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May 2009 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
City Focus
Status

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Italy struggles

Some schools in Italy are upbeat while others foresee a battle to maintain business this year, particularly as Italian language students are increasingly booking shorter courses. A positive visa issuance policy across the board would help, as Amy Baker discovers.

There is a mix of emotions in Italy concerning the outlook for 2009 – some providers are hopeful, while others testify to weakening demand. For example, Lorenzo Capanni from Academia del Giglio in Florence is not expecting a great year. He observes, “Apparently, potential students from all over the world seem to have less time and less money to spend abroad and those who can still afford a course in Italy are not normally in the position to stay for long periods in our country, mainly because of job reasons.”

He says short, intensive and private one-to-one courses have not suffered but all other types of enrolments are definitely on the decline at his school.

With Italian having always been a language pursued by those with a passion for the country and culture as much as those with an academic or vocational bent, it is not surprising that some “fair weather” purchases may evaporate in a climate when spending power is carefully considered. Capanni concedes, “There are definitely less students who learn Italian for pleasure,” noting that most of his students this year have been those who “need to learn Italian for their studies and their career”.

However, at other institutions, the mood is more positive. At ALCE – Study Italian in Italy, based in Bologna, Luca Armaroli reports, “2008 was an excellent year and… in 2009, we have the same trend and good expectations for March to September.”
Armaroli does acknowledge, however, that the school’s situation in Bologna, an old university city, may help. “Bologna has the oldest university in Europe; many students, above all, from new European Union countries, are attracted by the acceptable costs of our university degrees,” he says.

Nevertheless, top nationalities at ALCE are German, Brazilian, Spanish and American, reflecting a broader recruitment pool. A very wide range of student nationalities attends the school in lesser numbers, with Romanian, Ukrainian, Czech, Polish, Estonian, Kazakhstani and Hungarian all representing Eastern Europe as well as China, Russia, Sweden, Israel, Mexico and Finland among other source countries.

At Scuola Palazza Malvisi, also in Florence, a wide range of nationalities is also present, including Swiss, German, British, American, Israeli and Kazakhstani. At this school, the mood is also more sombre as the school’s Director, Cesare Portolani, laments the loss of the business clients. “The number of students for 2008 has been quite satisfying, but I cannot expect that this year it could be a good year,” he muses. “At the moment, all the clients sent by the companies [are missing].”

In times of crises, it is normal to congregate to resolve a problem and many schools are looking to an industry group to alleviate problems. “Our school is a member of Eduitalia,” says Capanni. “Its aim is also to appeal to the Italian government and embassies for finding a solution to the student visa problem. Let’s cross our fingers!”

Visa probems are a recurrent headache, with many student visas, particularly from smaller markets, being refused outright, according to language schools. Capanni relates, “We have student visa problems with many countries, practically all countries which are not part of Western Europe or North America. In Asia, maybe only Japanese students have few difficulties.”

At Omnilingua in Sanremo, Daniel Pietzner – who is hopeful that enrolments will remain on an even keel – also relates that visa issuance is a problem in South America, while Armaroli cites frequent visa refusals in Russia. Capanni is not hopeful for a turn in fortune just yet: “I would bet that it is not even on the main agenda of the present government,” he says, “if you also consider the more serious hardships that our country is incurring at the moment.”



Asils takes action

One of the most established industry associations in Italy is Asils, the Associazione Scuole di Italiano come Lingua Seconda. Having usually undertaken lobbying activities on behalf of its 35-plus members, Matteo Savini, Secretary of the association, explains to Language Travel Magazine that the association is taking a new direction in light of the current challenges it faces.

“Asils will, for the first time, act as a marketing [strategist] and not only as a lobbyist,” he reports, underlining that Asils will attempt to brand itself nationally and internationally as the quality gateway to Italian language teaching opportunities.

“We will empower our website and organise public events in order to promote the brand,” he explains. “We will try to inform the market as much as possible that Asils means quality, and all agents/private customers should know where they’re going, and the many advantages of choosing one of our centres,” he states.

Savini adds a refrain that has been repeated before: “We will try as much as possible to be recognised [as a sector] officially by our government.”

A lack of government understanding about the value of the sector is one hurdle, while the other is economic conditions that are thwarting growth. “The crisis affects our clients economically and psychologically,” laments Savini.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Britannia Student
      Services  
Global Immersions
      Inc
NYC Language
      Vacations  
Sara's New York
      Homestay LLC  
Unite  

ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
Feltom Malta  
English UK  
Perth Education
      City  
Quality English  

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences
LTM Star Awards

EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol
IELTS

SERVICES
Hub and Spoke
      Connections Limited
Internet Advantage
In Touch  
Synergee  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

ARGENTINA
Ecela -
      Latin Immersion  

AUSTRALIA
Ability Education  
Language Studies
      International  
      (Canada, France,
      Germany, New
      Zealand, Paris, UK,
      USA)
Pacific Gateway
      International
      College  
Perth Education
      City  
University of New
      South Wales,
      Institute of
      Languages  
University of
      Tasmania  
University of
      Western Sydney
      College  
Wollongong
      University College  

BRAZIL
It´s Cool Idiomas &
      Cursos no Exterior  

CANADA
Global Village  
      (Australia, Canada,
      USA)

CHINA
Mandarin House  

ENGLAND
Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
Bloomsbury
      International  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
      Hove  
English Studio  
English UK  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      Leisure  
      (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,
      USA)
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, UK)
University of Essex -
      International
      Academy  
Wimbledon School
      of English  

FRANCE
SILC - Séjours
      Linguistiques  

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

IRELAND
Alpha College of
      English  

ITALY
DILIT -
      International House

JAPAN
Kai Japanese
      Language School  
Tamagawa
      International
      Language School  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Feltom Malta  
Linguatime  

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

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

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