March 2006 issue

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Agency Survey
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Course Guide
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Italy slows down

A number of factors exerted negative influences on the Italian language teaching market in 2005, as Amy Baker reports.

Visa issuance has been a headache for Italian language schools over the last year. Lorenzo Capanni from Accademia del Giglio in Florence attests, "Most of the Italian embassies have become stricter, especially in Asia and Latin America. As for African students, it is practically impossible for them to obtain a student visa for a language course [in Italy]."

Other schools confirm that they have experienced a similar situation. Andrea Moradei from Centro Koinè in Florence agrees, "The Italian Foreign Office orders visa offices in the Italian consulates to reject all [applications for] study visas from [certain] countries and all applications for study visas for beginners in the Italian language from the USA, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, etc."

As a result, many schools report that student numbers for 2005 were down compared with 2004, or showed only a small increase. Istituto Venezia in Venice is one school that saw business increase last year and as Matteo Savini at the school points out, "Considering that there are many schools in Italy and that the language of the moment is Spanish, even five per cent growth is not bad."

Alberto Del Mela at Scuola Toscana in Florence has less to be happy about. Like Capanni, he estimates business was down by 20 per cent in 2005. "Thanks to George Bush and the war on terror, everyone seems to be staying at home," he says, "and those who want to receive a study visa are not able [to]." Donna Lynne Galletta at Atrium Istituto di Lingua Italiana in Cagli attributes a 25 per cent decline at their school to the general world economic situation. "Our school targets vacationers who want to learn Italian while on vacation," she says. "Less money means less vacationers."

So, the threat of terrorism, global economics, visa problems and, as Carlo Lipparini of Istituto Il David in Florence points out, a strong euro, were "the four negative aspects" of the year that really put the brakes on the Italian market. Lipparini notes, however, "the Internet is making everybody's life easier".

Not every school in Italy has had to tighten their belts, either. There are some institutions that point to good growth figures, but in these cases, proactive marketing seems to have been the solution. Anna Paola Bosi at Il Sillabo in San Giovanni Valdarno notes 10 per cent growth and says, "In 2004, we attended four big fairs and we have improved our marketing on the Internet."

In Cefalu, Vittoria Cirello at Kulturforum, which opened in 2001, relates that as well as increased advertising overseas, "last year we have also invested a lot to optimise our website, and finally many students come to us through personal recommendation". She estimates that they welcomed 30 per cent more students in 2005 than in 2004. At Sorrento Lingue in Sorrento, web and print-based marketing was also more fruitful, says Cristiana Panicco.

Agents are important to Italian language schools, with many institutions putting agencies behind the Internet as the second most important source of students, or in first position overall. And while it seems that the Internet is certainly a focus of new marketing initiatives, two schools, including Kulturforum, acknowledge that they are thinking about expanding their agency partnerships.

For a number of the schools interviewed for this feature, agencies recruit at least one third of all students, and in the most recent Status survey of Italy (see Language Travel Magazine, November 2005, page 45), agents were said to recruit 41 per cent of clients overall. The Internet was the next most important medium, recruiting 27 per cent of clients on average.

Why students choose to study Italian and how schools can reach them are important questions for the schools to consider. Many sources report a growing demand for specialised Italian and culture courses, which can be marketed through strategic outlets, agents or through various marketing media. Daniel Pietzner, Director of Omnilingua in Sanremo, notes a 40 per cent rise in requests for the specialised Italian, cooking and wine course that they offer. And in Grado, Francesca Mattiusi-Seaman of Scuola Insieme relates, "Clients want more of a full immersion experience with seminars in Italian culture, particularly Italian cooking, cinema and to a degree, Italian opera and art history."

Who wants to study Italian?

The range of nationalities important to language schools in Italy varies widely. However, Japanese, German and US students are clearly among the most significant in the market. In our most recent Status survey of Italian language schools, these three nationalities, along with the Swiss, were the most populous (see graphic).

