||Long-term and academic-led learning is on the rise in Russia, according to many of the advisors canvassed for this month’s survey, and the general mood is upbeat for the future.
|• The total number of students placed by 11 of the 12 agencies in our survey was 5,373
• Individual agencies placed between 22 and 3,950 students on language courses each year
• Average business growth was 17 per cent
• The average length of stay for Russian students was six weeks
• Three-quarters of advisors charged its clients a handling/processing fee
• Canada was the most popular destination for students, by volume of placement
• In the last 12 months, advisors had worked with an average of 33 education partners
• Singapore, Hong Kong and China were all noted as new study destinations
||Most popular courses
|1. Canada 37%
2. USA 27%
3. UK 16%
4. Malta 10%
5. France 2%
6. Ireland 1%
6. Spain 1%
6. China/HK 1%
||1. Summer vacation 24%
2. Junior 22%
3. General 21%
4. Intensive 14%
5. Business 6%
6. Academic prep. 4%
7. Foundation 3%
8. Language plus work experience 2%
|Reasons for language travel
||Average percentage agency business
|1. Studies overseas 39%
2. Current work 19%
3. Future work 18%
4. Studies at home 14%
5. Pleasure 9%
||1. Language programmes 40%
2. Work & travel 18%
3. Higher education 32%
4. Internships 7.5%
5. Secondary 2.5%
|How do agencies recruit students?
||How do agencies find new business partners?
|1. Word-of-mouth 45%
2. Website 36%
3. Advertising in press 5%
4. Mail shots 1%
||1. Agent workshops 40%
2. Internet 25%
3. Language fairs and student expos 19%
4. LTM/ETM 7%
5. Other press 1%
|Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 42%
Languages Canada 66%
Groupement FLE 33%
Italian in Italy 58%
English NZ 42%
English UK 92%
British Council 100%
Quality English 75%
Well, things have certainly improved since our last Advisor Survey on Russia, when a negative business growth rate of -12 per cent was recorded (see Language Travel Magazine, January 2010, pages 22-23). In the last 12 months, study travel advisors report that business improved on 2009, for the large part, with only one company posting a negative annual growth figure (due to the economy), while other companies noted a rise in business of between two and 50 per cent. One advisor reported that long-term courses were more in demand, while another said that parents were becoming more able to invest money into the study plans of their children.
Language and destination trends
Although the UK was noted by many advisor companies as among the most popular destinations for Russian clients, as our statistics are weighted by volume, the fact that the largest company included in the survey sent many clients to Canada has meant that Canada has come out on top overall, followed by the USA and then the UK. Malta was also a firm favourite among many advisors and accounted for a solid 10 per cent of business, while China and Hong Kong garnered one per cent of the vote and a mention from some companies as new study destinations becoming more popular with Russians. After English (82 per cent requested), French, German and Spanish were the next most popular languages.
Student and course trends
Further studies overseas were the overriding motivation behind Russians studying abroad; the reason for 39 per cent of the clientele travelling abroad to study. This underlines the academic intent of the majority of Russian clients, with some advisors highlighting vocational and degree programmes as rising in interest. Nevertheless, when looking at course trends, it is clear that a significant section of the clientele is also younger, with junior and summer vacation programmes chosen by 22 per cent and 24 per cent of clients respectively.
Most advisors worked in language/secondary and higher education placement, with some also active in internships and volunteering. In fact, with 32 per cent of clients being placed in the higher education sector, this is only just behind the majority slice of 40 per cent business activity in language learning. Forty-five per cent of advisors’ clients were recruited via word-of-mouth recommendation, with 36 per cent using a particular company due to its website. On average, Russian study travel advisors worked with 107 schools in 176 countries but had only placed clients with 33 education partners within the last 12 months.
Most Russian advisors are optimistic about the future. As well as rising interest in vocational/higher ed placements being signalled, one advisor said they believed an uncertain political situation at home meant more parents were keen to send their children abroad to study.
• The Russian economy is estimated to have grown by almost four per cent in 2010 after contracting by 7.9 per cent during the recession in 2009.
• Government expectations are that the economy will grow by 4.2 per cent this year and most analysts predict a stable situation, although they underline that social problems in the country are not being resolved by a slowly building economy.
• The economy remains heavily reliant on energy exports and the investment climate was deemed “bad” by President, Dmitry Medvedev. The Economy Minister has lowered his investment growth forecast for 2011 from 10 to nine per cent or lower.
Russian advisories named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Canada: Ilac, Toronto, ON; SEC, Toronto, ON; University of Toronto, Toronto, ON. In Ireland: Emerald Cultural Institute, Dublin; IH Dublin, Dublin. In Germany: Humboldt Institut, various; Sprachinstitut Treffpunkt, Bamberg. In France: Actilangue, Nice; Cavilam, Vichy; Ecole France Langue, various. In Hong Kong: Q Language, Hong Kong. In Italy: Linguadue, Milan. In Malaysia: Limkokwing University, Kuala Lumpur. In Malta: EC, St. Julian’s. In New Zealand: Language Schools New Zealand, various. In the UK: Anglo-Continental, Bournemouth; Bosworth College, Northampton, St Bedes, Hailsham; Churchill School, Margate; Harrow House International College, Swanage; Frances King School of English, London; London School of English, London; LSI, London; OISE, Bristol; Regent Language Training, various; Severnvale Academy, Shrewsbury; Studio School, Cambridge; Wimbledon School of English, London. In the USA: FLS, Pasadena, CA. Worldwide: EC; Kaplan International Colleges; LAL; Sprachcaffe.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: CIP Alternativa; Business Class Co.; Interlogos; System-3 Education; StudyIN; Language Link; University Council; Nowitex Language Centre; Litera Script Maneta; Interbridge; Language for Life; International Education Club.