||School associations organise agent roadshows
Two language school organisations, the International House World Organisation (IHWO) and English New Zealand, both organised roadshows to meet agents in-country at the end of last year, keen to cement good working relationships between members and prospective agent partners.
At IHWO, it was the first time that various International House schools had toured together under the IHWO umbrella, reported Christina Margraf at the association. Three locations in Turkey were the choice for the first such IHWO event.
Margraf related, “Twenty-one IH Study Abroad centres [attended] the roadshow and workshops were held in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. In total, schools met with over 50 agents!”
Meanwhile, English New Zealand, which represents many private English language schools in the country, toured Thailand and Vietnam with 17 of its members, enabling them to meet close to 70 study abroad agencies in the three locations of Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
“These were the best workshops we have staged in these countries,” commented Rob McKay, Chairperson of English New Zealand, who explained that New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Tourism New Zealand, and Immigration New Zealand provided excellent support and gave presentations to both schools and agents on key issues relevant to the market. The Ambassador was also able to welcome agents in Hanoi.
“Agent relationships are the cornerstone of our work and we are grateful that our industry partners also see how important the success of these workshops is to New Zealand’s export education industry as a whole,” said McKay. “We look forward to building on this success as we move through our calendar of events which features agent workshops in all of our key countries every year.”
Back at IHWO, Margraf pointed out that the roadshow concept went down well with IHWO members and agents, and plans are already underway for another event in the future. Canadian member, Houman Nikmanesh from IH Toronto and IH Calgary, commented, “This was perhaps the best business trip I have been on. It was a true show of force for our organisation and an incredible showcasing for the International House schools.”
Meanwhile, agent delegate Zeynep Ugur Ayasbeyoglu, from Firenze agency in Istanbul, said, “It was a pleasure for us to meet the International House family. In such a short time we had the opportunity to meet with IH school representatives and have updated information about the high quality of IH schools. We already feel the good effects of the face-to-face meetings.”
EduSA invites Italians to Cape Town
EduSA the education marketing association based in South Africa, formerly known as Eltasa hosted an agent fam trip for six Italian members of Ialca last year, who were accompanied by three Italian journalists reporting on South Africa as a travel destination, with a focus on language study.
According to Craig Leith, Chairperson at EduSA, the trip was a success and the association is hoping for more Italian bookings across the nine EduSA members. The agents and journalists had a chance to visit all the participating schools (EC, LAL, IH, Inlingua, Interlink, Eurocentres, Shane Global, Kurus English and Good Hope Studies) “during which time they had a question-and-answer session with each of the owners or managers”, said Leith. He added, “The report from all of the centres was that this time was especially beneficial for both the agents and the schools.”
Daniela Maccolini from Coming agency was one participant. “Some of us have already sent students to Cape Town,” she said on her return. “Every school had something different to offer, so there is a choice for everyone, from the executive manager to younger clients who want to experience Africa.”
ICEF in Miami and Alphe in Japan/Korea
ICEF organised an inaugural North America Workshop in December in Miami, USA, and the fact that the event sold out two months in advance confirmed the need for a “specialist” workshop, said organisers. Over half of educators attending represented the university and vocational sector, while 26 per cent represented high schools.
In all, educators from 140 American and Canadian institutions met with 209 agents from 52 countries. Attendee, James Kelim from the University of Texas at San Antonio, said, “The agents were knowledgeable and I appreciated that many of them were focused on the needs of their students.”
Alphe held its regular Korea and Japan roadshow late last year, attracting 48 educators in Korea and 50 educators in Japan and a wide range of agencies. Maria MacDonald from Liverpool School of English, UK, who attended the Seoul event, said, “I thought it was target-marketed and every agent I have seen has been of excellent quality.”
• See pictures on page 14.
Agency of the month
In a series appearing each month in Language Travel Magazine, we ask a different language teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.
This month, StudyTeam Cuba in Cuba nominates Weg-Wijs agency in the Netherlands. Katy Cossio at the company explains this decision.
“It is very difficult to choose only one agency to nominate! We are proud to be represented by many excellent agencies. I would love to nominate each of them and say how much we appreciate their work and support! But this time I have chosen to nominate a very special agency: Weg-Wijs in the Netherlands.
This independent agency is managed by Kitty and Angela, two lovely women who work from their office in The Hague. Weg-Wijs offers a very personalised service to students and their parents, most of the time through face-to-face personal meetings. Kitty and Angela work in a very sophisticated way that attracts very demanding clients who look for exclusive attention and quality of services.
