May 2009 issue

Agency News
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English UK North working with Ialca in Italy

The Italian Association of Language Consultants and Agents (Ialca) organised a one-day workshop in Italy last year for eight members of the UK language school sub-group, English UK North. The event attracted 36 Italian agents and education consultants and was so successful that the event was followed up with a fam trip for Ialca members to visit the north of England in March, organised by English UK North, which saw agents visit the cities of Chester, Manchester, Harrogate, York and Newcastle.

Richard Day from English in Chester in the UK said that the workshop in Padua consisted of a presentation followed by a workshop with individual meetings between agents and schools. “I personally liked the scale of the event,” he said. “It is nice to take part in smaller events, where you can mix business with pleasure and have a little more time to talk to everyone. It was also nice to be in such a lovely city. From our point of view, it is a very cost-effective way to meet a lot of agents.” 

Pina Foti, President of Ialca, said that members valued such collaboration. “The is confirmation of the contribution our association makes to improving the quality of service its members can offer their clients,” she said, “through a better understanding of the [educational] services offered by quality course providers.”

Celine Cameron of Manchester Academy of English commented, “What I realised is that very few agents have in fact visited the north of England over the last five years and were not fully aware of the modern infrastructure.” She added, “Without the strength of English UK North it would have been probably impossible to reach this selected audience who actually chose to be there and therefore had a real interest in the North of England.” 

Meanwhile, English UK North has launched a new website to promote its membership, which is at www.englishuknorth.com.

Cactus launches own-brand coursebooks

UK-based language training agency, Cactus, which sends clients overseas, offers training in-country and provides TEFL training and job placement, has branched out once again with the development of its own Spanish study coursebooks.

The Cactus-branded books help learners express themselves through practical and cultural examples, said Chris Moore, Head of Cactus Language Training, and increase understanding of the language through listening exercises on the accompanying CD.

The language learning books have been developed with Madrid-based publisher, SM/ELE, written by Virgilio Borobio and designed to reflect the syllabus of Cactus’ Beginners and Beginners Plus Spanish courses.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our language services, and following customer feedback, we saw a need to develop a range of books to suit our Spanish evening courses,” said Moore. 

In memory of Pierre Semidei

Pierre Semidei, Founder of the ESO Group (Euro-Schulen-Organisation), which included did deutsch institut in Germany, passed away in March this year at the age of 68. Mr Semidei was a pioneer in the language travel industry, founding his company in Germany in 1966.

His enterprise flourished to the point today where it includes 100 educational institutions (including did deutsch-institut), 85 vocational schools, four private universities, an active study abroad agency, a translating and publishing company.

He was a true entrepreneur with a visionary spirit and will be fondly remembered by many. His son, Patrick Semidei, is Managing Director of language school chain, did. He said his father’s work would be continued by his family; “[which] was always very important for him”.

Agency of the month

In a series appearing each month in Language Travel Magazine, we ask a different language teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.

This month, d’Overbroeck’s College, Oxford, UK, nominates Educom based in Switzerland. Helen Wood, Director of Studies, explains this decision.

 “I am delighted to nominate Carol Panchaud who runs the Educom agency based in Switzerland. Carol makes sure she fully understands the ethos and the strengths of our courses and environment and how we differ from more traditional, British independent schools.

Thanks to this knowledge, her personalised approach and her incredibly well organised consultation events, students who apply to us are those who are genuinely most likely to benefit linguistically, culturally and academically from studying with us – and because they are on the right course, they are able to get a huge sense of achievement from their success. Whatever course they are on (summer English, our pre-A level or our A level programmes) students who are happy and successful are the best possible form of marketing for us!

Carol takes the time to make sure she is well informed and follows up with us and the students to review how things went. She is a pleasure to work with and we respect her advice and support.”

Industry issues - agents speak out

Q. Are you witnessing a growth in mature clients?

May Maduka, Goldenway Educational Services, Nigeria
“I recruit both young and old clients. Older clients do not absorb culture shock in the same way as younger clients. My older clients like to study in the UK and Ireland.”

Claudio Cesarano, globo-study, Switzerland
“We are definitely experiencing a growth in older clients and even more so since we produced our brochure especially for people over 50. We promoted just one destination with a few starting dates in 2005. In 2006 we had doubled our clients and that is when we decided to produce a whole new type of brochure, packaging special programmes for this age group. This has made us popular with this age group. Targeting them and how to name the product are the most difficult issues. Having a brochure and a very enthusiastic word-of-mouth propaganda are the reasons why we are getting more and more older clients. The average age is over 60! We have had students over 80; our oldest student was a 86-year-old woman. The most successful language is English. The combination of a good mix of diffrent types of students at the school, an interesting and active social programme and a very good quality homestay are the mix they are looking for!”

