November 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Special Report
Course Guide
Regional Focus
Market Analysis

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On the move

The AAIEP board in the USA is pleased to announce that Kathy Kohut has accepted the newly-created position of Executive Director of AAIEP. Ms Kohut has been strongly committed to the field of English language learning for 15 years. With a wide range of experience both in teaching and directing English programmes, she has been in numerous leadership roles including Academic Director, Director of Operations, School Director, and Admissions Director. “As Central Office Director, Kathy impressed us with her passion for the organisation and her knowledge of the industry,” said Beata Schmid, AAIEP President.

Victoria Power joins the marketing team at Cork English College, Ireland. Previously Ms Power worked at the Dublin School of English and Westmoreland College where she worked in the operations department followed by four years as Marketing Manager. She said, “Having worked in such a high quality school and college during my time in the sector I am looking forward to moving to yet another wonderful institution.”

Jonathan Duignan has joined Dublin Business School in Ireland as International Student Recruitment Manager. Mr Duignan’s appointment is part of Dublin Business School’s ambitious plans to grow its international business in line with the government strategy on the internationalisation of higher education in Ireland. Previously Mr Duignan was Director of Kaplan International College, Dublin. He has 20 years’ experience in international education in teaching, recruitment and management in Europe and the USA and is currently a board member of Marketing English in Ireland (MEI).

Estelle Hirrien has joined Shane Global School in London, UK as the new Sales and Marketing Assistant. Originally from France, Ms Hirrien worked as a Communication Assistant for different TV shows but also for music companies and, most recently, for Nestlé Waters on French national events such as the Tour de France and Roland Garros. She looks forward to joining the team at this very exciting time and also to developing the French-speaking market.

Maria Ordovas has joined EAC Language Centres (UK) at TUI Education as Business Development Manager. Ms Ordovas previously worked for a large Spanish language school operator for eight years where she had roles in a number of areas. She hopes to draw on her wealth of experience and local knowledge to provide great customer care to agent clients.

Q&A Educator association

David O’Grady, CEO of MEI, talks about working closely with government organisations.

Full name: Marketing English in Ireland (MEI)
Year established: 1992 (but a continuation of RELSA)
Number of members: 55
Association’s main role: To promote Ireland as a quality destination for ELT programmes
Government recognition: We are the association of government-recognised English language schools
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: yes
Contact details:
David O’Grady, CEO, 1 Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.
T: +353 16180910
E: +info@mei.ie
W: www.mei.ie

What has your association been up to?
The single biggest project of the last year has been the MEI China Pilot Scheme, which was launched in spring 2012. After a considerable length of time negotiating with the Department of Justice, the scheme was eventually signed off and the work of promoting it began. The deal is between trusted agents (of whom 25 have been approved in China) and MEI schools. The number of documents required by the applicant students has been reduced and, if all documents are in order, the application is fast-tracked through the visa process at the Irish Embassy in Beijing. In a market as big and as crowded as China it is a huge challenge for MEI to raise the profile of Ireland there. That will be our dedicated work for the next few years. Membership of MEI has remained more or less the same – 55 members – for the last few years. We have been happy to welcome two new members. We are also very happy that two of our Northern Ireland members are also members of English UK Northern Ireland. In October 2011 we had our annual MEI Workshop which was a great success. It was tremendously enlivened by the presence of the Irish Prime Minister, Mr Enda Kenny. The last year has seen the consolidation of the Turkish Pilot Scheme. While the uptake has been modest – 110 Turkish university students in MEI schools – at the end of August 2012, it is more than double the 2011 figure. At the end of 2012 we will review the Turkish scheme and would like to expand it to include categories of students outside of the university sector. In April 2012, 15 MEI schools went to China and held workshops for trusted agents.

What challenges are your member schools currently facing?
Traditionally, Spain and Italy have been the main markets for ELT business in Ireland. The economies of these markets are experiencing great pressures at the moment and are likely to be under strain for the next few years. In developing new markets, the main aim always is to raise the profile of Ireland. Recent work in that area has been done in China, Turkey, Brazil, Kazakhstan, UAE, Russia and Taiwan. With a lot of energy, time and resources being spent in these non-EU countries it is imperative that MEI does detailed groundwork with the Justice Department to ensure that there are no unexpected obstacles. The challenges of raising the profile of Ireland, visa difficulties and air access remain perennial in recruiting new students from further flung markets.

