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Contents - March 2002


Special Report
Language plus activities
How have client requirements for the traditional summer vacation programme developed over time, and what programmes do language schools now offer for the seasonal client? Jackie Winspear reports.


Destination
US west coast
The west coast of the USA offers an exhilarating and varied language travel experience for international students, with spectacular scenery and a wealth of entertainment opportunities on offer. Anna Zachariassen reports.



Market Report
Australia's lustre
Elicos schools in Australia feared the worst when new visa regulations were introduced last year, but most have been pleasantly surprised by the market's strong performance. Gillian Poole reports.



Opinion

The benefits of international exchange are undisputed in our industry, as the majority of those working within international education have seen first-hand the cultural enrichment gained from learning and living in another country, and the enhanced understanding achieved between communities and nationalities.

It is for this reason that many work to promote study abroad and ensure that the opportunity to study overseas remains accessible to others. In the post-September 11 world, national security is under increased scrutiny, but those in the US industry, for example, are campaigning tirelessly to ensure that the new national security measures do not make it too cumbersome for potential students to apply to study in the USA.

The Sevis student tracking scheme is likely to come into effect in the USA on January 1, 2003, and US institutions seem broadly happy to back this new security measure – as long as they have enough time and information to inform agents and students about the changes that will be in place. Nafsa is also continuing to campaign to quash the student funding aspect of the Sevis scheme, or to keep it as simple as possible (page 4).

Our Agent Questionnaire candidate, also from the USA, points out that American students are as determined as ever to continue with their study plans, emphasising that there is a recognised value, possibly now more than ever, in study abroad (page 8).

Visa issuance is, of course, a cornerstone of the industry, without which study abroad would not be possible. Efforts to streamline and improve visa processes around the world can usher in benefits for education providers, as long as they are kept up to date about developments. In Australia, schools testify that they have received increased student enrolments, since the new "transparent" immigration regulations came into effect (page 27).

Visas can help grow the industry, but they can also stifle it, if the issuance process becomes problematic. One Yugoslav agent believes that this is the main reason for a lack of expansion within the language travel agency market in Yugoslavia (page 17). The boutique nature of many businesses also testifies to the personal involvement of many within the industry, and the care and precision afforded to each client.

There are continuing efforts from agencies to improve the image of study abroad among the general public. German agency association, FDSV, for example, is aiming to recruit more members and promote its code of conduct to the German public, recognising that the potential for language learning in Germany is still unfulfilled (page 9).

However, despite agencies' best efforts, there are factors – mainly economic – that can kill the language travel industry overnight. In Argentina, agents and consultants report that the market has in many cases dried up, and those clients looking to study overseas are seeking means to leave Argentina as a direct result of the country's turbulent economic situation (page 8).

There are certainly hard times ahead, but efforts from agencies, institutions and associations will be rewarded for continuing to promote the value of international exchange. Factors such as economic prospects and international peace undoubtedly impact on our market, but a continuing expansion of global understanding, which is only achieveable through international exchange and cooperation, will help ease all of these problems.


Opinion
The benefits of international exchange are undisputed in our industry, as the majority of those working within international education have seen first-hand the cultural enrichment gained from learning and living in another country, and the enhanced understanding achieved between communities and nationalities.

News
USA tightens up security
CEC Network pushes for government interaction
IDP launches online application system
EdNZ extends links with Latin America
Korean expenditure on study abroad rises

Travel News
Asia to be future focus
Open skies is a hot topic
Low-cost carriers thrive

Agency News
Argentina's industry suffers
FDSV on quality drive

Agency Survey
Italy looks up
After slow growth in 2000, Italian language travel agents report that business was generally better in 2001. However, the events last year in the USA leave agents cautious in their forecasts for 2002.

Feedback
France
Despite the fact that, in this year's survey of students studying French in France, a third of our respondents were learning the language for pleasure, the average length of stay, at over 11 weeks, remained relatively long.

Course Guide
Worldwide French
Switzerland, Belgium and Canada offer very different language learning experiences for students, but all countries offer high quality French education in an interesting setting. Students can choose from Belgium, the seat of the European Commission with its picturesque historical towns; French-speaking Canada, with its fantastic scenery and multicultural environment; and Switzerland, famed for its enchanting mountain backdrops and high standard of living.

Q&A
MEI~Relsa's efforts
MEI~Relsa is continuing to work with member schools and the Irish government to ensure that schools offer a high quality language learning experience and that this message is being heard around the world. Gillian Nother, MEI~Relsa's new Manager, answers our questions about the association's efforts.

City focus
Berlin
Arguably one of the most interesting and unique cities in Europe, Berlin attracts international students in search of fascinating history and an ultra-modern lifestyle. Amy Baker reports.

Status
Canada 2000
The Status survey is a new venture by Language Travel Magazine, in association with the Association of Language Travel Organisations (Alto), which gathers comparable market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. This month, we look at the English language market in Canada.