November 2010 issue

Agency News
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Direction I
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US thumbs up

After a disappointing 2008 and 2009, providers in the USA report a surge in enrolments over the last 12 months. Strong agent relationships and increased international marketing have impacted positively. Nicola Hancox finds out more.

Our numbers in 2010 will far surpass those of 2009,” states Eimear Harrison, Executive Vice President of Rennert International in New York, NY. She reflects that several of their top markets – most notably Korea and Spain – took a battering last year, but thanks to a targeted marketing campaign in Korea and good working relationships with agent partners in Spain, numbers have rallied considerably in 2010. The inclusion of a new junior programme at their New York campus and the launch of a new centre in Miami Beach should boost enrolments even further next year, adds Harrison.

Another language school doing well is Converse International School of Languages in San Diego, CA. Teresa Neale at the school notes that the total number of student weeks grew by 20 per cent in 2010 and she observes that an extra cautious approach – the school froze its course prices from 2009 to 2010 – and an improvement in the global economic situation, have certainly contributed to this growth. Becoming a Cambridge testing centre could also help boost their profile in 2011.

The recovery process for others has been a little more stilted. Bonita Vander from Manhattan Language in New York, NY, observes that the global recession “greatly affected” business in 2009 and while 2010 enrolments have shown some improvement, “we are still below our usual enrolment numbers – perhaps 15 to 20 per cent below,” she says.

Although enrolments increased at all six Geos centres, Rita Chen, Regional Marketing Coordinator at Geos North America, admits the boost was entirely due to an increase in the number of Saudi education scholarships issued by the ministry. Consequently, “Every country, save for Saudi Arabia, performed a little bit worse than last year,” she reflects.

Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, also experienced a surge in Saudi enrolees, “mostly due to the new scholarships available”, echoed International Programmes Specialist, Elizabeth Blanchford. Kuwait was another good source of students for the university. Similarly, an increase in the number of scholarships available to Kuwaiti nationals interested in studying in the USA was attributable, she attests. In fact, a report issued by the Gulf Daily stated that the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) pledged BD1 million (US$2.65 million) earlier this year in support of an initiative to help the country’s brightest students reach their potential.

Overall, US university admissions look strong with both Montana State and Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY, noting a positive upturn in business. Ian Wright, Director of International Admissions at Long Island’s C.W Post campus, puts the upward trend down to a number of factors including a strong international admissions programme, innovative marketing plans which, according to Wright, “go beyond traditional advertising”, and dynamic agent relationships. Interestingly, the university is also making inroads to work with local language providers, boosting its admission programming even further. “In addition to accepting both Toefl and Ielts test scores for admission, we are exploring the new Pearson exam of English proficiency and have partnered with ELS and Kaplan language schools to expand our outreach,” confirms Wright.

New partnerships appear to be on the agenda over at the Geos group too. The chain recently partnered with World Education Group, a US-based international education agency, to provide in-country university recruitment services for Geos students. WEGroup, a member of the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC), holds official recruiting agreements with over 30 accredited US universities, including the University of Tennessee, Arcadia University and Montana State University. “We are offering more pathway colleges/university partners to students so that we can target current and potential students – particularly from countries such as China and India,” explains Chen.

Meanwhile, Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs – a provider of summer educational experiences for local and overseas students – had, according to Sarah Ohanesian, Director of Marketing, one of its most successful summers ever. “Our enrolment increased by between 10 to 15 per cent, depending on the programme,” she notes. Listening to what clients require, thus building programmes based upon clients’ needs has been key, she says, adding, “We are now offering for-credit programmes and more academic programmes which attract a broader student population.” Meanwhile, the launch of the JK School for English this year will help attract a wider clientele affirms Ohanesian, in particular, “students looking for a more immersive and intensive English learning experience”.

The rumour mill has been working overtime in terms of new visa regulations the US government is set to implement. “We have heard of stricter enforcement by the government regarding visas and ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) registration for visa waiver students, etc,” observes Neale. However, she notes the move is unlikely to affect enrolments but will instead require students to be “well advised” and have their supporting documentation in order.

