An agency's worth
There are many articles in this issue that point to the overall development of our industry and the role that language teaching plays within the context of the wider international education industry. For example, we discover that 37 per cent of total business across our sample of Taiwanese agencies is placing clients directly into higher education overseas a direct follow-on from language placement. And in fact, agencies estimated that 30 per cent of their language learning clientele were studying to facilitate further learning overseas (pages 14-15).
Language learning is not always about further plans of course an equal 30 per cent of Taiwanese clients were estimated to be learning a language for pleasure but aside from business and pleasure, onward learning is a big motivator for agency clients. In Germany, an important generator of business is the low university tuition fees in the country, which lead to bookings for appropriate language courses (page 35).
In Australia, while the English language teaching sector has seen a good rise in student visa issuance, student visas for all education sectors were up in 2006, indicating an across-the-board rise in interest in education opportunities in the country (page 6). And in Canada, state secondary schools and private teaching institutions point to increasing demand for high school education from international students as helping to improve and evolve the programmes available (page 51).
Global migration for all types of education services is on the up but the imperative in international placement is, of course, to ensure that students are adequately counselled to know what to expect. A recent study in Germany concluded that unprepared students may be quitting degree programmes early because they are losing time due to cultural disorientation (pages 26-30). And agencies that provide a well established orientation service testify that they have fewer clients leaving their programmes since such pre-departure sessions which can include psychological profiling have been offered (page 52).
This is where agencies can really make their mark in the field and stand out from online agencies that simply facilitate the booking process. The better prepared, and better placed, an agency client is, the greater the liklihood that their experience overseas will be a success, leading to more word-of-mouth bookings for the agency and helping to boost the potential for growth at their partner institutions, and in international education in general.