We value very much the close and transparent relationship we have with Kitty and Angela. We feel inspired by the way they treat their clients with a lot a dedication and commitment. They really take care of their clients’ needs and never forget that an enrolment is not just the reservation of a course but also the ticket for a long-term experience!”
Industry issues - agents speak out
Q.If the UK bans part-time work rights for non-EU students, how would this affect your business?
Ece Dayioglu, Desk Yurtdisi Egitim Danýsmanligi, Turkey
“I think if the UK bans part-time work rights for non-EU students, this will effect the Turkish market negatively. Because having work permission is one of the most important reasons to make the UK preferable for Turkish students. A work opportunity is not only good for earning pocket money, it is also good for being a part of the daily life of the UK. Our students can easily find temporary work in cafés, restaurants and markets where they can practise their English while they earn their pocket money.”
Oh! Canada Education and Business Consulting Centre, Taiwan
“Part-time work for most Taiwanese students is not a major determining factor when choosing a a country or school in which to study. For those to whom it is important, they would most likely select other destinations such as Canada for its ESL plus professional internship programmes or Australia and New Zealand for their work-holiday programmes. However, if the UK changes its policy in this regard, the damage to its reputation would be of greater impact.”
Fulya Yalezan Yilmaz, Director, Oxford Language Centre, Turkey
“Almost every international student works during their studies in the UK. Removing their rights to work will mean the student will simply opt to go to South Africa or Australia. Even Canada can be an alternative since it has recently introduced part-time working rights. The jobs the students are taking up are non-skilled, entry level, minimum wage type of jobs that are highly affected by seasons, economic crises and any festive events. These are not long-term or lifetime jobs on which you would expect a British family to live. The concerns that foreign students are taking up much needed jobs has no foundation.”
Nori Salazar, Operations Manager, Globorama, Venezuela
“After the difficulties caused by the implementation of the PBS, this would be a second major blow to the UK as an education destination. The possibility of working part-time is a very powerful sales tool when promoting the UK. We are experiencing a huge shift of student flow from the UK to the Republic of Ireland. Venezuelans do not require a visa and they can work part-time providing they take a course longer than 26 weeks.”
On the move
Julie Norminton is the recently appointed Director of Studies at Rotorua English Language Academy in Rotorua, New Zealand. Ms Norminton has worked in the UK, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Bahrain, New Zealand and UAE as an EFL Teacher and Teacher Trainer.
STS Education has appointed James Crimp as Product/Sales Manager of their junior language school division and its subsidiaries. Mr Crimp will focus on providing further support to all STS sales offices in 22 countries worldwide as well as leading production and product development. He has worked within this industry for over 18 years in several senior management roles.
The Languages Canada Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Gonzalo Peralta as Executive Director. Mr Peralta, who will be based in the Ottawa area, brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in the language industry. Prior to joining Languages Canada, he served for almost three years as the President of AILIA in Canada, and his career to date has spanned over 25 years.
Nichole Paris has been appointed Managing Director of ESFA Language Travel in New York, the US branch of French agency ESFA Séjours Linguistiques, based in Lyon. This expansion follows the successful opening of offices in Paris and Antibes and will allow ESFA to promote high-quality language travel and immersion to France and around the world.
Sarah Lachman has joined Wimbledon School of English, London, as Marketing Officer and Groups Coordinator. Ms Lachman originally from the USA worked as Marketing Assistant for Red Bull North America before coming to the UK to study for an MSc in Global Transformation at Loughborough University.
Bell Educational Trust has recently made two new appointments. Alison Tomura (top) becomes PR and Marketing Executive and Anna Williams (below) takes on the role of Design and Communications Executive. Ms Tomura will focus on raising the profile of Bell’s worldwide education services and has special responsibility for marketing to teachers and adult learners. She joins Bell after two years as MBA Marketing Officer at the University of Cambridge.
EF and Cambridge Esol link up
EF has teamed up with the University of Cambridge Esol to announce its own examination that corresponds with benchmarks within the Common European Framework.
The EF Cambridge English Level Test, EFCelt (pronounced “Efkelt”), is a 40-minute test that will be offered to all EF students upon completion of an English course. The test will give students a clear indication of their ability level and provide an ideal stepping stone to taking an internationally-recognised Cambridge certificate, says the company.
EFCelt took 18 months to design, and included research trials that involved 8,000 EF students in 14 different countries. The testing schedule is timed to correspond with the completion of EF’s English courses and a junior version of the test is also being developed for launch later this year.
