June 2003 issue

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UK feedback

A growing number of Chinese students are choosing to learn English in the UK before continuing on to university or college there, despite the fact that the strength of the pound makes the UK one of the more expensive English-speaking destinations.

UK feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 330 (female 195, male 128, unknown 7)

Average age in years: 24

Average length of programme in weeks: 19.2

Average number of students per class: 9

Average no. of hours of language tuition per week: 20

% of students who found their course through an agent : 42%

% of students who had been on another language programme: 22%

% of students who booked through an agent: 47%

% of students who would recommend their school: 82%

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (53%)
W Europe (24%)
Latin America (8%)
C & E Europe (7%)
Middle East (5%)
Others/unknown (3%)
1.Chinese (28%)
2.Japanese (13%)
3.Korean (8%)
4.Spanish (7%)
5.Swiss (4%)
6.French (3%)
6.Polish (3%)
7.Chile (2%)
7.German (2%)
7.Italian (2%)
7.Taiwanese (2%)
7.Thai (2%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
Too many students (17%)
Too many students who speak my language (25%)
Too many students from one other country (15%)
None of these (39%)
Unknown (4%)
For college study in the UK (36%)
For college study in another English-speaking country (3%)
For college study in my home country (14%)
For current or future work (41%)
For pleasure only (6%)

How did you find your programme? How easy was it to practise English with native speakers?
I saw it advertised (7%)
I found it on the Internet (13%)
Recommended by an agent (42%)
Recommended by a friend/relative (33%)
Unknown (5%)
Very easy (10%)
Quite easy (34%)
Quite hard (44%)
Very hard (10%)
Unknown (2%)

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser? Standard of your social programme?
Yes (47%)
No (46%)
Unknown (7%)
Excellent (11%)
Good (30%)
Satisfactory (30%)
Poor (13%)
Unsatisfactory (3%)
Unknown (13%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (14%)
Good (45%)
Satisfactory (29%)
Poor (5%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (6%)
Excellent (18%)
Good (31%)
Satisfactory (30%)
Poor (6%)
Unsatisfactory (5%)
Unknown (10%)

Standard of the teaching What do you like most about the UK?
Excellent (46%)
Good (35%)
Satisfactory (6%)
Unsatisfactory/poor (2%)
Unknown (11%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (81%)
No (12%)
Unknown (7%)

Yes (45%)
No (48%)
Unknown (7%)

Yes (29%)
No (63%)
Unknown (8%)

Student nationality
In just two years, Chinese student numbers have skyrocketed into number-one position from a negligible place outside the top five nationalities taking part in our UK Student Feedback surveys. This has also boosted the overall share of Asian students from 40 per cent last year (see Language Travel Magazine, June 2002) to 53 per cent this year. Japanese and Koreans took the second and third places respectively. The proportion of French students was down by three points, while students from Poland, Chile, Taiwan and Thailand were present in the table of top nationalities this year.

Student age and motivation
The ages of students ranged from 13 to 53 years old, with the average, at 24, similar to last year's average. Over half of our respondents were learning English for their studies either at home, in the UK or in another English-speaking country. Owing to the fact that over a quarter of our respondents were from China, and over 70 per cent of these students were learning English for university study in the UK, the proportion of students overall who gave this as their reason for taking an English course in the UK was up from 22 per cent last year to 36 per cent this year. Forty-one per cent of students were learning English for their current or future work.

Student enrolment
Overall, 75 per cent of students found out about their school either from an agent or from a friend or relative. Forty-two per cent of students had consulted an agency and 47 per cent said they had booked through an agency. Only seven per cent had seen the school in an advertisement this year, compared with 16 per cent last year, indicating a slight decline in the importance of direct advertising to students.

Standard of the schools
Well over 80 per cent of students said that the standard of the teaching and academic programme was excellent, good or satisfactory, while 79 per cent said the same of the accommodation and 71 per cent of the social programme. When asked about the size and nationality mix of the class, 17 per cent of students - whose class sizes ranged from eight to 16 - indicated that there were too many students in their class. In terms of nationality mix, 25 per cent said there were too many students who spoke their language. This included 50 per cent of Chileans, 46 per cent of Chinese and 35 per cent of Koreans.

Living in the UK
Because of the continued strength of the pound sterling, the UK remains a premium priced destination for many language travellers. This is evidenced by the fact that 83 per cent of students said they found the cost of living to be higher than in their home countries. Those who found the UK to be more expensive than their countries of origin included all our Brazilian, Chilean, Colombian, Polish, French, Spanish and Taiwanese students, as well as 92 per cent of Chinese and Korean student respondents.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Anglo Continental School of English, Bournemouth; Basil Paterson College, Edinburgh; Bath Spa University College, Bath; Central School of English, London; Chichester College, Chichester; EF International Language Schools, Cambridge; ELC, Reading; Evendine College, London; Gateshead College, Gateshead; Gordonstoun South International College, Basingstoke; Harrow House International College, Swanage; Hawthorn, Edinburgh; Interlink School of English, Bournemouth; Internexus, London; ITS English School, Hastings; University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Language Centre, Newcastle; Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds; Lewis School of English, Southampton: Loughborough College, Loughborough; Lydbury English Centre, Lydbury; Manchester Academy of English, Manchester; Manchester Language School, Manchester; New College Nottingham, Nottingham: Regent Language Training, Brighton; Scarborough International School of English, Scarborough; South Leicestershire College of Further Education, Wigston; St Clares College, Oxford; The London Institute, London; Totnes European School; Totnes; Totnes School of English, Totnes; United International College, London; University of Newcastle, Newcastle; University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth; University of Wales, Aberstwyth; Westbourne Academy, Bournemouth; Wimbledon School of English, Wimbledon.

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