March 2009 issue

Agency News
Agency Survey
Market Report
Special Report
Course Guide 1
Course Guide 2
Regional Focus

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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.

The picture emerging from South Africa at the turn of the year was that language schools generally prospered in 2008. A number of factors have contributed to this positive trend. While schools’ own efforts have undoubtedly played a part, as Craig Leith, Principal of Cape Town-based Good Hope Studies, acknowledges, the upturn is also a result of South Africa becoming better known as an EFL destination, according to Jane Diesel, Director at Inlingua Language Training Centre in the same city.

This in turn, she points out, has been helped by the presence of the national association, Eltasa, at a number of fairs. The country’s low cost of living is also significant, as Tatiana Cavarsam of LAL highlights, along with a favourable exchange rate and exposure for the forthcoming 2010 football World Cup. Thus, while many markets have already begun to feel the cold wind of economic downturn, the South African language travel sector remains buoyant, with student numbers up by 20 per cent and more at a number of established schools.

Traditionally recruiting a large number of students from Germany and Switzerland (see pie chart), these nationalities continued to feature strongly in 2008. At The International English School (IES) in Somerset West, the number of Swiss students increased, as they showed growing interest in examination programmes. At International House Cape Town, Managing Director, Gavin Eyre, has observed an increase in Brazilian, Spanish, Russian and Turkish students over the last year. “Brazilian bookings are up by about 15 per cent [and] the rest [by] about 10 per cent,” he notes.

For LAL, the best increase has been a 285 per cent surge from the Middle East. “The Saudi Arabian market is growing once again,” comments Cavarsam, “due to the forthcoming soccer World Cup and the competitive price of our long stay programmes, as well as the low living costs.” Meanwhile, at Wits Language School, the greatest increase has been in students from Turkey. According to Course Coordinator, Trish Cooper, their share has risen from six per cent to 16 per cent on average per course, as Turkish people increasingly seek business opportunities within South Africa.

One trend that recurs across a number of schools is the growth in demand from other African countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo performed well at CT School of English in Cape Town, according to Manya Bredell, and at Wits Language School, Cooper observes that, “The main reasons seem to be that these students are more mature and [are] self-funded. They have very clear goals, and are aiming to improve their English as much as possible within a relatively short time-frame – six months on average.”

With student numbers rising, language schools have observed growing interest in a number of course types. Examination programmes appear to be a significant growth area, and Bredell highlights Toefl and Cambridge programmes, in particular. At Bay Language Institute, courses preparing students for both exams and academic studies have grown in popularity, according to Sean Fitzhenry at the school, mainly because of the increase in the number of African students. As a result, there is also a trend for longer courses of between 16 and 24 weeks.

New school openings are also a sign of a buoyant market, and Wits Language School is planning to open a new school in Pretoria. Kurus English CC opened its doors in Cape Town in September 2008, and Managing Director, Johannes Kraus, says that he is expecting growth in the next couple of years. One factor in this is the view that the rand will remain weak against the major currencies, with the effect that the country will continue to be a cheap tourist destination.

Good promotion

With so many positive factors in South Africa’s favour at the moment, it is an advantageous time for language schools to engage in promotion. Language Travel Magazine therefore asked a number of them about their promotional strategies for the coming year.

While some, like CT School of English, plan to increase levels of advertising and direct marketing, others are looking primarily to enhance their own provision. At The International English School (IES), the intention is to carry out more advertising through colleges internationally, while also undertaking more staff training to cater for exam needs and high advanced level provision, according to the school’s Tania Copeland.

Destination marketing is particularly important for lesser-known locations. As Sean Fitzhenry of Port Elizabeth-based Bay Language Institute acknowledges, “Our destination is difficult to sell. Everybody knows Cape Town and the Kruger, but most people have never even heard of Port Elizabeth.” Hence, Bay will be working closely with local tourism organisations.

2009 is a time of change for South Africa’s national association, Eltasa, as it will rebrand as EduSA, to work within the umbrella organisation of the South African Youth Travel Confederation (SAYTC). “We hope to have everything completed by the end of 2009 when we expect all members to be using the new logos,” says Secretary of Eltasa, Meryl van der Merwe.
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.





Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

Feltom Malta  
International House World Organisation 
Languages Canada / Langues Canada 
Quality English 


Your World on Monday

Malta Tourism Authority

Alphe Conferences  
International House World Organisation  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Quality English  

Ecela - Latin Immersion  

Ceran Lingua International (Belgium, France, Spain, UK)

Idiomas To Go  

Applied Linguistics Centre Ltd.  
Camber College  
Camosun College  
College de Jonquiere / AQEF  
College Platon  
English School of Canada  
Eurocentres, Vancouver  
Global Village 
(Australia, Canada,
iTTTi Vancouver  
Language Studies Canada  
MacEwan English Language Institute  
Mount Royal College  
National School of  Languages  
Richmond School District #38  
Saint Mary's University  
University of Regina  
University of Toronto  
University of Victoria  
Vancouver English Centre  

Tandem Santiago  

Alltere Education Group  
IH Xi'an  
iMandarin Language Training Institute  
Mandarin House  

Spanish World Institute  

Yanapuma Spanish School  

IH Cairo  

Ardmore Language Schools  
Bell International (Malta, UK)
Bloomsbury International  
Camp Beaumont  
Concorde International Language Home Tuition  
(Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, USA)
Dudley College of Technology  
English Studio  
International House World Organisation  
Kaplan Aspect  
(Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and Leisure  
(Canada, Cyprus, Ireland, England, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, USA)
Malvern House College London  
Millfield School  
Regent's College  
St Giles Colleges (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
(Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, USA)
Twin Group  (Ireland, UK)
University of Manchester  
Wimbledon School of English  

Alliance Française Paris Ile de France  

International House Berlin - Prolog  

Dilit - International House  
John Cabot University  

Kai Japanese Language School  
Tamagawa International Language School  

Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre (England, Malta, South Africa, USA)
Iels - Institute of English Language Studies  
inlingua Malta  

EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
University of Edinburgh  
University of Stirling  

EC Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Language Training Centre Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
International House Cape Town  
LAL Cape Town  
Shane Global Language Centres - Cape Town  

Esade - Executive Language Centre  
Malaga ¡Si!  
International House San Sebastian - Lacunza  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  

EF Language Colleges Ltd (Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Spain, USA)
Eurocentres International (Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, USA)

ELS Language Centers  
Global Immersions Inc  
inlingua DC  
Johnson & Wales University  
Rennert Bilingual  
University of California Riverside  
University of California San Diego  
University of South Florida  
Zoni Language Centers  (Canada, USA)

CELA (Centro de Lingüistica Aplicada)  



London Metropolitan University  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Writtle College  

Study Group  

University of Glasgow  

St. Timothy's School