs. Also we’ve seen increased long-stay programmes mainly in the UK and Malta – this last destination for low cost living, economic prices and affordable housing.”

Agency business

With economic problems being so widespread across Europe – the largest destination region for Spanish students – agencies report that competition between agencies and also schools is rife. Ford says, “Many schools try to woo agents by offering quite staggering commission rates. I have been offered as much as 40 per cent. Of course that means that I can lower the price if I want to and work for less commission. I have been offering some courses at a five per cent discount, sometimes more, but there are schools who will not allow me to advertise a discount, even though the cost of it is going to be borne by me.”

With the demise of the BECAS scholarships offered by the Spanish government, both agents and schools have been keen to make up the shortfall to their business that this has created. Christina Hurtado from Always School says, “Forty per cent of the courses that we were selling were scholarships. Without scholarships, not to lower our sales by 40 per cent, what we are doing is making low cost products in our main destinations. We contract with the suppliers of each item directly without any intermediary: classes at school, accommodation at halls, meals at restaurants.”

Some of the larger language school chains that can afford to swallow the shortfall in fees have also been developing products specifically for the Spanish market, says Garoz. “Schools such as EC, LSI, St Giles and Kaplan are offering discounts in order to not be affected by the cancellation of the scholarship. [These are] creative ways to not drop the sales in the Spanish market.”

Looking ahead

Predictions for the future remain very uncertain among Spanish agencies, mirroring the uncertainty in the country’s economy. However, diversification seems to be key among agents determined to make the best of their situation. One agency reports that they will open offices in Latin America and the Middle East in 2013 as further investment in Spain in current market conditions would be fruitless. Others point to new avenues such as developing more low cost or specialist programmes. Many agents are united however in the belief that, in spite of or because of the economy in Spain, parents were particularly keen to invest in their children’s education overseas.

Economic overview

Population: 47,370,542

Unemployment: 24.9 per cent

GDP per capita: US$30,400

GDP growth rate in 2012: -1.5 per cent

Inflation rate in 2012: 2.5 per cent

Exports in 2012: US$303.8 billion

Export commodities:
machinery, motor vehicles, food, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods

Imports in 2012: US$322.7 billion

Import commodities: Machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, food, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey:

Alos Centro Europea de Idiomas, Always Cursos en el Extranjero, Babylon Idiomas, BEST Spain, Cevex, Cursosypostgrados.com, Daniels Centre, DasAccent, Esade – Executive Language Center, ESL idiomas en el extranjero, Eurolingua Study, Global Link Idiomas, GSC Study Abroad, Go Languages, Go Study Australia, IDEX One, Inex Cursos, Institut Valencia de la Joventut, Lacunza – International House, Language-in Study and Go, LanguagesGo!, Learning Out, LinguaSelect, Lubidiomas, MCM Educational Consultant, Mundoidiomas, Over the Rainbow Language Centre, Speak and Fun España, Studiainitalia, Timpany Languages, TLB Idiomas, Trekyourway.com, TWIST Gestión de ocio educativo, Yorktour.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.






Sakura House  

English UK  
English Australia  
English UK North  
Fedele Spain  
Groupement FLE  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Quality English  

Ability English  
Academia International Collegs  
Access Macquarie Limited  
Australian Institute of Professional Education  
Cairns Language Centre / Eurocentres Cairns  
English Language & Foundation Studies Centre  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
UNSW Global Pay Limited (University of New South Wales)  

CERAN Lingua International  

College of New Caledonia  
Geos Language Academy  
Global Village  
Inlingua Vancouver School of Languages  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
North Island College  
Okanagan University College  
Upper Madison College  
Vancouver English Centre  

English UK  
City School of Languages  
English 100  
English UK North  
Frances King School of English  
GSM (Greenwich School of Management)  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Lexis London LTD  
London School of Business & Finance  
TUS Advertising  
St Giles International  

Alphe Conferences  
Cambridge Esol  

Accent Francais  
Groupement FLE  
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris  
Institut de Touraine  
Institut Linguistique Adenet  
IS Aix-en-Provence  
ISEFE - Université de Savoie  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

English For Asia  

Guard. Me  

Centre of English Studies  

Sakura House  

Fedele Spain  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  

EF International Language Centers  

Taiwan Mandarin Institute  

Malta Tourism Authority  

California State University San Marcos  
ELS Language Centers  
English Language Center  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Glenholme School  
Global Language Institute  
University of Arizona  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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