“Standardising the way English is assessed is a big step towards improving how the language is taught throughout the world,” said EF President, Philip Hult. “We are thrilled to be working with Cambridge Esol to help improve the way students learn.”
EF has been establishing a network of Cambridge Esol exam centres at its schools to deliver EFCelt along with Cambridge Esol certificates. It also reports that it is working with the University of Cambridge’s Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics to establish an EF research unit devoted to improving and accelerating language learning.
Sara’s New York Homestay expansion
US-based accommodation provider, Sara’s NY Homestay, has acquired a new property in Brooklyn, NY and is currently converting it into a student residence hall with fully furnished two-bedroom apartments, a student lounge and resident assistant.
A number of apartments are ready for immediate occupancy while the entire block is due to be finalised by summer. Bernard Zagdanski, Sara’s NY Homestay Director, explained that Brooklyn was a cheaper option than Manhattan yet only a 15/20-minute subway ride to Manhattan and the city centre.
“Cost is usually of major concern to overseas students studying in the USA,” he said. The company is also hoping to attract a school to use the lower levels of the former industrial building as classrooms, with accommodation provision upstairs.
Panasonic in bid to reach education sector in the UK
Global technology company, Panasonic, has teamed up with UK company Northgate Managed Services, which works with many local education authorities in the UK, in a bid to market its education technology solutions, including its interactive whiteboards the Panaboard to education providers in the country.
“We are delighted to have been chosen as a distribution partner by Panasonic,” commented the Managing Director of Northgate’s Education division, David Hyland. “Panasonic offers the market a very cost-competitive and versatile portfolio of solutions
EAIE launches agent training course
With the use of education agencies in international student recruitment becoming increasingly accepted worldwide (see news, page 6), the European Association for International Education is getting in on the act by relaunching a training course for members and non-members entitled “Working with Recruitment Agents”.
The three-day course, which takes place on 24-26 November in Berlin aims to leave delegates with an armoury of advice and support to enable them to successfully work with recruitment agents. The EAIE has traditionally formed its membership from tertiary institutions and colleges for the most part, which are sectors that have been slower to realise the benefits of working with education agents.
Chris Price, International Director & Partner at MJD Consultancy, which is delivering the course for EAIE, explained to Language Travel Magazine, “The role of recruitment agents in providing students for universities and colleges is ever more significant. Agents are responsible for between 30-to-50 per cent of all enrolments to higher education in UK and Australia, and increasingly used by a range of European countries as a source of international students.”
He stated that the practical three-day training course “will give participants’ strategies to help them successfully work with recruitment agents. They will leave with a ‘toolkit’ of advice and support, including a sample agent contract, market intelligence, payment and incentive scales, and practical know-how”.
The course costs e900 (US$1,295) from EAIE members and e1,100 (US$1,581) for non-members. Price related that the last time such a course was run in 2007, nationality uptake was diverse, with over 11 different nationalities enrolling. “Training on how to make the best of these important relationships is now imperative,” he said, adding that there were few such training courses currently available.
New Executive Director of Languages Canada, Gonzalo Peralta, answers our questions about the association’s plans for the year and tells us about its accreditation scheme’s growing recognition.
Full name: Languages Canada\Langues Canada
Year established: March 2008
Number of members: ~ 144 accredited programmes as at December 31, 2009
Type of members: Public, private, French, English, and seasonal language institutions
Association’s main role: To promote quality, accredited English and French language training in Canada, both nationally and internationally.
Membership criteria: Accreditation under Languages Canada Accreditation Scheme
Government recognition: Yes
Code of practice: Yes
Complaints procedure: YesAgent workshops/fam trips: May 2010
Contact details: Executive Director,
General enquiries, Linda Auzins
What has Languages Canada achieved since its inception, and what are its plans for 2010?
Languages Canada has become firmly established since its inception in 2008. The solid and stable membership base, experienced management, and independent accreditation system are now ready to support future growth. Work has already begun, with increased visibility in media and events as well as strong representation through advocacy. LC secured funding to support marketing activities and had a presence at key events where many of our members have been present. Advocacy work has not lagged either, as LC has attended key discussions that will have an impact on policy, funding, and immigration rules. LC members now have privileged access to certain events and some use of the government’s education marketing brand.
2010 promises to be a strong year: expectations include increased funding and support for marketing activities, access to the new education brand for all, and improved visa acceptance rates for students coming to LC member programmes. 2010 will be a big year; events by ICEF and BMI will bring many agents and LC is organising fam tours to bring them to where the action is our members’ programmes! Our third conference will be held in Saint John’s Newfoundland and will help us define strategy for the next few years.
