November 2005 issue

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Feedback Ireland

A less varied nationality mix in the classrooms did not dampen students' enthusiasm for Ireland as a destination for language learning this year. A rise in the average cost of a language course, however, may account for the loss of student numbers from some markets.

Us feedback at a glance
Total number of students: female 61, male 35 (unknown 4) 100

Average age in years: 28.7

Average length of programme in weeks: 6.3

Average number of students per class: 10.3

Average number of hours of lang. tuition per week: 20.2

% of students who found their course through an agent: 35

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 62

% of students who had been on another language programme: 56

% of students who would recommend their school: 94

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
W Europe (73%)
Asia (12%)
C & L America (6%)
C & E Europe (5%)
Unknown (3%)
Middle East (1%)
1.Swiss (19%)
2.Italian (16%)
3.Spanish (15%)
4.German (11%)
5.Korean (5%)
6.French (4%)
6.Austrian (4%)
6.Brazilian (4%)
9.Japanese (3%)
9.Slovakian (3%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
None of these (65%)
Too many students (12%)
Too many students who speak my language (12%)
Too many students from one other country (9%)
Unknown (2%)
For current or future work (58%)
For college study at home (24%)
For college study in another English-speaking country (9%)
For college study in the Ireland (5%)
For pleasure only (4%)

How did you find your programme? Standard of the teaching
It was recommended by an agent (35%)
I found it on the Internet (32%)
It was recommended by a friend/relative (25%)
I saw it advertised (7%)
No reply (1%)
Excellent (59%)
Good (34%)
Satisfactory (4%)
Unknown (3%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (17%)
Good (58%)
Satisfactory (14%)
Poor (2%)
Unknown (9%)
Excellent (25%)
Good (40%)
Satisfactory (19%)
Poor (5%)
Unsatisfactory (5%)
Unknown (6%)

Standard of your social programme? What is your accomodation while in Ireland?
Excellent (16%)
Good (38%)
Satisfactory (20%)
Poor (13%)
Unknown (13%)
Host famuly (56%)
Residential/single room (21%)
Residential/dormitory (2%)
Other (21%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (73%)
No (22%)
Unknown (5%)

Yes (53%)
No (42%)
Unknown (5%)

Yes (27%)
No (68%)
Unknown (5%)

Student nationality
The nationality mix among English language students in Ireland was not so varied this year. A substantial 73 per cent of the total student body came from Western Europe while just 12 per cent of students represented Asia and five per cent came from Central and Eastern Europe. In last year';s survey, just 50 per cent of students came from Western Europe, with higher proportions – 28 and 19 per cent respectively – coming from Asia and Central and Eastern Europe (see Language Travel Magazine, August 2004, pages 16-17). However, no one nationality (or language) dominated in the classrooms this year as Western European students came from eight countries (Swiss were in number-one position) and overall, 21 nationalities from around the world were represented. A surprise this year was the decrease in the number of Central and Eastern European nationalities studying in Ireland with only a few students from the Czech Republic and Slovakia recorded.

Student motivation
Very few students were studying English in Ireland in order to go on to college or university in the country – down to five per cent this year compared with 16 per cent last year – and this trend was reflected in the relatively low average length of stay recorded. When one student';s 90 week programme was removed from the figures, the average length of stay this year was 5.4 weeks, compared with 10.1 weeks last year. Overall, 79 per cent of students were studying in Ireland for less than six weeks and the majority, 58 per cent, were learning the language for current or future work purposes.

Student enrolment
As in other Feedback Surveys, the most common way for students to find out about their school was either through the Internet or via an agent (67 per cent). When it came to actually making a booking, agents were more widely used than in our previous survey, with 62 per cent of students going to an agency, up from 38 per cent in our last survey! When asked specific reasons for why they chose a particular school, answers given by students included the small size of classes, the reputation of the school and the location in a small town.

Student satisfaction
Despite having so many students from one world region in our survey, student satisfaction rates were generally quite high this year. Just 12 per cent of students said that they thought there were too many students who spoke their language in their class and these were either Swiss, Spanish, Italian or German. Overall, just three per cent of students said that they would not recommend their school to others and a further three per cent did not respond. In terms of spending time in Ireland, a majority of 69 per cent said they found it easy or very easy to practise their language skills with locals.

Living in Ireland
The cost of living in Ireland was considered higher than in their own countries by 59 per cent of students, including 67 per cent of Asians, all Central and Eastern Europeans and 53 per cent of Western Europeans. The average cost of a one-week English language course with accommodation was priced at e398 (US$496), an increase of over e100 (US$124) on last year';s average figure.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Alpha College of English, Dublin; Atlantic Language School, Galway; Centre of English Studies, Dublin; Galway Language Centre, Galway; Geos, Dublin; ISI, Dublin; North Mon Language Institute, Cork; The Slaney Language Centre, Wexford.
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