Daniela Maccolini, Coming, Italy
“I have noticed a small growth in older clients, not significant, but nevertheless there are more requests and interest in courses abroad, both for general and specialised ones. Every school offers an extended range of courses and this creates a circle: the more the schools offer, the more the clients are interested. I have had clients [interested in] sports, pottery, law, arts and the mountains [in addition to language]. My oldest client was 71 and went to the UK to enjoy the gardens. The advent of low cost flights offers the opportunity to go abroad. And then people feel a necessity to improve their languages: English, Spanish, German and Chinese to name a few.”

James Herbertson, Answer English, UK
“There is certainly an increase in enquiries. These can fit into a range of profiles: mini-groups of mature ladies on educational holidays and more recently, adults who were maybe made redundant or feel like a lifestyle change. There is also a growth I notice in ‘second holidays’. Typically these clients require more independence and may require accommodation in a studio for six months.”

On the move

 Twin Group in the UK is delighted to announce that Nick Tellwright has joined the company as Chairman. He will be working closely with Caroline and Jacqui Fox to facilitate and drive plans for the future of the group. Mr Tellwright, previously Global Director of Embassy CES and Group Marketing Director of Study Group, has also been appointed Governor to the Board at the Bell Educational Trust, along with two other new governors.

 David O’Grady is the new CEO of Marketing English in Ireland (MEI). He takes over from Adrian Cummins. Mr O’Grady has been in the ELT business since 1981. First as a teacher at English Language Institute, then as owner/director of his own school: Academy of English Studies Ireland, Dublin and from 2007 he was an examiner with Test of Interactive English (TIE).

 Blair Byfield has joined Bell in the newly created role of Head of Language Travel Sales. Mr Byfield will lead the team of Market Development Managers to strengthen and develop partnerships with agents worldwide. He has extensive experience of EFL and was previously the Sales and Marketing Manager for Basil Paterson College, part of the OISE Group.

   ICEF is pleased to announce the appointment of John Pritchard (left) as Business Development Manager. Mr Pritchard comes to ICEF after 20 years in the insurance industry, most recently at leading international insurance provider, InterGlobal. He will be based in Surrey, UK. Korinne Algie (centre) joins the company as Marketing & Communications Manager, after a number of years in the export education industry in New Zealand. Ms Algie has also worked for a Japanese agency, Oceania Koryu Centre. She is based at the ICEF head office in Bonn. And Bogumila Lapinski Anaya is ICEF’s new Canadian Manager, based out of Toronto. She previously worked at Sheridan College, Oakville, ON, where she was promoted to International Marketing and Recruitment Manager.

 Annaëlle Moothoo is the new Director of Studies at Cape Studies in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a dedicated teacher who worked at Cape Studies for two years before being promoted.

Sector summary

Opulent backpackers sign up here

For students travelling around before or after a language travel trip, a revamped website is at hand to help them plan their travels: www.luxurybackpackers.com, an independent travel specialist for travellers with slightly above budget expectations.

According to Company Director, Jill Nash, backpacking no longer has to be about finding the cheapest and most convenient place to stay and she notes that “luxury” doesn’t necessarily mean expensive.

The website, which aims to change the way in which travellers plan their trip abroad, includes a comprehensive search engine – the ‘travel inspirator’ – which puts hundreds of adventures at browsers’ fingertips, a ‘travel lounge’ where backpackers can chat to fellow travellers and an ‘E-boutique’ where one can purchase the latest backpacking clobber. “These new added web features will help independent travellers do as much of the necessary planning, research and preparation as possible, before taking the trip away – be it a weekend in Europe or a six month adventure of lifetime,” said Nash.

The company has also published several guidebooks including Global Adventures in Style, which offers different options for travelling experiences including those aimed at the action hero, the nature and wildlife lover, the culture vulture, the beach bum and the city slicker.

New service enables language learning on a mobile phone

Voxbone, a company that specialises in voice communication over the Internet and provides access to local phone numbers and toll-free numbers around the world, has teamed up with Learnosity – an educational technology company – to connect language students with teachers and fellow language learners worldwide.