What do you consider to be the biggest hurdle facing the industry this year?
The biggest hurdle continues to be the disconnect between the Canadian government’s immigration policies and practices and the needs of the Canadian languages training sector. Government does not have a comprehensive strategy and policies that clearly address the needs of immigration, foreign students, and student workers. This continues to hurt Canadian programmes and the economy. LC will continue to pressure policy makers to come up with a better framework.
Are you liaising with government to ensure the “Imagine” brand can be used by private schools?
LC programmes from the public sector now have access to the brand, and discussions continue to include the private sector schools. At this time, the federal and provincial government stakeholders have expressed support and requested further clarifications on LC’s Accreditation Scheme. The big news is that after undertaking their own independent study, government has determined that the LC Accreditation Scheme is more rigorous than a number of the provincial education regulations. This means that students at LC schools can count on superior and consistent quality.
• Low-cost carrier, easyJet, is in the process of extending routes from UK airports. A daily service between Stansted and Cagliari in Sardinia and a four-times weekly flight from Manchester to Helsinki in Sweden will start later this month, while flights from Liverpool to Malta will operate from June. Ryanair has followed suit and extended services to and from Trapani, Sicily with two new aircraft, 13 new routes and a higher frequency of flights from Sicily to Brussels, Belgium, and Frankfurt and Dusseldorf, Germany. Ryanair predicts that this development will add a further two million customers to the Sicilian airport per year.
• Airlines have been challenged as to the hidden charges unsuspecting passengers face when booking a flight. A recent survey of four budget airlines found that passengers could be charged an extra 25 per cent on top of advertised prices if they checked luggage into the hold and paid using a credit card. The survey, conducted by Which? magazine, revealed that budget carrier, Bmi, increased flight prices to Paris by as much as a quarter while Ryanair increased its charges by UK£50 (US$82) across all routes for the same services. This amounted to the equivalent of eight to 29 per cent more than advertised flight prices. Imposing the highest increase was Jet2 airlines which charged an additional £92.16 (US$150) while easyJet charged the least at £26-38 (US$42-62) extra.
• Having received ‘approved destination status’ clearing the way for Chinese group tours to the country Canada’s biggest airline, Air Canada, has announced it will increase flight frequency between the two nations. Adding a daily, non-stop service from Toronto and Vancouver to Beijing and Shanghai, Air Canada Chief Operating Officer, Duncan Dee, said, “The potential for this is really tremendous because of the size of the Chinese market”. In 2008 there was five per cent increase in the number of Chinese visitors in Canada and the government has predicted that the tourism industry could gain a 50 per cent boost in numbers.
• The USA and Japan have come to an Open Skies aviation agreement whereby limits on the number of flights that operate, as well as limits on the number of Japanese and US carriers that operate between the two countries, will be eased. The agreement will also lift capacity and pricing restrictions allowing unlimited opportunities for co-operative marketing between US and Japanese carriers. Ray LaHood, US Transportation Secretary, said, “Once this agreement takes effect, American and Japanese consumers, airlines and economies will enjoy the benefits of competitive pricing and a more convenient service”.
• Australia’s leading low-fares airline, Jetstar, plans to increase its domestic operations by adding 700,000 new seats (annually) to popular destinations in Australia, such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Newcastle and Tasmania. They will introduce 77 new weekly return services mostly from Melbourne and Sydney. Jetstar Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Buchanan, said, “This new growth is yet another example of how Jetstar is proactively responding to the Australian travelling public’s strong demand for a combination of low fares, award-winning service and a hassle-free way to travel.”
• A poll conducted by media conglomerate, The Tribune, asked tourism offices across the USA to share the most memorable requests for information. Unusual questions included what the dietary habits of the Loch Ness Monster were and why the English persisted in building so many ruined castles and abbeys. The Convention and Visitors Bureau in Seattle confessed it had been asked by numerous visitors as to what time the whales were scheduled to swim by!
• Following a previous approval of a THB9.13 billion (US$280 million) budget to build a domestic passenger terminal, Thailand’s main airport operator, Airports of Thailand, has now announced plans to expand the capacity of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. From 2010 to 2016 it will spend an estimated US$2.3 billion on a renovation project that will equip the airport to handle 80 million passengers a year.
Please see the digital issue of Language Travel Magazine for the Grapevine section
Contact any advertiser in 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.