||Upward agency buys new site in São Paulo
Upward Study Abroad & Travel, based in São Paulo in Brazil, has announced its acquisition of Seven Pacaembu, which was the name given to the old St Giles São Paulo school since its sale to the Seven Group last December.
Vilma Gomes, Managing Director of Upward, explained that the agency works in close partnership with Seven Group, which teaches English and Spanish. “Upward is still a small agency but we saw an increase of almost 100 per cent in language courses since the beginning of our partnership with Seven a bit more than a year ago,” she said. Upward now has three locations, Seven Pacaembu, its head office and Seven Group’s head office, all in São Paulo.
Gomes explained, “At Upward, everybody is happy with the news and we believe that this acquisition will bring us lots of new business as we will be much closer to Seven’s students.” She said that the aim of the acquisition is “to put our brochure in the hands of every Seven student in the entire group” an estimated 20,000 brochures are being printed.
Coicec a new agency association for Ecuador
A group of 10 established education agencies in Ecuador have got together to form a professional industry association called Confederación de Organizaciones de Intercambio del Ecuador (Coicec). David Duque Terneus of Langex explained that members wanted to offer a guarantee of quality to the Ecuadorian public.
“The Coicec commitment is to supervise its member agencies to guarantee the quality of the programmes they offer and the services they provide,” he told Language Travel Magazine. Coicec aims to be a reliable industry platform that can engage with international partners, other Ecuadorian agencies and members of the public.
Members include StudentVisa, Apex, ISP, Xplorer, Langex, Idiomas, Representaciones Academicas, EIL, Yes and Ordex. “All of the members are legally constituted in Ecuador and have been active in the educational market for between three and 30 years, with an impeccable reputation,” said Terneus. He added, “Coicec [will provide] information about professional agents who have the necessary expertise to guide students through the entire education experience in a smooth and comfortable manner.”
Other agencies will be invited to join the association which launched in May if they satisfy quality requirements. “All members represent a large number of programmes,” added Terneus.
Cactus and GVI team up
UK-based company Cactus Language has teamed up with volunteering organisation, Global Vision International, to promote language and volunteering programmes globally to the public.
Combined language learning and volunteering projects are now available in eight countries: Honduras, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. The language learning placement can be organised for between three and 13 weeks in duration.
“Cactus and GVI share a similar outlook and goals, which is what makes this such a great partnership,” said Germaine Broadbent, Sales Director at Cactus Language Training. “The new combined programmes bundle together two experiences which have a natural synergy language and volunteering from two organisations which are experts in their field.”
Neil Finnie, Marketing and Partners Manager at Global Vision International (GVI), added, “The ability to volunteer overseas is greatly appreciated, whatever skills you may have, but to be able to help and converse in the local language is a real added bonus. GVI knows how to run worthwhile and successful volunteer programmes, and Cactus know how to set up and offer great language holidays and courses abroad.”
Agency of the month
In a series appearing each month in Language Travel Magazine, we ask a different language 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, Scuola Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, Italy, nominates Boa Lingua in Switzerland. Wolfango Poggi, Managing Director at the school, explains this decision.
“It’s not easy to nominate the agency of the month as we have so many good agencies working with us. I am pleased to give our preference to Boa Lingua because it’s a very professional team. They have visited all our centres and we have been working together for many years. I can say that they have always improved their service. The agency provides excellent information before departure, in order to avoid any inconvenience or unjustified expectation. Assistance and monitoring of students is also their first priority during the students’ stay in Italy.
Boa Lingua trains its staff organising field-trips for them all over Italy, visiting the schools they represent; by doing so, they can give their clients real suggestions about schools and cities they have actually visited. Boa Lingua matches the needs and requests of every individual client. Efficient and active communication between agency, schools and clients facilitates booking processes. Last but not least they are really punctual with payments and Kurt is a very nice person.”
Industry issues - agents speak out
Q. If you could study abroad anywhere, where and what would you study and why?
Sanjar Oblokulov, Director, Ekspotur, Uzbekistan
“Having enough experience in the international education system and knowing each country’s education system closely, I’d prefer to study marketing in the UK. The UK is one of the most civilized, modern business countries where marketing, finance and business management is well developed. Also, considering opportunities to get nice work experience, the UK is one of the best destinations where it’s possible to get a nice education in any field.”