For the cost of a local phone call, language students will be able to dial in on a Voxbone number, enter a student ID and communicate with students of their subject language and visa versa. Teachers listening in via a web interface will then be able to assess and grade students’ oral and aural capabilities.

Gavin Cooney, Learnosity’s CEO, said that the mobile phone was a logical choice for such an application. “We can’t provide every student in a country with a laptop, broadband connection and headsets, but we can easily put a phone in the hands of every student. In fact, they already have one in most cases,” he said.

As well as voiced-based assessments, Learnosity also offers an on-screen evaluation and learning service that delivers practice exams to students. Its services have already been used in governmental projects in Ireland and Australia. Cooney said that by using one telephone company, it can now offer its product in 46 countries, “including markets that we never would have dreamed of approaching so soon, such as Pakistan, South and Central America and Eastern Europe.”

Accommodation upgrade at IH Qingdao

Language students studying at International House Qingdao in China will soon benefit from newly renovated single, double or triple-sized rooms.

The school, based in the Shandong region of China, recently acquired the other half of the campus building where it is based and has renovated it to boost teaching and accommodation facilities. It now boasts 64 rooms, increasing its accommodation capacity by 50 per cent.

“With our rich and strong Mandarin and English teaching resources, comfortable on-site ac-commodation and on-site canteen, which serves various delicious cuisine from all over China, we welcome our friends to the most beautiful coastal city in China,” said Monica Wang, at the school.

During peak season, students pay RMB156 (US$23) for a single room with ensuite facilities and RMB48 (US$7) for a triple room with a shared bathroom.

Cambridge FCE to be launched in Brittany, France

Cambridge ESOL has been selected by the regional government in Brittany, France, to provide language certification in all of its state schools.

The First Certificate in English (FCE) will primarily target students in their final or “terminale” year of secondary school education and 1,000 students are expected to sit the exam this year.

The move stems from a project instigated by the French Ministry of Education last year that saw the Cambridge English Certificate (CEC), made available to all French high school students at the B1 (intermediate) level of the Council of Europe’s framework. The exam successfully tested 18,500 16-year-olds and test-takers are expected to grow to 23,000 in 2009.

Anthony Harvey, Cambridge ESOL’s Country Manager for France, said that using the FCE in Brittany showed real foresight where language advancement is concerned. “This is very positive because it gives young people an internationally-recognised qualification which favours mobility, should they wish to go abroad to study, and also, later, it enables them to work in other countries.”

Cambridge ESOL said the French government was the latest in a long line of national and regional governments to have adopted its exam qualifications.


Michelle Alvarez, President of UCIEP, answers our questions about the operating environment in the USA and advocacy efforts made to government.

Full name: Consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs
Year established: 1967
Number of members: 65
Type of members: Intensive English language providers at colleges and universities in the USA
Association’s main role: political advocacy, professional development and joint marketing
Government recognition: yes
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: no
Contact details:
UCIEP Central Office
c/o Language Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
151 6th St. NW
O’Keefe Building South Wing
Atlanta, GA 30332-0374, USA,
E-mail: info@uciep.org

What did UCIEP achieve in 2008 for its members?
UCIEP together with the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP) and other professional organisations worked hard on advocating for the Coleman Action Bill, which would require all English language programmes in the USA to be accredited. In September 2008, these advocacy efforts were visible when the US Senate approved the English language programme accreditation bill. Although it passed the US Senate it was not voted on in the House of Representatives. As a result, this bill did not become law in 2008.

How do you believe Obama’s election will impact on the international education industry in the USA?
UCIEP members have discussed the possible effects of President Obama’s proposed policies that would make it easier for international students to study in the United States. One of these effects is improved international cooperation. It is hoped that this [new attitude from the new government] will make international students decide to study in the United States, hence increasing the numbers of international students in the country.

Does UCIEP have any specific agendas for 2009, and please explain why?
UCIEP continues to take an active role in advocating for international students. Some of UCIEP’s current efforts include: becoming more active on our own campuses by communicating with our legislative liaisons; continuing to collaborate with other organisations with similar missions and views (AAIEP and Nafsa) to develop position statements on matters pertinent to our field; and finally, advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 3658 requiring the accreditation of English language training programmes.

What are your expectations for market performance among UCIEP members for the year ahead?
Market performance currently varies among the UCIEP programmes. UCIEP members are carefully monitoring the world economic situation in an effort to predict the impact that the current global economy may have on enrollment later this year. It is hoped that the IEP enrollment numbers will remain consistent or increase.