How is the association working with government to ensure sector growth?
In terms of almost daily engagement with government departments and officials, MEI – representing the accredited ELT sector – lobbies five different ministries. At a political level MEI has very good access to members of government and, because of Ireland’s precarious economic situation, there is a political awareness of the importance of international education as an effective revenue stream. At a policy level MEI has very good interaction with senior civil servants in several departments. However, where policy attempts implementation there are glaring shortfalls and this remains the most stubborn obstacle to a coherent plan in facilitating the easy access of international students to Ireland.

Q&A Agent association

Andrei Arsentiev, Area Board Chairman, talks about association developments past, present and future..

Full name of association: AREA – Association of Russian Educational Advisors
Year established: 2007
Number of members: 27
Contact details:

What has been the main focus of AREA this year?
Area is a young organisation and we are still growing. This year we welcomed seven new agencies from different regions of Russia. This gives us an opportunity to broaden our horizons and learn a lot of specific things from our new colleagues. Each year we hold an AGM which gives us a perfect chance to communicate, discuss our achievements and set the objectives for the next year. Among our priority objectives are establishing fruitful collaborations with embassies to get the most up-to-date information from the origin and agree on the regular meetings with embassy staff as well as fast track visa application procedures for Area members. Thus we signed an agreement of collaboration with Languages Canada to facilitate visa procedures and are on our way to sign a similar one with the embassies of Ireland, Australia and the USA. Area is a member of Felca and this year we were accepted by Alto. Annually we organise a B2C exhibition fair for all Area members. Our members enjoy free access to ASM software as the registration fee is paid by Area.

Where do you stand on accreditation?
Area is rather careful in accepting new members. Newcomers need to meet all the established requirements and be approved by the acting members. Being an acting member of Area is a perfect selling point for the agency showing the reliability level to the clients. The Felca Accreditation code is the basis of our accreditation policy and should be used by all associations.

What challenges do member Agencies face?
Each year we see the number of direct bookings growing. Students keep using agencies to eventually book through the Internet on their own. Unfortunately, providers do not usually react the way we expect, some are even supporting this trend. We all really need to sit down and negotiate on this seriously. Besides, some agencies suffer from the uncertain legislation initiatives on the educational market that intend to divide the market to counsellors, agents and operators with certain severe regulations and huge money deposits.

Industry issues - agents speak out

Q. How far do university rankings influence a student when choosing where to study?

Anastassia Romanenko, Insight-Lingua, Russia
“We have a dedicated visa department in charge of constant monitoring of all visa application requirements, changes, submission and collection of documents. We try to maintain a working relationship with the consulates of our key destinations. The UK embassy, for example, regularly holds User Panel meetings, where a special board of selected industry representatives can raise their issues regarding UK visas. Our Director, Elena Solomonova, represents the education sector in those meetings. The British Council runs regular student visa update seminars. Other consulates, such as Australia or New Zealand also organise special seminars for agents to update us on the recent changes, which we find very useful. Some consulates practice accreditation for agencies that send many students to their destination and help us a lot by allowing us to submit applications on behalf of the students without queueing. The Association of Russian Educational Advisors (AREA), of which we are a member, is also working hard on lobbying our interests and streamlining visa processes for our clients.”

Maura Leão, Yazigi Travel, Brazil
“It is a must to be well informed and trained about the requirements from embassies and consulates for issuing a visa. However, it is always very challenging when we, as educational consultants, are not able to get proper information from official offices. Many countries are trying their best to facilitate this, and are offering training and user-friendly websites such as the US consulate in Brazil. As they trust Belta, the Brazilian Educational and Language Travel Association, we, as members, are promptly invited to attend training and can count on the association to address any difficulties we might have. Over the last six years, the association has developed this kind of relationship with many consulates. When there is a need to inform us on important matters, they do it through the association. I have seen this happen with the New Zealand, UK and Australian consulates. We are invited to participate in workshops and training sessions held during student fairs such as Expobelta. Spain and the UK do this often with Belta, as well. A country that is receiving a lot of students but is still yet to implement training in their needs for issuing a visa is Canada. I am aware Belta is discussing this matter with them. I can confirm that these relationships have improved a lot during the past few years, for there is a better understanding from the consulates about the agent’s role in the process of sending more students to their countries.”

