May 2011 issue

Business Focus
Advisor Survey
Market Report
Special Report
Course Guide
City Focus

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Korean slowdown

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.

Key points
• 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

Top destinations 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%
Other 1%
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%
Other 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%
Other 6%
1. Language programmes 81%
2. Higher education 13%
3. Work & travel 4%
4. Internships 2%
Other 1%
6. Work & travel 3%
Other 2.5%

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%
Other 11%
1. Internet 32%
1. Fairs and expos 32%
3. Workshops 18%
4. LTM/ETM 10%
5. Other press 2%
Other 6%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 14%
English Australia 43%
NEAS 14%

Languages Canada 57%

Souffle 0%
Groupement FLE 0%
L'Office 0%
Unosel 0%

MEI 28%

Asils 0%
Italian in Italy 0%

Feltom 14%

New Zealand
English NZ 28%
Aeple 0%

South Africa
EduSa 0%

Fedele 14%

ABLS 28%
English UK 85%
British Council 85%

Accet 14%
CEA 14%

Eaquals 14%
Ialc 43%
IHWO 28%
Quality English 57%
Tandem 0%

Market growth
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.

Agency business
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).

Looking ahead
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.

Economic overview

• 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.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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






English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
International House
International House
      World Organisation
Perth Education City
Quality English  

Sara's New York
      Homestay LLC  

Pearson Education  


Malta Tourism

English Australia  
Perth Education City

Ecela - Latin

CERAN Lingua International  

Banff Education
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
      of Canada
King George
      International College  
Vancouver English

Tandem Santiago  

Bloomsbury Business
Cambridge Education
Camp Beaumont  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
International House
Kaplan International
King's Colleges  
London School of
      Business & Finance  
Malvern House
      College London  
Pearson Education  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburga's
St Giles International  
Study Group  
United International
University of
      Essex - International

F+U Academy  
Goethe Institut  
inlingua Berlin  
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  


Galway School of
      House Dublin  

      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
English Language
Feltom Malta  
inlingua Malta  

EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps  

      Spanish Courses  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  

ELS Language
International House
      Sol Group  
New York
      General Consulting  
University of
University of
      California San
Zoni Language

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