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March 2011 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Advisor Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction I
Direction II
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
City Focus
Status

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Bold new world

Study travel advisors need to sharpen their portfolios and make sure they include a smattering of new destinations for their English programming: there is a choice of new ELT countries, such as Cyprus, Malaysia or India; all of which offer a new experience and interesting price point. Amy Baker reports.

Are study travel advisors always on the lookout for “new” destinations in which to learn a language? Apparently not, according to David Anthonisz who has set up Incredible English in Goa, India. He recounts, “For a couple of years I mooted the idea [of learning English in India] with various agents and got a very mixed response ranging from ‘you must be mad’ to ‘what a terrific idea’ but none that I spoke to felt that they would be able to recruit a significant number of students.”

However, student tastes change, perceptions of countries – not to mention visa issues associated with traditional ELT destinations – also evolve and Anthonisz explains that in 2009 a Swiss partner got in touch again with him to suggest that their clients might now be more receptive to learning English in a new destination. As a result, Incredible English was officially opened in Goa in February this year – a joint venture between Anthonisz and Claudio Cesarano of globo-study in Switzerland – to terrific response, says Anthonisz.

“I am convinced that India will quite quickly become a mainstream ELT destination with many new schools opening in various locations over the next three to five years,” says Anthonisz now, citing immediate bookings from advisors around the world. Having a residential facility with all the facilities of a good hotel, along with options from yoga on the beach to Indian cookery classes, has also helped buoy interest. It certainly seems that advisors are ready to include new destinations in their portfolio, given the reaction to Incredible English – bookings from 12 countries had been received at the time of going to press.

Another English language teaching enterprise in India that has been striving for an international mix in its classrooms is ILSC New Delhi, owned by the Canada-based ILSC chain and operated by Canadian Jason Flaming since May 2007. He, however, cites a more difficult journey to the point now where at least 14 nationalities are enrolling annually, with just five non-local bookings in the school’s first full year in 2008.

“Thanks to the amazing work of the ILSC marketing machine, and especially in the early days by my India-loving European marketer, Nadine Zerbel, we’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of bookings [from agencies],” relates Flaming. In fact, advisor-bookings increased by 1,000 per cent from 2009 to 2010, so Delhi is also clearly becoming a destination that agencies are promoting now.

Anthonisz and Flaming both point to the price tag as one major factor that helps sell India, a country with 25 per cent of the population classified as English speakers and the language widely understood – the cost of studying and living in India is a fraction of the price in the UK, USA etc. But Flaming is quick to observe that this is not the whole story, underlining that students want adventure thrown in with their language study: “We are very much in virgin territory here in our effort at drawing adventurous international students to study with us and my most important job is to communicate with the agents and students the fact that there is an amazing learning experience to be had in India for those looking for something different.”

A quick discussion with current students brought up the following main points in terms of India’s attraction, relates Flaming: its culture; novelty – India is very different from many of his international students’ home countries; travel opportunities and future prospects – “It is perceived by many that India has an extremely bright future and that the 21st century will almost certainly have an Indian stamp on it”.

Both Anthonisz and Flaming detail many European nationalities enrolling at their schools, with Flaming also nodding to Japan, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Anthonisz relates, “Europe is the strongest region [for enrolments] with students enrolled from Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Sweden, Italy, Czech Republic and Spain. We have also had enrolments from Japan, Russia and Ukraine, and are now seeing a very high number of enquiries originating from Middle Eastern countries, Iran in particular.”

Iran, in fact, is a lucrative source of students for other emerging markets for international English language teaching, with Malaysia in particular benefiting from good student traffic from Iran. All of the Malaysian institutions canvassed for this article pointed to Iran as among the most important student provider countries, with other Asian and Middle Eastern countries in the mix.

Della Emmanuel, Business Development Manager at Harmony Language Centre in the country, which currently receives 10 per cent of its student intake from overseas, comments, “I believe that Malaysia, as an international destination to learn English, is growing in appeal due to the fact that many European countries today are not allowing Muslim women to wear the head scarf in their institutions of learning.” She continues, “Aside from this, sanctions made by the USA, for example on Iran per se, cause an influx of Iranian students wanting a way out of their turmoil-riddled country, e.g. through Malaysia, through which their ultimate goal is to continue further studies or to emigrate to Australia and other European countries of their choice.”