The consensus seems to be that Germany did not perform well last year, although a couple of schools disagreed. Carlo Lipparini of Istituto Il David in Florence relates, "We had a big decrease in the number of requests from the German-speaking market due to the employment crisis currently in Germany." A number of other schools, such as Il Sillabo in San Giovanni Valdarno, back up this claim.

A slight majority of schools indicated that the USA was among their best performing markets last year and even those schools that were disappointed with overall US numbers indicated that they might focus on this market next year. Lorenzo Capanni of Academia del Giglio in Florence says, "We hope that the American market will recover, especially for undergraduate students."

Otherwise, a trend towards newer student markets is noted by some schools. "We expect a good trend from Russia and [Asian] countries," says Carmelo Manetta of the Italian Language Center Giacomo Leopardi in Belforte all'Isauro, while Cristiana Panicco at Sorrento Lingue adds, "We would like to establish new partnerships with South American and Chinese markets."

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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




Australian Council
      for Private Education
      & Training
English Australia
English UK
OLE - Español en
Quality English

Alphe Agent

GSM International

Malta Tourism

Australian Council
      for Private Education
      & Training
English Australia
Sydney West
      International College
TAFE NSW English
      Language Centres

CERAN Lingua
      (Belgium, England,
      France, Ireland,
      Japan, Netherlands,

Académie des
      langues de Trois -
Access International
Bodwell College
Conestoga College
East Coast School of
      Languages (ECSL)
ELS Language
Geos Language
IH Toronto
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada
Inlingua Vancouver
      Language Schools
      of Canada
Intrax English
Language Repair
      Shop, The
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Modus Language
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Stewart College of
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Vanwest College
West Vancouver
      School District #45

Lingua Summer

Anglolang Academy
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Aspect (Australia,
      Canada, England,
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      Africa, Spain, USA)
Beet Language
Bell International
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Cicero Languages
Eastbourne School
      of English
Eckersley Oxford
English Language
English Studio
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Excel English
      Language School
Frances King School
      of English
Hampstead School
      of English
International House
International House
King Street College
Lake School of
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      Leisure (England,
      Malta, South Africa,
Langbourne College
London School of
Malvern House
Melton College
Millfield Enterprises
Oxford Intensive
      School of English
      (Australia, England,
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Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
Regency College
Sheffield Hallam
St Giles Colleges
      (UK, USA)
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
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      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
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Wimbledon School
      of English

Accent Français
Alliance Française
Alpha B - Institut
Centre d'Etudes des
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Centre International
      Linguistique et
      Sportif (CILS)
Ecole Suisse
Education En
Inlingua Rouen -
      French in Normandy
Institut Catholique
      de Toulouse (IULCF)
International House
Langue Onze
Les Ateliers
      Linguistiques du
Les Cèdres
Odyssea - Institut
      Européen de
SILC - Séjours
      (England, France,
Université de Paris

Inlingua Munich
Prolog- International
      House Berlin

Cork English College
      / Language &
      Activity Holidays
Linguaviva Centre

International House

Burlington Academy
IH- Malta-Gozo
International English
      Language Centre
Lingua Time
Malta Tourism

Auckland English
Auckland Institute of
Cathedral Lane
      Polytechnic Institute
      of Technology
Hawkes Bay
Rotorua English
      Language Academy
University of Otago
      Language Centre

York School

International House

Language Link,
Liden & Denz
      Language Centre

Colegio de Español
      La Janda
Escuela de Idiomas
High Educational
International House
      San Sebastian -
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      Sevilla - CLIC
International House
Kings College
      (England, Spain)
Kingsbrook -
      Spanish for
La Brisa
Malaca Instituto
OLE - Español en
Taller Flamenco

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada,
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      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New
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Institut Richelieu

International House

American Language
California School
      of English
California State
      University San
Columbia University
Diablo Valley
ELS Language
International House
      San Diego SCIEL
Kaplan Educational
      Centers (Canada,
      England, USA)
Monterey Institute of
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University of
      California Riverside
University of
      Santa Cruz
University of Illinois
      at Urbana-
Zoni Language

CELTiC (Schools)


Australian Council
      for Private Education
      & Training

Archer Education
Delta School District

Oxford Brookes

University of

Oak International