|Korea’s outgoing student market still appears to be suffering as a result of the economic climate and advisors are cautious about predicting future growth. Students appear to be focusing on core programmes, such as intensive English, rather than branching into other sectors.
|• The total number of student weeks placed by the seven agencies in our survey was 239,522
• Average business growth was 8.6 per cent
• The average length of stay for Korean students was 21 weeks
• Two agencies charged clients a handling fee
• The USA remained the most popular destination for Korean students
• In the last 12 months, agencies had worked with an average of 48 language schools
• Language school placements accounted for an average of 81 per cent of business, and higher education; 13 per cent
• Intensive language courses remained the most popular among the Korean agency clientele
||Most popular courses
|1. USA 32%%
2. Canada 20%
3. Philippines 15%
4. UK 10%
4. Japan 10%
6. Australia 8%
7. New Zealand 4%
||1. Intensive (+25hrs) 57%
2. General 20%
3. Academic/exam prep. 9%%
4. Language & work experience 4%
5. Summer 3%
5. Business 3%
7. University foundation 2%
8. Junior 1%
|Reasons for language travel
||Average percentage agency business
|1. Studies overseas 41%
2. Future work 35.5%
3. Current work 9%
4. Studies at home 5%
5. Pleasure 3.5%
||1. Language programmes 81%
2. Higher education 13%
3. Work & travel 4%
4. Internships 2%
6. Work & travel 3%
|How do agencies recruit students?
||How do agencies find new business partners?
|1. Website 39%
2. Word-of-mouth 27%
3. Seminars to students 9%
4. E/online marketing 9%
4. Advertising in press 5%
||1. Internet 32%
1. Fairs and expos 32%
3. Workshops 18%
4. LTM/ETM 10%
5. Other press 2%
|Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 43%
Languages Canada 57%
Groupement FLE 0%
Italian in Italy 0%
English NZ 28%
English UK 85%
British Council 85%
Quality English 57%
Despite positive predictions by Korean student advisors last year that the market would grow in 2010, only two of the seven advisors who took part in this year’s Advisor Survey posted an increase in their business of 10 per cent each. Otherwise, four advisors posted a decrease in business of 20 per cent each and one revealed that business had remained the same during 2010. The overall average business change for 2010 was a decrease of 8.6 per cent, a more disappointing result than last year when business growth was at 3.3 per cent (see LTM, July 2010, page 32).
Language and destination trends
The UK fell considerably among the most favourable study destinations for Korean students attracting 23 per cent of the market in 2009 and just 10 per cent in 2010 perhaps reflecting a change towards closer destinations due to the economic climate. The Philippines and Japan were surprise entrants into the list of favoured destinations, attracting 15 per cent and 10 per cent respective share. What was noticeably absent in our survey this year was the lack of non-English speaking destinations in the list of favourites. Last year Germany attracted 10 per cent of the market and this year this country attracted almost negligible numbers of Korean students. English was chosen by 86 per cent of clients, with Japanese in second place attracting 13 per cent of advisor’s clients.
Student and course trends
The largest group of students found their agency via the Internet (39 per cent), although word-of-mouth was still important and resulted in 27 per cent of new student business. The main motivation behind studying overseas was for future studies overseas (41 per cent) and future work purposes (35.5 per cent), a slight change from our previous survey. Intensive language courses were very much favoured by Korean students this year (57 per cent) perhaps as students and parents are anxious to get the best value for money as general language programmes decreased in popularity for students from 33 per cent to 20 per cent.
The number of Korean students opting to study in higher education programmes overseas has been decreasing steadily over the last few years. In 2008, the percentage of students choosing to study in higher education was 27 per cent, while in 2009 this figure decreased to 19 per cent and in 2010 to 13 per cent. In contrast, the percentage of students taking language programmes increased dramatically, from 46 per cent to 81 per cent this year. This perhaps also reflects the difficult economic conditions faced by Korean students as university programmes that last potentially three-to-four years become too expensive. Korean agencies sourced most of their new business partners from the Internet (32 per cent).
Most advisors who took part in our survey predicted that business would remain the same over the coming 12 months. One agency predicted that they would continue to expand but difficult market conditions could see other agencies suffer and possibly close.
• With the global economic downturn in late 2008, South Korean GDP growth slowed to 0.2 per cent in 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, the economy began to recover, in large part due to export growth, low interest rates, and an expansionary fiscal policy, and growth exceeded six per cent in 2010.
• Long-term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labour market, and overdependence on manufacturing exports to drive economic growth.
• Foreign investment banks see little short-term impact from March’s earthquake in Japan on the Korean economy but they are concerned over its longer-term impact as the disaster could eventually hurt the nation’s export market.
Source: Yonhap News; CIA Factbook
Korean agencies named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Impact English College, Melbourne, VIC; Sydney English Language Centre, Sydney, NSW. In Canada: ILAC, Vancouver, BC; In Ireland: CES, Dublin. In the USA: ELS, various; Rennert Bilingual, New York, NY; Zoni, New York, NY. In the UK: British Study centre, various; Kings College, various; London School of English, London; Malvern House, London; Skola, London; St Giles, London; Wimbledon School of English, London. International: EC, Embassy CES, Eurocentres, Kaplan.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Eduexpress Centre, HanShin Consulting/Edulink, J&C Cultural Exchange, To be Londoner, Uhak.com, Ukuhak.com, World Overseas Education Center.