Contents - March 2003

Special Report
Summer trends
The June to September period remains a peak business time for many language schools, but some characteristics of this summer season are changing. The range of student nationalities typically enrolling during these months is increasing, and as a result, there are more diverse courses on offer. Gillian Evans assesses the evolution of the summer market and finds out some of the problems that high seasonal demand can bring.

Direction 01
High-tech learning
Computer-based language learning, either as a supplement to a classroom-based programme or as a course on its own, offers students the flexibility to learn what they want when they want. Gillian Evans investigates the opportunities available in the computer-based learning sector.

City Focus
Berlin's buzz
Berlin is a city like no other. Its cultural scene straddles everything from opera and ballet to techno raves and avant-garde theatre productions. Gillian Evans takes a look.


Keeping up
Satisfying student expectation is the core concern for all operators involved in the study abroad industry, and keeping up with student demand and what students want is the mark of success among language schools and agents.

For this reason, education providers in all countries are keen to promote their quality assurance brands internationally. Australia has gone one step further in developing a global brand image that is designed to sum up the quality, innovation and fun opportunities offered by education providers in the country (page 4). In this respect, Australia is following the UK and New Zealand in trying to establish an accepted international brand representing high quality education opportunities.

Australia is faring well in the international marketplace anyway, as recent student statistics reveal (page 33). Schools suggest that the growth in the market is because of Australia's competitive exchange rate and its reputation as a safe destination.

Agents in Argentina reveal dismal market performance there, and they point out that competitive deals and special offers are real incentives in a market which has slowed dramatically. While the UK remains the preferred destination for students, Australia is the second-most popular destination, and South Africa is becoming increasingly attractive to Argentinean students (pages 12-13).

Competition is as tense as ever in the international marketplace, and individual schools are trying to stay ahead of the pack by offering computer-based lessons in some cases as part of the language school package (page 17). Many agents report that students do not request state-of-the-art lessons involving computers, but the schools leading the way in this field are keen to stress that such techniques are expected by some, and the trend is likely to grow.

In the summer programmes market, providers are also aiming to appeal to students, and agents, by maintaining high levels of quality despite the pressure of the peak period and offering a wider range of activities, for example, or courses that appeal to the pre-university clientele. Pressure to maintain quality levels during this season is higher than ever, as schools acknowledge (pages 24-28).

Agents also have to work hardest during the summer season to make sure that any client problems are solved, as for many, a majority of their clients are overseas during this period. One agent reports that some partner schools are reluctant to resolve any problems, despite assurances from the agent to clients that problems can be dealt with swiftly (page 10).

Agents are mindful of student demand and keen to hear about new courses and products. Many acknowledge the value of home tuition programmes as a small but important niche market, and one Italian agent points to an increase in the range of clients that are likely to benefit from such specialised language tuition. As student requirements become more specific, it is likely that agents can earn more from this market, which offers substantial benefits for the serious language learner (page 19).

In the UK, association ABLS claims the high value of the pound has not impacted on business for member schools, as students and agents are 'more interested in value for money' (page 37). Agencies must offer a wide range of good value, high quality products, to enable students to be able to make a considered decision about which school best caters for their needs.

Satisfying student expectation is the core concern for all operators involved in the study abroad industry, and keeping up with student demand and what students want is the mark of success among language schools and agents.

Students jailed in US for visa violation
Australia launches new brand image
New language strategy for UK
English takes hold in Switzerland, not Saudi Arabia
British Council issues guidelines for junior care
Beijing declares war
on 'Chinglish'

Travel News
Armed guards
in the air
Scandinavian low-cost flights
Single sky for Europe
KLM courts online bookings

Agency News
Belta launches tourism project
China cleans up agency market
CEC Network Agent Fair grows in stature

Agency Survey
Argentina's struggle
The downwards spiral of Argentina's economy has severely affected the language travel market, with price being the most important consideration for the few who can still afford to study abroad.

NZ feedback
New Zealand continues to attract many Asian students who are undertaking language courses with a view to going on to further academic study in New Zealand.

Direction 02
Home from home
Living and learning in a teacher's home appeals to a range of clients who, for whatever reason, may not be keen to study in a classroom environment. Amy Baker reports.

Market Report
Australia flourishes
Despite the introduction in 2001 of more stringent visa regulations for some countries, the English language teaching market in Australia continues to thrive, as Gillian Evans reports.

Course Guide
French for under-16s

Language courses for students under the age of 16 incorporate sporting and adventure-style activities to ensure that students have fun whilst also learning the language. Some schools that specialise in junior programmes also run summer camps for native children so that young language learners can make friends and practise their newly acquired language skills with local children.

Progress at ABLS

The Association of British Language Schools (ABLS) has succeeded in significantly raising its profile in the last year, achieving recognition from the British Tourist Authority and enhancing its reputation around the world. Joanne Adcock at the association answers our questions about ABLS's evolution.

Status: Malta 2001
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, in collaboration with the Association of Language Travel Organisations (Alto), which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world.