Travel Update

• The Indonesian and Australian governments have agreed to a new reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangement that will enable university-educated students – aged between 18 and 30 years – to travel and work in each other’s country. Available from July this year, the scheme will differ from other holiday visas in that applicants will have to have the support of their respective governments, possess or be studying towards tertiary qualifications and be proficient in English or Indonesian. The visa will be limited to just 100 applicants per year.

• A five-year campaign to prevent the expansion of London’s Stansted Airport in the UK has been overturned by the High Court. The Stop Stansted Expansion (SEE) group had petitioned against a proposed second runway since plans were outlined in December 2003. Nick Barton, Commercial and Development Director at the airport, said the decision was good news for those who worked at the airport and for the hundreds of businesses that relied upon it. “The decision secures our future and ensures we can continue investing in the airport to deliver sustainable improvements... through modern facilities and better service standards,” he said. The project will see the airport handling 35 million passengers per year, an increase of 10 per cent.

Icelandair is launching a new route from London to Seattle via Reykjavik in July, in cooperation with Alaska Airlines, that will enable onward connections to many cities in western USA and Canada.

• According to the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), the economic crisis is impacting on visitor numbers. Overnight stays in Germany are expected to fall by two per cent this year, a marked decrease on the 2.1 per cent growth in visitor numbers last year. “The global economic crisis has reached international tourism,” said Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive at GNTB, forecasting a trend for “shorter, closer and cheaper” trips. However, growing interest from Dutch, Danish and Polish tourists is helping to offset the lack of American, British and Spanish tourists in Germany this year.

Taiwan is attempting to lure more tourists to the country by encouraging five-star hotels to offer one night of accommodation for just US$1 in May.

Asian airports represented four out of five airports voted best by 200,000 passengers in 126 airports. Airports Council International indicated that Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong and Nagoya were joined by Halifax in Canada in the top five.

• A new generation of scanners could see the restriction on liquids in hand luggage lifted in the UK within 12 months. The Department for Transport security executive, Transec, has been working alongside analysts to create a technology that can distinguish between benign and potentially harmful liquids. A spokesperson said, “Current indications are that some technology could be available, for deployment on a limited trial basis, at some European Union (EU) airports in 2010.” The 100-millilitre restriction was introduced in the aftermath of an alleged bomb plot that sought to blow-up transatlantic airliners in August 2006. The newly developed scanner will be trialled at a number of airports next year.

Qatar Airways, the flag carrier airline of Qatar, has announced plans to expand international operations. Flights to Sydney and Melbourne are set to commence later this year, as are services to Goa and Amritsar in India. “Qatar Airways’ robust expansion is continuing undeterred by the current economic climate,” commented Qatar Chief Executive Officer, Akbar al Baker. The carrier also intends to increase its European presence as well as services to Asia and Australasia by launching two more European routes.


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Britannia Student
Global Immersions
NYC Language
Sara's New York
      Homestay LLC  

Feltom Malta  
English UK  
Perth Education
Quality English  

Alphe Conferences
LTM Star Awards

Cambridge Esol

Hub and Spoke
      Connections Limited
Internet Advantage
In Touch  

Malta Tourism

Ecela -
      Latin Immersion  

Ability Education  
Language Studies
      (Canada, France,
      Germany, New
      Zealand, Paris, UK,
Pacific Gateway
Perth Education
University of New
      South Wales,
      Institute of
University of
University of
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      University College  

It´s Cool Idiomas &
      Cursos no Exterior  

Global Village  
      (Australia, Canada,

Mandarin House  

Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
English Studio  
English UK  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
Malvern House
      College London  
Prime Education  
St Giles Colleges  
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, UK)
University of Essex -
Wimbledon School
      of English  

SILC - Séjours

BWS Germanlingua  
Carl Duisberg
      Medien GmbH  
      (England, Germany)
ECS & Euro-
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Alpha College of

      International House

Kai Japanese
      Language School  
      Language School  

      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Feltom Malta  

Colegio Maravillas
inlingua Barcelona
International House -
      Dept de Espanol  
International House
      San Sebastian -
International House
      Sevilla - CLIC  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga Si  
Tandem Escuela
      Internacional Madrid

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Singapore,
      South Africa, Spain,
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain, USA)

ELS Language
Global Immersions
NYC Language
Sara's New York
      Homestay LLC  
University of
      California San
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)