Malaysian institutions are in agreement that international numbers are rising, with many students keen to continue their studies in the country. Douglas Larke, Communications Manager at Erican Language Centres in Malaysia, points out that Malaysia has a lot of native English speakers and is a cultural and business hub of the world. “It is not as far away for Asian students as Canada, America, the UK or even Australia, and it is much more economically viable. Add to that the beautiful landscapes of Malaysia and the warm, friendly multiracial environment, Malaysia has truly become one of the most preferred locations for language training in Asia today.”

Larke points to a range of student source countries: Japan, Korea, Mongolia, UAE, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Thailand, Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, for instance. At Elit Language Centre, however, most students hail from Sudan and Somalia, as well as Iran, relates Aiyshah Gwilliam – and most of these are progressing on to university. And at new school, What’s Up? English Language Centre, Dr Allan J Miller says that he has observed rising international student numbers from Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as Korea and Japan, with the presence of foreign firms in Malaysia one motivator.

In Cyprus, another emerging market for ELT, the presence of a significant Russian population in the country is the reason behind many Russian enquiries into this Mediterranean destination, says Mary Anglberger of Language Conquests - EFL at the English Study Centre, which launches this year. “There are 120,000 Russian speakers living in Cyprus,” she reveals, “and many [students] come here to visit friends and relatives.” She details an Eastern European trend to potential bookings: “We have also had enquiries from Vietnam, Brazil, Latvia, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Austria and Hungary... and signed contracts with advisors in Kazakhstan, Russia, Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, Ukraine, Italy and Albania.”

Cyprus is similar to Malta, with its beaches and warm climate, yet it is only recently that the national tourism organisation has started promoting English language learning in the country, and, Anglberger details, low-cost airlines are planning on launching more routes to the island. With a posse of new operators keen to tap into the market, Cyprus is intent to tap into market share and promote its “10,000 years of history and culture and a tradition of hospitality that stretches back to antiquity”. (see LTM, February, page 37).

A not-so-new destination, yet one which is ramping up its English teaching activities for a wider audience, is the Philippines. Once favoured primarily by Korean students, the country is now casting its net further afield. Claus G Bauer, President of Paradise English in Boracay, reports that he works with more European agencies now: “Five years ago, our student population was mostly Korean but now we have a lot of other students coming from Europe. I would say the increase has been about 400 per cent in two years.”
At Ilam in Manila, Head Teacher, Faye Liong, agrees with Bauer that it was in 2005 that the ELT market in this country began, but she reports that “the phenomenon, so to speak, has just been more obvious for the past couple of years, mainly due to Koreans”. At Ilam, the school has seen a 200 per cent increase in foreign students and the main nationalities are Korean, Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Iranian.

A spokesperson for Cebu Languages, based on the beach on Cebu Island, observes that many Korean-owned schools operate for Koreans, given the significant Korean population now living in the Philippines. However, there has been a rise in overseas ownership of language schools, which brings with it a more international recruitment remit. “The management of our school is European, Middle Eastern, American and Filipino,” relates Bahman Hamedebarghi, President of Cebu Languages.

Language school ELA Philippines is also of this new breed, with an ELA school in the UK and China. Keith Wakefield, Director of Studies at the school, says, “More and more people realise the quality of English here, especially now that ELA is here, with real native English teachers.”

The Philippines, then, is another confident contender which could gain new market share from opportunistic study travel advisors. Liong suggests reasons for its popularity, which include cost, culture, the easy English fluency of the population with a neutral accent, and its educational system. “At an early age, we learn not only to speak and understand English, but to know where it came from (the etymology of the word, how to use it, and which part of speech it is),” she says.

