|The total number of students placed by the seven advisories in our survey was 8,938
Individual advisories placed between 52 and 8,000 students on courses per year
The average length of stay for Korean students was 14 weeks
Overall, 60 per cent of Korean students stayed in host family accommodation when studying overseas
A higher percentage of advisory clients were studying abroad for future work, namely 45 per cent
Language learning is the most lucrative sector of the study abroad market for Korean advisors
||Most popular courses
|1. USA 34%
2. Canada 18%
3. Philippines 14%
4. UK 14%
5. Japan 9%
6. Australia 6%
6. Ireland 1%
||1. Intensive 57%
2. General 20%
3. Junior 8%
4. Business 3%
5. Language plus work 3% 6. Undergraduate/ postgraduate 3%
7. University foundation 3% 7. Academic prep/exam prep 2% Other 1%
|Reasons for studying overseas
||Average percentage advisor business
|1. Further work 45%
2. Further studies overseas 34%
3. Further studies at home 9%
3. Current work 6% 4. Pleasure 4% Other 5%
||1. Language programmes 78%
2. Secondary School 8%
3. Higher education 7%
4. Internships 4%
4. Work & Travel 3%
|How do advisors recruit students?
||How do advisors find new schools to represent?
|1. E/online marketing 41%
2. Website 20% 3. Word-of-mouth 19%
4. Press 6%
4. Seminars to students 6%
6. Mail shots 3%
7. TV/radio 3% Other 2%
||1. Internet 37.5%
3. B2B workshops 26%
2. Language fair and student expos 16%
4. STM 9% 5. Other press 4%
|Percentage of advisors who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 57%
Languages Canada 57%
Groupement FLE 14%
Italian in Italy 0%
Eng NZ 71%
British Council 86%
English UK 86%
World Organisation 43%
Quality English 28%
In 2011, Korean study abroad advisors remained cautious when projecting future growth and with good reason. In the last quarter of 2011, South Korea’s economy was at a two-year low (see economic overview). Just two of the seven advisors that took part in this year’s annual survey of agency business recorded an increase in business, while four posted a decrease. As was the case in 2010 (see STM, May 2011, pages 36-37), average business growth remained in the red, coming in at -15.6 per cent, compared with -8.6 per cent previously.
Language and destination trends
Four advisors reported that 100 per cent of all agency clientele were interested in studying an English taught programme abroad. The overall average was therefore considerably high, namely 89 per cent - in keeping with last year’s 86 per cent. The second most requested language to study overseas was Japanese (10 per cent). There was little change too in regards to destination choice in 2011. A significant proportion of Korean students opted to study in the USA (34 per cent compared with 32 per cent), followed by Canada (18 per cent compared with 20 per cent) and the Philippines (14 per cent compared with 15 per cent). In 2011, the UK drew level with the Philippines in terms of market share.
Student and course trends
Korean students have consistently shown a predilection for intensive language programmes. In 2011, 57 per cent of all requests were for this type of provision, denoting perhaps Korean students’ penchant for highly targeted learning. This was followed by general language courses, with 20 per cent. Requests for academic and exam preparation courses dipped from nine to just three per cent in 2011. Interest in junior programmes, though, accounted for eight per cent of all agency bookings, compared with one per cent previously. There was a shift in client motivation in 2011: studying abroad with future work prospects in mind was the clincher for 45 per cent of all students, 9.5 percentage points more than in 2010.
Interest in higher education abroad continued to dip in 2011, down from 13 per cent in 2010 to just seven per cent. Language learning (78 per cent) proved yet again to be the most lucrative sector of agency business. Interestingly, five agency respondents reported that they were active in placing student clients in secondary/high schools abroad, a trend not trackeds in 2010. Korean advisors looked to promote their services and target new student business via a series of e-marketing campaigns in 2011, accounting for a whopping 41 per cent of all new business received, compared with nine per cent in 2010. When looking for new schools to represent, 37.5 per cent of all new business originated from the Internet, compared with 32 per cent in 2010. Korean agents still value face-to-face meetings with b2b workshops accounting for 26 per cent of all new partnerships formed.
In light of the current economic situation, advisors remain realistic in their 2012 business forecasts. One agent is optimistic that recovery is on the horizon but that growth will be slow. A change in governing powers the next presidential election is expected to be held at the end of 2012 could spell a change in Korean economic policy, they added.
• According to a government report, South Korea’s economy grew the least in two years in the fourth quarter of 2011 as exports sank because of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and faltering global expansion.
• According to the central bank in Seoul, gross domestic product expanded 0.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2011. This was less than the median 0.5 per cent estimated by 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
• Exports fell in the final three months of 2011 for the first time in two years and investment and consumption also declined. South Korea’s inflation has remained elevated in part because a weakening won has made imported goods more expensive. Consumer prices rose 4.2 per cent from a year earlier in November and December 2011, exceeding the central bank’s target limit of four per cent.
• Risks to South Korea’s economy are increasing and inflation may ease at a moderate pace as growth slows for some time before picking up, said the central bank in January, deciding to keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged.
Korean advisors named a range of programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Sydney College of English, Sydney, NSW. In Switzerland: The American School in Switzerland, Lugano. In the UK: Beet Language Centre, Bournemouth; Brockenhurst College, Brockenhurst; Cambridge Academy of English, Cambridge; ELC Bristol, Bristol; Eurocentres, London; Hilderstone College, Broadstairs; International House, London; London Hotel School, London; London School of Commerce, London; London School of English, London; Language Studies International, Portsmouth; Malvern House, London; Oxford House College, Oxford. In the USA: ELS, various; North Broward Preparatory School, Fort Lauderdale, FL. International: ILSC; EC.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: UKUHAK.com; GCN Corp (CampusOK); Uhak.com; Han Shin Counsulting/Edu Link; To Be Londoner; Hankook Education; Olive Institute for International Education.