Mihai Timofte, International Education Center Romania
“I am coming from a country where education was completely different to how it is now. If I would have had the possibility to study abroad when I was a child, I would have chosen to go to a high school exchange programme in Sweden. Learning the language and immersing into a completely different culture and lifestyle for a long period would have been ext-remely beneficial. Going on a high school exchange year is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I strongly recommend to any student.”
Armagan Ozkilic, Omega Education, Turkey“
In today’s changing world, almost every day, people’s needs and also preferences have been changing. When you talk with someone, who has finished his/her degree many years ago, you generally have a feeling that, for the most part, people are not at the point that they prefer. I think this is a conclusion in itself. There are many new degree programmes and in consequence of that, new job options come into view. If I had a chance to study abroad and I was newly graduated from high school, I think I would consider “brand new” programmes. Although people could find good job options after they graduated from classic programmes, new programmes such as IT, e-trade or web solutions would take my attention. And I think the country should be the USA because of the choices for university and also for options after graduation.”
Daniela Maccolini, Coming, Italy
“I would go to university to attend a management course. It doesn’t matter what your main field is: it may be business, architecture, wine, fashion, legal studies… but if you aren’t able to maximise your skills you’ll be wasting your time and effort. You would learn the timing of marketing, the best way to deal with problems and how to set up a project, which is valuable to get a good result in your business. I would choose a university to attend the course as their courses offer the best choice and quality in teaching, even if many excellent schools offer the same quality: maybe in the USA; University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, UCSD; in Canada at Victoria, in New Zealand at University of Canterbury in Christchurch or in the UK at the University of Essex.”
Valquiria Mac-Dowell, Improvement, Brazil
“I would love to research British history: King Arthur, the Crusades, Henry VIII, from Medieval history to the Eighteenth Century. England would provide me with all the necessary tools to jump into these sources alive as I have already jumped into books that fascinated me in my youth.”
On the move
Giljun Yang is the new president of Korean agency association, Kosa. He was previously Vice President in the Kosa Committee and has a good knowledge of the educational consultancy industry. He has also established Let’s Uhak Education Centre. Mr Yang has announced a strategic plan for Kosa to enhance its international cooperation. Activities will be expanded to promote international education fairs and a workshop for agencies.
Joseph Cochrane is the new Marketing Executive at the Centre of English Studies (CES) in Ireland. Graduating from Dublin Institute of Technology with a BA in International Business and French, he then worked in the marketing department of an Irish financial services company in Paris. After recently completing a TEFL course, Mr Cochrane is delighted to have joined this industry. He is looking forward to the challenge that awaits him at CES.
Global Village Byron Bay in Australia welcomes its new Director of Studies, Justin Blake. Mr Blake has more than 10 years’ experience in teaching in New Zealand and throughout Asia, and brings a strong interest in academic preparation classes to his role. “I am very excited to join the GV team in Byron Bay,” he said. “GVBB is a new school with limitless potential. I am looking forward to living and working in one of the nicest spots in Australia.”
Emma Kneale has recently been appointed the role of Marketing Executive at the Manchester Academy of English in the UK. Ms Kneale has lived in France and Spain, both studying and teaching, and it was this experience that directed her towards a career in the education industry. Ms Kneale loves Manchester and is looking forward to working with international students and staff and representing such a flagship educational institution in a multicultural city.
Damien Augier joined The Training Partnership in the UK in September. French national, Mr Augier, will hold the title of Director of International Programmes. Formerly a much valued employee of ESL and Nacel International, he brings with him a wealth of international expertise. “His brief is to create a place for us on the international circuit,” said Jayne Stroud at the language training and work experience company.
New residence in London
Britannia Student Services, which specialises in accommodation provision for students studying in the UK, has announced the opening of its own residence building, Britannia City, Student Living, in Canada Water, 20 minutes from the heart of London’s West End.
Ronaldo da Silva, Managing Director of the company, said that the residence would be a convenient option for all language students in London, no matter how long they intended to stay and study in the capital. “As most residential accommodation is only sold for an entire academic year, short-stay language students and university students coming for a single semester are excluded from booking residences outside the summer months (mid June mid September),” he said. “Britannia aims to bridge this gap, which is why Britannia City will be available for short as well as long stays, making residential accommodation available to everyone.”
