Contents - May 2005

Special Report:
The visa maze
Obtaining a student visa is an integral part of applying to study overseas for long-term students, and the cost and ease of the process and attitude of visa officers undoubtedly affect a student's decision. Jane Vernon Smith talks to schools around the world to establish how changes in visa security are impacting on student enrolments, and also reports on one country's efforts to keep abreast of other countries' regulations and ensure their visa rules are competitive.

City Focus:
Bohemian Brighton & Hove
The city of Brighton & Hove in the UK is a popular destination for language travellers and Amy Baker discovers why. The open and flamboyant atmosphere of the city, along with the beach and warm climate, ensure that students return year after year.

British Columbia, Canada
Most people are aware of the attractions Vancouver has to offer language students but they may not be so familiar with other destinations within the province. Gillian Evans goes further afield to explore some of the wide open spaces and smaller towns.


All together now
Working with agencies around the world is only one way for language schools to maintain their student enrolment levels and most schools will acknowledge that they accept direct bookings and employ other techniques to sell their services to a targeted clientele too. For example, schools may have links with international companies when it comes to finding executive clients for specialised business tuition (page 35).

In our Status survey of Ireland, a typical across-the-board figure for bookings via agencies is just under 50 per cent (page 43). The remaining categories are local bookings, Internet bookings and "other".

Aside from local and Internet-based bookings, Irish schools still typically attract another quarter of their business from "other sources". A main factor here will be word-of-mouth recommendation, but schools may also be contacted by interested parties who found them via a quality association. Our Student Feedback survey reveals that students often look for a school with particular credentials (pages 16-17), and some associations - most recently English UK - offer a searchable database of members via their website (page 7).

The role of a quality school association is multi-faceted, with internal quality and dialogue between members usually as important as external promotion and achieving marketing clout. There seems to have been a frenzy of association activity in recent months, with a new association in both Spain and Ireland being launched (pages 6/7).

While a well-run association can achieve great benefits for its members, in terms of raising the profile of a group, promoting quality and integrity, and even organising events for agents – such as international group, Ialc (page 23) – unless there is a notable unique selling point of an association, having too many in one market might surely become confusing for members of the industry and public.

A cohesive national approach to associations must be best, but in reality, few markets can now claim to have just one association representing quality interests. Feltom in Malta is one, while New Zealand has Education New Zealand representing all export education interests - although there is also English New Zealand, for certain quality, agent-friendly ELT providers.

Education New Zealand has long shown innovation and dynamism in raising NZ's profile as a study destination and its fam trips (page 10) and visa policy review (page 27) are just two more examples of its joined-up thinking.

All together now

IEAI in Ireland to rival MEI~Relsa
Irish amend work rule
New Spanish school association
New websites launched in the UK and NZ

Funding for primary-level languages in UK
Global Village expands its group

Travel News
Chile's LAN on the ascendancy
Key carriers showing better fortunes
United's Asia operations increase
Lufthansa to take over Swiss

Agency News
New Zealand rolls out agent visits
More changes for IDP in Australia

Agency Survey
Thai market steady
Agents taking part in this year's Agency survey on Thailand reported a slow year in 2004, although predictions for the future remain hopeful due to continued interest from students in study abroad programmes.

Spain feedback
Low-cost airlines and more students learning Spanish for pleasure only have influenced the Spanish language teaching market, according to this issue's Feedback survey, with nationality trends altering quite significantly.

Course Guide
Home tuition in the UK

Language learning in a teacher's own home can have a number of advantages over classroom-based courses, not least because of the intensive nature of such programmes.

Workshops in May
We provide a guide to some of the workshops on offer for agents this month, including the Alphe workshops in Miami, USA and Vancouver, Canada; the Ialc workshop in Paris; and the Italian in Italy workshop in Rome.

US business
Business English courses offered in the USA can cover a whole range of different subjects and they generally focus on the needs of one individual student or very small groups.

Ireland 2004
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.