Meanwhile, Chen says students who wish to work while studying in the USA have incurred difficulties trying to secure J-1 visa status over the past 12 months, making the country less popular as a destination choice. “Students then opt to go to Canada, Australia or England,” she laments.
Interestingly, Harrison notes that visa changes in the UK and Canada has helped them recover a little of the business that was being swallowed up by these markets. “One Mexican agent just informed me that Mexicans are now reconsidering the USA as a destination due to tougher visa regulations in Canada,” she adds.

The marketing game

A driven marketing campaign can really deliver in terms of additional international student numbers and several of the schools canvassed for this article note that there is a renewed focus among US language schools where international marketing efforts are concerned.

Rita Chen, Regional Marketing Coordinator at Geos North America says that the chain is looking to grow its web presence by concentrating on Internet-based marketing strategies, which include viral marketing, website optimisation and search engine optimisation. Meanwhile, Sarah Ohanesian, Director of Marketing at Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs, says increased marketing efforts in Spain, Italy, Korea, China and Switzerland have already procured positive results. “Working with international agents and Julian’s [the school’s founder] travelling to new countries to meet people” has also helped, she adds.

By extending its international marketing reach, student numbers at Rennert International in New York, NY, have been bolstered. Agent-based incentives in certain markets have had a particularly positive impact, explains the school’s Executive Vice

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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.






International Students House  

British Council  
English Australia  
Groupement FLE  
International House World Organisation  
IALC International  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Neas Australia  
Quality English  

Globus Education Agency  
IEFT- International Education Fairs of Turkey  

Cambridge Esol  

Dr. Walter GmbH  
Student Guard Insurance  

LTM Digital  
Student Marketing  

Cyprus Tourist Office  
Malta Tourism Authority  

Twin Group  

Academies Australasia  
Bond University  
Browns English Language School  
Carrick Institute of Education  
La Trobe University  
Language Studies International  
Neas Australia  
Pacific Gateway International College  
Shafston International College  
Universal English College (Global Village Sydney)  
University of Tasmania  
University of Western Australia  
University of Western Sydney College  

Ecela - Latin Immersion  

Ceran Lingua International  

Berlitz Canada   
Bow Valley College  
Braemar International College  
Camosun College  
Capilano University  
College Platon  
East Coast School of Languages  
English Bay College  
English School of Canada  
Eurocentres Canada  
Geos North America  
Global Village  
Guard.me Insurance  
International Language School of the YMCAs Quebec  
LSC Language Studies Canada  
National School of Languages  
Niagara College  
Ottawa International Student Programmes (OISP)  
Queen's University  
Saint Mary's University  
School District No. 42 Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows  
Stewart College of Languages  
St Giles Colleges  
Study Abroad Canada  
Thompson Rivers University  
Vancouver English Centre  
VanWest College  

Cyprus Tourist Office  
Language Conquests  
The Language Explorer  
Xenion High School  

Tandem Santiago  

Mandarin House  

Intensa Spanish Language School  

Study Team Cuba  

IH Cairo  

Active Learning  
British Study Centres  
Bury Language School  
Cambridge Education Group  
English Language Centre Brighton & Hove  
English Studio  
Excel English Language School  
Hampstead School of English  
Hove College  
International House London  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
King's Colleges  
LAL Language Centres   
Language in Group  
Malvern House College London  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
Sedbergh School  
Spinnaker College  
St Clare's Oxford  
St Giles Colleges  
Study Group  
TUI Language   
Twin Group  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Wimbledon School of English  

Accent Francais  
Alpha B - Institut Linguistique  
College International de Cannes  
Ecole PERL  
Ecole Suisse Internationale  
Education En France  
Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises - ILCF  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
Le Franc Parler   
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu International  
Media Langues Caraibes   
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

GLS Sprachenzentrum  
International House Berlin - Prolog  
F & U Academy of Languages   

Media Langues Caraibes  

Academia de Espanol Probigua  

Cork English College /Language & Activity Holidays  
Dublin International Foundation College  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Horner School of English  

Alpha School of English  
Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre  
English Language Academy  
Feltom (Via Malta Tourism Authority)  

Habla Ya Language Center  

Derzhavin Institute  

EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  
University of Stirling  

CLIC-IH Seville   
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga Si  
Inturjoven Spanish Courses  
Pamplona Learning Spanish Institute   

EF Language Colleges Ltd  
ESL Ecole Suisses de Langues  
Eurocentres International  

Hargrave Military Academy  
Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs  
Language Consultants International  
University of California Riverside  
University of San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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