Prices start at UK£135 (US$222) per week for a single room on a self-catering basis. Wifi connection is available for an additional charge and bedrooms are available within self-contained flats of three or four bedrooms.
Upgrade to online learning through Myngle
Online language learning site, Myngle, has announced an upgrade to its product so that users of the site can schedule their online lessons according to their convenience. Myngle Pro was launched earlier this year, and it allows users to choose their teacher, their own schedule and to personalise lessons according to their needs.
“For business people, learning a new language can be a real challenge to fit into their schedules,” said Marina Tognetti, Founder of Myngle. “With Myngle Pro, we offer the best language courses, while reducing the hassle related to language learning to the absolute minimum.” If students are not fully satisfied after three lessons, there is a money-back guarantee offered. An online whiteboard tool is also used in the learning process.
Password launches lower-level exam
English Language Testing, the company behind the academic-oriented Password exam, has launched a new lower-level sister exam, Password Intro, aimed at students who need to build upon nascent language skills rather than those keen to enter tertiary-level study. Caroline Browne at the company said that the online test, delivered securely over the Internet, met UKBA requirements and graded results to determine if students could enter the UK on a general student visa.
Available worldwide, Password Intro tests a skill range between Ielts 3.0 and 6.0 and can be bought directly by institutions which can arrange for the test to be delivered in-country via agencies’ offices, for example. The test assesses language knowledge rather than language skills and fits the Password format.
Spanish agency launches exclusive hotel
British Summer, a Spanish agency based in Barcelona, has embarked on a new venture opening an exclusive hotel in the Matarraña region, west of Barcelona. With bedrooms that are individual minimalist cubes, built near a cliff edge offering wonderful views of this mountainous area, the Consolacion hotel (www.consolacion.com.es) certainly promises something different.
It has a hotel kitchen that is always open, where guests can freely congregate, and 10 cube rooms, while two others are within the main Baroque building. Ignacio Mas de Xaxas, President of British Summer, said that the hotel first opened for bookings in February. “It has been a five-year long journey but we are very happy with the outcome,” he said.
Ielts opens three new London test centres
The Wimbledon School of English, Ealing Hammersmith & West London College and British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce have become the three latest Ielts testing centres in London, UK. This in addition to the five existing testing centres.
Saima Satti, Ielts Regional Manager for UK, Ireland and Americas, said, “The new centres in London will bring even greater choice and access for our ambitious candidates who are looking to prove their language skills.” The total number of UK test locations for Ielts is now 43.
The World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation combines members from every strand of the youth travel industry. Debbie Fitzgerald at WyseTC reports on its findings and activities.
Full name: World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation
Year established: 2006, following the successful merger of ISTC and Fiyto
Number of members: 550+
Type of members: Youth travel sector incorporating: Adventure tours, backpacking, cultural exchange, international education, language travel, youth travel accommodation, work abroad and more.
Association’s main role: To increase international understanding through the promotion of travel and educational opportunities
Government recognition: Unesco and UNWTO endorsed
Code of practice: Yes
Complaints procedure: Yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: Yes, Wyse Work Abroad and Alto
WYSE Travel Confederation,
1016 DW Amsterdam,
Tel: +31 (0) 20 421 2800
What has WYSE Travel Confederation been up to in the last year?
We have been busy supporting our members through an increased focus on trading opportunities, innovative market research that helps our members forecast during these uncertain times and professional development opportunities including sharing best practice and standards. Specifically, we’ve been active with our members at key industry trading events this year including ITB, Ialc Workshop, WETM and Nafsa. We’ve also moved off the beaten track: In May, Alto hosted its first ever roadshow in Kazakhstan in order to provide its members with additional trading opportunities in new source markets. Members met with the President of the Boloshak Scholarship Programme, along with over 25 agents representing 12 agencies. We plan more activity for our members in exciting emergent markets in 2010.
According to your members, what is your impression of business performance in 2009?