With cost savings possible compared with established ELT destinations, it could be that agencies choose to nurture new business, rather than simply reappropriate student traffic, by successfully marketing “cheap” and “cool” new destinations to a new slice of customer. There will, however, remain some sceptical punters. Back to Flaming: “From the marketing I’ve done on behalf of the school, I’ve encountered very mixed reactions. When I meet agents and tell them about the school we have in India, a common reaction is one of confusion and sometimes scepticism about the idea of sending students to a developing country. I’m often asked about terrorism, safety, cleanliness, the weather, and even if Indians speak English. A few times the agents repeated, “Indiana, really?’”.



Cyprus
The official language of the Republic of Cyprus is Greek, although the local people speak using a Greek Cypriot dialect. In addition, according to the Eurobarometer by the European Commission, 76 per cent of the population speak English, 12 per cent speak French, and five per cent speak German.

India
India is the second largest English speaking country in the world, after the USA. English is the official language of the country, along with Hindi, and the language of choice for business, politics, trade and tourism. If English users are considered, as opposed to English speakers, then India would have over 750 million from a population of 1.1 billion.

The Philippines
According to the country’s Census 2000, 63.71 per cent of the 66.7 million people aged five years or more spoke English, making it the fifth-largest country by English speaking population.

Malaysia
Malaysia has 27.24 per cent of its population English speaking and English is an active second language in the country, after the official language of Bahasa Malaysia. Certain subjects at school have been taught in the English medium, although this will be phased out by 2012 in favour of more active English language instruction in schools.

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.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/ GROUPS
ALTO  
English Australia  
International House
      World Organisation  
Languages Canada/
      Langues Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Perth Education
      City  
Quality English

EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol 

INSURANCE
Dr. Walter GmbH  
Student Guard
      Insurance  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

WORK EXPERIENCE
Twin Group  

AUSTRALIA
Academies
      Australasia  
English Australia  
Perth Education
      City  

BELGIUM
Ceran Lingua
      International  

CANADA
Access
      International
      English Language
      Centre  
Algonquin College  
Banff Education
      Centre  
Bow Valley College  
East Coast School
       of Languages  
English School of
      Canada  
French
      Immersion
      Programs  
Global Village  
ILSC  
Languages
      Canada / Langues
      Canada  
Niagara College  
School District
      No. 42 Maple Ridge
      & Pitt Meadows  
Student Guard
      Insurance  
Thompson
      Rivers University  
Vancouver English
     Centre  

ENGLAND
Bell International  
Bright World
      Guardianships  
Brooke House
      College  
Bury Language
      School  
CMT Learning  
International House
      World Organisation  
Kaplan International
      Colleges  
Language Studies
      International  
Link School  
London School of
      Business & Finance  
London School of
      English  
Malvern House
      College London  
King's Colleges  
Quality English  
Queen
      Ethelburga's
      College  
Rishworth School
Sedbergh School
St Giles Colleges
Study Group
University of
      Essex -
      International
      Academy  
St Michaels
      College  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alpha B -
     Institut Linguistique  
CLE  
College International
      de Cannes  
Ecole PERL  
Ecole Suisse
      Internationale  
Idiom  
Institut de Langue
      et de Culture
      Françaises - ILCF  
Langue Onze
      Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu
      International  
Paris Langues /
      Club CEI des 4
      Vents  

GERMANY
inlingua Berlin  
International
      House Berlin -
      Prolog  

GUADALOUPE
Media Langues
      Caraibes  

INDIA
Incredible
      English  

IRELAND
International
      House Dublin  
MEI Ireland  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and Activity
      Camps  

SOUTH AFRICA
EC Cape Town  
EF  
Eurocentres
      Cape Town  
Good Hope
      Studies  
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town  
Interlink School
      of Languages  
International House
      Cape Town  
Kurus English
      CC
LAL Cape Town

SPAIN
Escuela La Ola
International House -
      Sevilla CLIC  
Inturjoven  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga Si  

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
Eurocentres
      International  

USA
International House
      New York  
ELS Language
      Centers  
Educatius  
New York
      General Consulting  
University of
      Arizona  
Zoni Language
     Centers  



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