May 2004 issue

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Spain feedback

An increasing diversity in the classroom and high levels of student satisfaction characterise this year's Spanish Feedback Survey. However, agent usage among students has decreased year-on-year.

Spain feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 97, female 70, male 26 (unknown 1)

Average age in years: 25.3

Average length of programme in weeks: 14.8

Average number of students per class: 3.5

Average number of hours of language tuition per week: 20.3

% of students who found their course through an agent: 29

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 35

% of students who had been on another language programme: 12

% of students who would recommend their school: 96

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Europe 53%
North America 27%
Asia 11%
Central and Eastern Europe 2%
Latin America 1%
Australasia 1%
Others/unknown 5%
1.USA 24%
2.German 16%
3.Swiss 9%
4.British 7%
4.Japanese 7%
6.Dutch 6%
7.French 4%
8.Canadian 3%
8.Belgian 3%
10.Italian 2%

In my class there are... How will you use your Spanish in the future?
Too many students 3%
Too many students who speak my language 13%
Too many students from one other country 10%
None of these 71%
Unknown 3%
For college study in Spain 6%
For college study in another Spanish speaking country 2%
For college study in my home country 30%
For current or future work 41%
For pleasure only 16%
Unknown 5%

How did you find your programme? Modes of travel to Spain
I saw it advertised 6%
I found it on the Internet 36%
It was recommended by an agent 29%
It was recommended by a friend/relative 26%
Unknown 3%
Low-cost carrier 40%
Ordinary air carrier 50%
Coach 4%
Car 4%
Train 2%

Standard of the teaching Standard of your academic programme
Excellent 80%
Good 18%
Unknown 2%
Excellent 46%
Good 45%
Satisfactory 3%
Unknown 6%

Standard of your accommodation Standard of your social programme?
Excellent 32%
Good 37%
Satisfactory 13%
Poor 2%
Unknown 16%
Excellent 31%
Good 47%
Satisfactory 11%
Poor 2%
Unknown 9%

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser? How easy was it to practise Spanish with native speakers?
Yes 35%
No 55%
Unknown 10%
Very easy 11%
Quite easy 49%
Quite hard 32%
Very hard 5%
Unknown 3%

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (82%)
No (11%)
Unknown (7%)

Yes (58%)
No (36%)
Unknown (6%)

Yes (26%)
No (68%)
Unknown (6%)

Student nationality
The proportion of US students taking part in our Feedback Survey increased again this year to 24 per cent of the total student body. This upward trend for US student numbers has been noted for the past two years. Spanish schools' dependence on western European student markets is still apparent, with 53 per cent of students coming from this world region, but its share is down from 67 per cent last year (see Language Travel Magazine, May 2003, page 16-17). An increase in students from Asia and North America has also helped diversify the student mix.

Student age and motivation
At 25.3 years, the average age of students in our survey was quite high compared with other destinations, but was in keeping with last year's average age of 26.8 years. A higher number of students were learning Spanish for their college programmes at home this year, with 30 per cent giving this reason compared with only 19 per cent last year. Overall, 52 per cent of our US respondents were learning Spanish for their studies at home as well as 57 per cent of British respondents and 29 per cent of Japanese students. Fewer students were going on to further study in Spain, with just six per cent choosing this option, compared with 13 per cent last year.

Student enrolment
Agent usage was comparatively low among our respondents, with 29 per cent of students finding out about their course through an agent or adviser and 35 per cent booking through an agent. In last year's survey, while the same percentage of students found out about their school through an agent, 46 per cent booked via an agency. Our survey found that a relatively low 22 per cent of US respondents used an agent to book their course this year. One explanation for this is the high percentage of US students studying in Spain for their college studies at home, as such study trips are usually organised by the college.

Standard of the schools
Our respondents gave a resounding thumbs up to the standard of their schools. Ninety-six per cent of students said that they would recommend their school to others while the other four per cent declined to reply. With a very low average number of 3.5 students in each class, 71 per cent of students agreed that the nationality mix in their classrooms was just right. Of the 13 per cent who said that there were too many students who spoke their language in their class, 75 per cent were from an English-speaking country and 89 per cent of these were from the USA.

Living in Spain
Spain boasts comfortable and welcoming living conditions, according to our survey. Sixty per cent of respondents found talking to the local people either easy or quite easy while only five per cent found this hard. The majority, 86 per cent, also found that the cost of living in Spain was either lower or the same as their own country. Of those who found living costs to be more expensive, 46 per cent were from the USA, which reflects the rising value of the euro against the dollar.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Abaco Instituto Hispanico de Murcia, Murcia; BCN Languages, Barcelona; Centro de Idiomas Quorum, Malaga; Don Quijote, various; Escuela CF Idiomas, Aranda de Duero; Escuela International, various; Escuela Montalban, Granada; International House, Barcelona; Malaca Instituto, Malaga; Spanish Language Centre, Marbella; Universidad de Alicante, Alicante; University Studies Abroad Consortium, various.
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