The Youth Travel Industry Monitor is based on a survey of 100 experts selected from within the WYSE Travel Confederation community, representing a cross-section of sectors and geographic regions. We have conducted three surveys amongst our expert community so far this year. The challenging operating climate global economic crisis, influenza H1N1 pandemic has had an impact and the level of ongoing consumer uncertainty is the most widely accepted negative influence cited by our members. Interestingly, the sector overall is showing marked resilience, with many organisations looking to innovate in product and marketing. Digging deeper, it’s a mixed picture depending on what type of experience you are offering: Travel Retailers and Language Study organisations both reported declines of over 10 per cent for March-April 2009 compared with the same period last year. In contrast, Au Pair and Work Experience organisations reported substantial increases in business. There was relatively little variation in demand by geographic region, except that organisations in Oceania reported significant growth in contrast to falls elsewhere. The level of decline reported by North American organisations was significantly lower than the 10 per cent drop seen there in 2008’s final quarter.
How does Wyse Travel Confederation help build business for its members?
We offer strong representation of this vital sector of the travel and tourism industry and promote the broader value of international experience. Working with our associations, we provide members with networking and trading opportunities, research and market intelligence, and product development support. WYSE Travel Confederation is a community so networking and active engagement amongst members is our strongest asset.
• The UK government is aiming to improve domestic rail services to reduce the number of domestic flights taken. Its new initiative looks to replace short-haul flights with high-speed rail travel. Following the government’s pledge to cut greenhouse emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2050, a new London to Birmingham route looks to be first on the agenda which, according to a report by The Guardian, could be extended to serve Scotland. “For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail,” said Andrew Adonis, Transport Secretary. The end goal is to reduce journey times between popular destinations such as London and Swansea and Liverpool and Manchester.
• Malaysian Airlines has bucked the global trend by posting a net profit of RM876 million (US$249.5 million). The carrier successfully increased passenger numbers by a massive 66 per cent in the second quarter, a 10 per cent increase on first quarter results. “We are managing well in this crisis,” said Managing Director and CEO, Idris Jala. “While the operating environment remains tough, the load factors have increased due to our aggressive strategies to boost sales,” he added. Internet sales also grew by a staggering 82 per cent, generating some RM272 million (US$77.4 million) for the airline. The carrier plans to expand into the Middle East in the coming year by adding at least three new destinations to its list of services.
• According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism declined by eight per cent between January and April this year, six per cent more than was originally forecast. Tourism in the Middle East was worst affected, with the region experiencing a 18 per cent decline in arrivals, while Europe and the Americas also felt the pinch with a 10 and 5 respective dip in tourism. However, several destinations reported encouraging growth in the first four months of 2009 including Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
• Stroppy travelling partners, bad weather and sickness have been voted the top three holiday spoilers, according to a poll conducted by flight search engine, Skyscanner. Fifteen per cent of holidaymakers attributed their bad holiday experience to a moody companion, while terrible weather and illness came joint-second with 11 per cent. “Awful food”, “feeling fat on the beach” and “insect bites” were also up there in a list of respondents’ holiday woes.
• AirAsia X, the Malaysian low-cost, long-haul budget airline, plans to expand into North Africa and Europe by setting up a Middle Eastern hub. Yet to disclose the location, AirAsia X Chief Executive, Azran Osman-Rani, said, “This will open up completely new markets, and we won’t always have to have the planes based in Kuala Lumpur, which limits us to an eight-hour radius,” he said. “There will be many in the aviation industry who think this is crazy because the traditional low-cost model is to do only point-to-point flights…to keep it simple,” he elaborated. The carrier plans to launch flights from Kuala Lumpur to the mystery hub with a view to branching out to Morocco, Turkey, Spain and the Czech Republic early next year.
• According to newspaper The Irish Examiner, European low-cost carrier, Ryanair, has its eye on transatlantic glory. The cut-throat carrier is said to be in talks with several US airports including Baltimore, Hartland in Connecticut and Niagara about establishing a new transatlantic route operating out of several European hubs including Dublin and London. However, Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, stated that any new route carrier would be operated by a subsidiary company. The carrier is also launching 14 new routes out of Leeds-Bradford Airport in the UK from March.
Please see the digital issue of Language Travel Magazine for the Grapevine section