June 2004 issue

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France feedback

A larger proportion of students who took part in this year's Feedback survey in France were studying the language for pleasure only, compared with the results for last year. There was also an increase in Chinese students with long-term academic goals.

France feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 55 (female 43, male 12)

Average age in years: 31.6

Average length of programme in weeks: 8.2

Average number of students per class: 5.8

Average number of hours of language tuition per week: 20.4

% of students who found their course through an agent: 25

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 42

% of students who had been on another language programme: 36

% of students who would recommend their school: 91

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Western Europe 47%
North America 5.5%
Asia 31%
Latin America 7%
Middle East 2%
Australasia 2%
Others/unknown 5.5%
1.Japanese 16%
2.Swiss 15%
3.Chinese 11%
4.Spanish 7%
5.German 5%
6.Brazilian 4%
6.British 4%
6.Italian 4%
6.Korean 4%
6.US 4%

In my class there are... Modes of travel to France?
Too many students 7%
Too many students who speak my language 11%
Too many students from one other country 4%
None of these 76%
Unknown 2%
Low-cost air carrier 25%
Ordinary air carrier 45%
Coach 2%
Car 6%
Train 18%
Unknown 4%

How did you find your programme? Standard of the teaching
I saw it advertised 11%
I found it on the Internet 38%
It was recommended by an agent 25%
It was recommended by a friend/relative 24%
Unknown 2%
Excellent 64%
Good 36%

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent 22%
Good 51%
Satisfactory 16%
Poor 4%
Unsatisfactory 2%
Unknown 5%
Excellent 35%
Good 31%
Satisfactory 11%
Poor 5%
Unknown 18%

Standard of your social programme? How easy was it to practise French with native speakers?
Excellent 25%
Good 60%
Satisfactory 13%
Unsatisfactory 2%
Quite easy 40%
Quite hard 51%
Very hard 7%
Unknown 2%

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser?
Yes 42%
No 45%
Unknown 13%

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (87%)
No (11%)
Unknown (2%)

Yes (47%)
No (51%)
Unknown (2%)

Yes (69%)
No (31%)

Student nationality
Despite the fact that far fewer students took part in our survey on French language schools this year - 55 compared to 149 last year - the nationality mix in French language school classrooms remained largely the same (see Language Travel Magazine, April 2003, pages 16-17). The largest proportion of students was from Western Europe, followed by Asia and Latin America. However, in a notable change from last year's results, none of our respondents were from Central or Eastern Europe, despite previously making up 10 per cent of the student body. Of the individual nationalities represented, those from Asia performed strongly with Japanese students making up the largest single nationality. The percentage of Chinese students also increased from four per cent last year to 11 per cent this year.

Student age and motivation
In a big change from last year's survey, the average age of respondents leapt from 23.8 years to 31.6 years this year. This factor perhaps also had an effect on the most popular reasons given by students for their study abroad trip. The number of students learning French for pleasure increased from 22 per cent to 29 per cent and was the most common reason given by students. The larger number of older age students taking a language course for pleasure also ties in with the relatively short average length of language programmes being taken - 8.2 weeks compared with 15.7 weeks the previous year. All of the Chinese students who answered our questionnaire were learning French for further college study in France while 56 per cent of Japanese were learning French for current or future work purposes.

Student enrolment
A larger percentage of students found out about their course via the Internet this year - 38 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 2003 - while those relying on agent recommendations decreased from 38 per cent to 25 per cent. However, the percentage of students actually booking their course through an agent adviser was higher at 42 per cent, including 100 per cent of Swiss students, 50 per cent of Chinese students and 100 per cent of US students.

Standard of the schools
Our students viewed teaching standards at French schools very positively with 100 per cent finding their teachers to be either excellent or good. The academic and social programmes also scored highly with students, with 89 per cent and 98 per cent respectively judging these to be at least satisfactory. With 21 different nationalities represented in our survey, the majority of our students - 76 per cent - thought that there was just the right nationality mix in their classrooms. Of the 11 per cent who said that there were too many other students who spoke their language, 33 per cent were Chinese and 33 per cent were German.

Living in France
Overall, 38 per cent of our respondents found the cost of living in France to be higher than in their home country, while 36 per cent found it to be lower and 26 per cent found it to be the same.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Alliance Française, Rouen; Alliance Française, Toulouse; Alpha B Institut Linguistique, Nice; Condé International, Lyon; Ecole de Langue Francaise pour Etrangers, Paris; Idiom, Nice; IS Aix-en-Provence, Aix-en-Provence; Paris Langues, Paris.
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