Tatiana Sotomonte, Kaplan International, Colombia
“In recent years, communication channels set by embassies and consulates in Colombia have been significantly enhanced. However, the information provided to agencies and the public can be improved. As we all know, consular affairs are tightly connected to our internal situation, as well as to the international scene. Consequently, some countries have had to strengthen their migration policies, affecting the industry considerably. Fortunately, in other cases, consular changes have been beneficial and requirements for students have been properly adjusted. As an example, the US government has improved its confidence in our country and this has been translated into a substantial increase of student visa approvals. We would expect Colombian diplomatic relations, at multilateral levels, to keep improving, opening doors to a wider number of potential students.”

Agency of the month

In a series appearing each month in Study Travel Magazine, we ask a different teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.

This month London School of English (LSE) in the UK nominates British Side in Turkey. Neil Futerill, Market Manager at the school, explains this decision.

“It is not an easy thing to choose one agent from among the many excellent ones LSE works with, but British Side have been a consistently outstanding partner of ours since 2006. They have an excellent leadership team, with Pelin Akcay, their Director of Education Counselling, receiving great support from Selin Akcay and Beki Levi, among others. Their primary concern – and this is perhaps the key to their great success in sending students abroad – is that their clients should enjoy a counselling service of the very highest quality. This can make them, at times, quite demanding partners, but we would not want it any other way. As well as offering an excellent counselling service, they are a first-class English language school in their own right. As is so often the case, a first-class [language] trainer proves to be a first-class counsellor.”

“It is delightful to be associated alongside the brand of LSE. For us they symbolise top-quality education and a 360 degree partnership. We trust them entirely with our top clientele.”
Pelin Akcay, British Side, Turkey

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.






Britannia Student Services  
Generation Estates  
ESL Academy  

CAPS-I (The Canadian Association of Public Schools  
English Australia  
English UK  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
Languages Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

English Australia  
Study Gold Coast  

CERAN Lingua International 

Braemar College  
Calgary Board of Education  
Centennial College of Appplied Arts and Technology  
College of New Caledonia  
Edmonton Public Schools  
Georgian College  
Greater Victoria School District #61  
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced  
IH Pacific (Vancouver, Whistler, San Diego)  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
Kootenay Lake School District #8  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Mission School District # 75  
Niagara College  
Nova Scotia International Student Program  
Sol Schools International (also IH Toronto)  
St James - Assiniboia School Division  
Thompson Rivers University  
University of Manitoba  
University of Victoria  
West Vancouver School District #45  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  

Camp Beaumont  
Highbury College  
International House World Organisation  
International House Bristol  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Prime Education  
LAL Language Centres Holding Ltd  
Living Learning English  
London School of Business & Finance  
Malvern House College London  
Mayfair School of English  
Oscars International  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
English in Chester  
Twin Group  
University of Essex - International Academy 

SR Events  
English UK  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  

Cambridge Esol  

Campus de Bissy - Bordeaux International Campus  

Met Film Ltd  

English For Asia  

Active Language Learning  
Clare Language Centre  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Galway Language Centre  
Language College Ireland  
MEI Ireland  
Delfin English School  

Dr. Walter GmbH  

EC English Language Centre  
inlingua Malta  
Malta Tourism Authority  

pay to study  

City Education Language  
EC Cape Town  
EF International Language Centers  
English Language School Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
International House Cape Town  
inlingua Language Training Centre Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
Jeffrey's Bay Language School  
Kurus English CC  
LAL Cape Town  

International House Sevilla CLIC  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  
Xul Comunicación Social  

Eurocentres International  
EF International Language Centers  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  

Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart 
Glenholme School  
University of Arizona  
Zoni Language Center

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