Contents - March 2009

Special Report
¿Hablas Español?
American students were the primary business of many early language schools in central and south America, while the USA’s political influence also heralded the origins of one of Spain’s earliest private language schools. Amy Baker charts the rise of the Spanish as a foreign language industry in the Spanish speaking world.

Market Report
Brightness in South Africa
South Africa is an affordable study destination whose star is rising, with more students considering learning English in the country. Jane Vernon Smith reports.

Regional Focus
The heart of Spain
Spain has so much more to offer than its great cuisine, typified by sangria and plates of steaming hot paella. Travel farther inland and you’ll discover rural Spain at its very best. Think castles, medieval ruins and plush green hills.
Nicola Hancox goes on a journey of discovery.


Invaluable worth

I once had a great discussion over breakfast at a conference somewhere with Jan Capper from Ialc, in which we considered what the best investments in life were. As I remember, we concluded that education and travelling were two of them, the third (in no particular order) being the property that you live in. These are investments that enrich your quality of life, investments both pecuniary (ie financial) and personal, in terms of time invested... I would add friendship to this list, although this is an asset that only time and effort yields.

With this at the back of my mind, I am pleased to read that operators in the summer school sector – which is the bulk of annual business for many schools and colleges – are positive about 2009 enrolments despite the looming spectre of financial dire straits around the world. Many feel sure that parents will continue to appropriate funds for the education of their children, even if new trends in booking testify to more conservative spending patterns.

South African language schools are also upbeat about the year ahead, noting a weak comparative currency and a growing range of student source countries and Turkish agencies are, on the whole, hopeful that business will not be adversely affected .

Speak to operators who have been around for a few years and tales of ups and downs over the years emerge. Not every year can yield growth but longevity in this business seems to be assured by market awareness, responsiveness, quality ideals and tenacity, as well, of course, as high standards of service and a commitment to partnerships.

We talked to many of the pioneers in the Spanish as a foreign language industry this month for our Special Report, all of whom started small, albeit with big ideas. Considering quality, rather than price; improving classroom settings as soon as possible; and building up word-of-mouth slowly through ex-students and acquaintances (some of whom went on to become agents) seems to be a typical tale of early beginnings in Spain and Latin America . It was also intriguing to hear of communication by telex and stories of police being called to arrest a foreigner mistakenly thought to be working ‘illegally’ in Spain (at Malaca Instituto!)

Studying abroad has always offered a thrilling combination of travel, education and international friendship, all rolled into one opportunity, one slice of global experience for what, when all is considered, is not a high price to pay.

Invaluable worth

Kaplan Aspect buys out IH-Wels group of five schools
ESL institute to open on Minot State University campus in the USA,
Taiwan launches certification for host families
EF unveils collaboration with Cambridge Esol
Korean/US visa programme gets off to slow start
did deutsch-institut opens new branch in Hamburg

Agency News
Unosel celebrates 30 years
Alphe Japan and Korea perform well

Agency Survey
Turkey resolute
The Turkish market fared well in 2008 with agents reporting positive business growth. Meanwhile, fairs and exhibitions provided plenty of new business opportunities for agencies.

Student satisfaction rates were very impressive in our latest Feedback survey of Italy with all the schools taking part recommended by their students. Agent usage to find a school, although low, also increased on last year, from 12 to 22 per cent.

Foundation in NZ
Targeted foundation programmes for students intent on degree-level study in New Zealand – or even Australia – expertly prepare students for academic success. Amy Baker finds out more.

Course Guide
Studying in China
China has been in the global spotlight in the last few years and as a consequence, there is greater interest in studying in the country, be that on a Mandarin language course or a degree programme, either in English or – for the Asian market primarily – in Mandarin. We provide a listing to some of the education options available in one of Asia’s most sought after destinations.

Course Guide (2)
UK campus courses
A campus-based learning experience means residential accommodation on site and access to many facilities offered by boarding schools or universities that become the short-term summer centre for English training organisations. We profile a selection of such courses in the UK.

Global comparison
In our global comparison article, we provide a breakdown of results from our Status surveys over the past year. In this article, it is possible to compare the nationality breakdown for international students across the major language teaching markets in the world for 2007.