Contents - May 2006

Special Report
Golden opportunities
In many countries where the standard of living is relatively high, there exists an affluent target audience hungry for a truly cultural experience such as language travel. These are seniors, aged from 50 years and above, many of whom now have the time and money to explore unknown countries and the desire to learn new skills for pleasure. Gillian Evans reports.

Start-up schools
A dedicated teacher/manager in the industry decides to go it alone and set up a private school teaching a language to foreigners. How difficult is it to become an established and successful language school operation? Amy Baker investigates.

Australia's warm welcome
Students have study options all around Australia, each of which promises access to lively activities and beach life. Jane Vernon Smith reports.


Adapting to change

I remember when the harmless little TV remote control first appeared in our lives, and social commentators recoiled in horror, heralding the birth of the couch potato and the end of exercise as we knew it from the sofa to the television. I also recall attending a speech in 1991 or 1992 that foretold that libraries as we knew them – musty, learned smells and well-thumbed books that have passed through many homes – would not exist in 10 years as the Internet changed the face of reading and our relationship with the written word.

Of course, these scenarios did not occur and the world did not become an alien place with the advent of these technologies. Sure, in the UK at least, changing the TV channel without leaving your seat is a given, but the remote control did not create a pandemic of apathy. Likewise, the Internet is becoming commonplace in most homes in the UK but it has been accommodated into our lives without changing them beyond recognition. We send emails, not letters, and go to the gym. But the desire to communicate/be fit remains unchanged.

The fundamental reason for learning any language is to foster communication with others and for this reason, I don't believe that the language travel industry will expire, although it will adapt to changing circumstances. Recent research into the English language teaching (ELT) industry predicts that the number of learners of English will hit a high point and then slowly decline, which indeed is likely (page 6). But while future generations will consider the ability to speak English a basic skill, they will still desire the opportunity to practice their skills in native English speaking countries, which will fuel our industry. However, it is possible that elementary level evolves into remedial level!

The predicted growth in demand for third age language programmes, aimed at older learners, also underlines that given the opportunity, broadening experience through travel and language learning is a desired activity for many, to enable interaction with others. In Japan, a desire to experience the lifestyle of local people overseas has been a noted trend among mature travellers (pages 24-28).

Reasons to learn a language are rooted in aims of personal interaction, for business or leisure reasons. As long as we desire to interact with the world, then experiential learning will, in its many guises, evolve and flourish, be it through internships (page 31), vocational training (page 48) or targeted language programmes.

Adapting to change

Radical change to UK visa system
Salisbury School bought out in UK
Language Travel Magazine to launch industry awards
NZ's efforts for students
ELT but not as we know it

Travel News
UK eases visa rules in Eastern Europe
OzJet fails in Australia
Delta increases air links with Europe

Agency News
New Zealand hosts education agents again
QE busy meeting agents in-country

Agency Survey
's slow incline
The demand for language travel experiences among French students is growing, according to the French agents who took part in our survey, who are offering a greater diversity of programmes and forecasting future expansion.

Feedback Spain
Some of the trends noted in last year's Feedback survey of Spain have continued, with many students studying Spanish for pleasure.

Course Guide
US/UK internships
Internship programmes, with or without language tuition, are a growing sector of the student travel market. Students are attracted by the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the job market while also improving language skills.

Business courses in Malta
Business language programmes in Malta offer a highly targeted course content but at the same time, schools are keen to enable executives to unwind outside of lessons. We provide a guide to some of the programmes available.

City Focus
Mega Toronto
A delectable mix of modern urban living, outdoor activities, mouth-watering international cuisine and flamboyant multicultural festivals; Toronto has much to offer language travellers. Gillian Evans takes a look.

Ireland 2005
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. For the first time, it is possible to compare world market statistics.