May 2005 issue

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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.

Spain feedback at a glance
Total number of students: female 158, male 66 (Unknown 5) 229

Average age in years: 26.3

Average length of programme in weeks: 12

Average number of students in class: 7

Average number of hours language tuition per week: 21

% of students who found their course through an agent: 24

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 44

% of students who had been on another lang. programme: 39

% of students who would recommend their school: 97

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (9%)
W Europe (61%)
E Europe (11%)
South America (3.5%)
North America (10.5%)
Australasia (1%)
Unknown (3%)
1. Swedish (16%)
2. Dutch (13.5%)
3. German (10%)
4. American (8%)
5. Russian (8%)
6. British (6%)
7. Japanese (6%)
8. Brazilian (3.5%)
9. French (3.5%)

In my class there are... How will you use your Spanish in the future?
Too many students (9%)
Too many students who speak my language (17%)
Too many students from one other country (7%)
None of these (67%)
For university study in the Spain (7%)
For university study in another country (2%)
For university studies at home (23%)
For current or future work (40%)
For pleasure only (28%)

How did you find your programme? Standard of your social programme
I found it on the internet (33%)
Recommended by a friend/relative (26%)
Recommended by an agent (28%)
I saw it advertised (5%)
Unknown (3%)
Excellent (29%)
Good (47%)
Satisfactory (14%)
Unsatisfactory (3%)
Poor (1%)
Unknown (6%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of the teaching
Excellent (45%)
Good (47%)
Satisfactory (6%)
Unknown (2%)
Excellent (74%)
Good (25%)
Satisfactory (1%)

Standard of your accommodation What is your accommodation while in Spain?
Excellent (31%)
Good (32%)
Satisfactory (15%)
Unsatisfactory (5%)
Poor (2%)
Unknown (15%)
Host family (35%)
Residential/single room (23%)
Residential/dormitory (25%)
Other (17%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (86%)
No (11%)
Unknown (3%)

Yes (64%)
No (32%)
Unknown (4%)

Yes (34%)
No (32%)
Unknown (6%)

Student profile
The top student nationalities are completely different in this year's survey of students studying Spanish in Spain when compared with the results of our previous survey (see Language Travel Magazine, May 2004, page 14), although a greater range of schools took part this year, which may go some way to explaining this. Americans, Germans and Swiss no longer occupy the top three positions, as, this year, Swedish and Dutch students took over the top two positions, followed by Germans and Americans. The range of nationalities represented this year was more diverse, with more Eastern European students in attendance overall. Student ages ranged from 17 to 75 but the typical age stood at 26.3 years, just slightly over last year's average of 25.3 years.

Student motivation and satisfaction
The student landscape in Spain seems to have changed in more ways than one, because typical reasons given for studying Spanish have also shifted, with many more students (28 per cent) indicating that they are learning Spanish for pleasure only. When asked for specific reasons why they had chosen their school, students also gave some interesting responses. A number of students mentioned the attractive location of their school, while others cited the convenient or full timetable of lessons or a school's quick responses to their questions and helpfulness with their enquiries. Most students seemed highly satisfied with their school, with 97 per cent indicating that they would recommend it to others and an overwhelming 99 per cent of students rating their teachers as excellent or good. Three quarters said the same of their social programme, and 92 per cent thought the same of their academic programme.

Student enrolment
The proportion of students booking their course through an agency rose above last year's figure of 35 per cent to 44 per cent, although fewer students primarily found their course through an agency – just 24 per cent, down five percentage points from 29 per cent last year. The Internet remained the most popular way of finding out about a programme, with one-third of students using this research tool. Before booking, 60 per cent of students said they had no clear idea about which school they wanted to study in, but just 32 per cent said they had not decided on the city – 64 per cent (four per cent did not answer) indicated they had a preferred city/regional destination. Just 17 per cent of student respondents said there were too many students of their nationality in their classrooms – most of whom were Dutch, Russian and Swedish.

Access to and living in Spain
A large number of students travelled to Spain via a low-cost air carrier (40 per cent), which underlines the abundance of cheaper air options into Spain on offer for Western Europeans, who represented nearly all the students in this category. Forty-eight per cent of those students indicating that they were learning the language for pleasure indicated that they used a low-cost carrier. Spain still represents relatively good value for money, as 40 per cent of respondents said the cost of living was about the same as home, and a further 45 per cent said that Spain was cheaper than in their own country.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey:
Abaco Instituto, Murcia; Babel Idioma y Cultura, Malaga; Bonanova Academia de Idiomas, Malaga; Colegio Delibes, Salamanca; Colegio Internacional, Alicante; Colegio Maravillas, Malaga; Don Quijote, various; Enforex, Madrid; Escuela Cervantes Internacional, Malaga; Escuela Hispalense, Tarifa; Estudio Internacional Sampere, various; Escuela Montalban, Granada; Instituto Mediterráneo Sol, Granada; K2 Internacional, Cadiz; Liceo Internacional Agarimo, La Coruña; Malaca Instituto, Malaga; Malaga Si, Malaga.
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