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October 2010 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
Status

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Mixed fortunes in France


Language schools in France have had to be adaptable in order to cope with fluctuating demand from some student markets and changes in course popularity. Jane Vernon Smith reports.

French language schools confronted a number of problems in 2009, and for many – but not all – it was a difficult year. For Volodia Maury-Laribière, Sales and Development Coordinator at Silc in Angoulême, the high value of the euro proved an obstacle to business development. Meanwhile, Virginie Courau of Accent Français in Montpellier highlights “money” and “swine flu” as the chief problems of 2009, while complaints continue surrounding the granting of visas.

Jean-François Vouilloux of Ecoles France Langue in Paris and Nice takes a philosophical view, observing, “2009 was definitively a bad one, but 2008 was a very good one”. Chief among the difficulties encountered by his schools last year were visa issues and the effect of currency fluctuation in Korea, which led to a drastic decrease in the number of Korean students.

As a university language centre, ISEFE at the Université de Savoie receives many Chinese students, notes spokesperson, Karine Joly-Patrouillault, and the centre’s student nationality profile changed little from 2008 to 2009. Nevertheless, Joly-Patrouillault notes a fall in the number of Japanese over the past two years, as does Accent Français, where Courau also attests to “a significant decrease” in numbers from Southern European countries, such as Spain, Italy and Greece, which she attributes to the financial crisis.

However, not all schools suffered in this climate. “We had a very good year,” comments Jean-Philippe Perez of Alliance Français in Nice. Its student numbers rose by 20 per cent, he reports, an agreement with Russian universities having led to an increase in the number of Russian enrolments at the school.

Elsewhere, there were also positive tendencies to offset some of the negative trends. At Idiom in Nice, the main clientele is, and has always been, Swiss, who accounted for around 80 per cent of intake, according to Director, Ursula Bird. However, Eastern Europeans are increasing their presence, and, she notes, now represent around 10 per cent of the total.

Aside from effects on nationality profile at France Langue’s Paris school, the challenging climate produced a trend towards shorter stays, last-minute booking and demand for cheap accommodation. “More and more students book for a week and [then] take an extra week when they are already at [the] school, so we have to be more and more flexible,” comments Vouilloux.

Meanwhile, at its Nice school, although student numbers increased last year, stays were shorter, with fewer study hours per week. “[Students] seem to be more careful,” comments Vouilloux. Previously, France Langue offered programmes comprising either 20 or 30 lessons per week. However, following a drop in demand for the 30-lesson course in 2009, Vouilloux reports that it has launched a new 26-lesson per week programme. Late bookings have also been increasingly in evidence over recent years, according to Bird and Maury-Laribière.

While schools are proving flexible in the face of difficult times, the outlook is not entirely clear for 2010. While some remain optimistic, others expect a rough ride. The first three months of 2010 were “very difficult” for Idiom, with a heavy drop in bookings. Since then, says Bird, the pattern has fluctuated, and 2010 is proving a very atypical year. “I simply think that the world financial crisis is still in full power and people are hesitating. The ash cloud has not helped things either,” she comments.

Security in numbers

As highlighted in this month’s Special Report, when times get tough, language school associations can play a more important role than ever in helping schools to help themselves. The French associations are no exception.

Silc in Angoulême, belongs to l’Office. As such, the school is subject to strict quality controls, explains Sales & Development Coordinator, Volodia Maury-Laribière. “Agents have to know about that, because many associations do not respect them. Some of them do not have professional third party liability or good emergency and repatriation insurance,” he says.

Accent Français in Montpellier is affiliated to both Groupement Fle and the Montpellier language schools association, and spokesperson, Virginie Courau, comments, “That kind of association [is] helping language schools to improve their quality, to share experience and information, which is very helpful.”

“But,” she adds, “what makes the difference is the fact that these groupings are very active in promoting our language schools abroad. For example, Groupement Fle is representing our schools in various workshops, and the Montpellier [local association] is doing a great job all around the world to promote our destination.”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Britannia Student
      Services  
Hostel World  
International Students
      House  
Smart City Hostels  
Unite  

ASSOCIATIONS/ GROUPS
English Australia  
IALC International  
International House
      World Organisation  
MEI Ireland 
NEAS Australia
Perth Education
      City  
Quality English

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences

EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol  
IELTS  

INSURANCE
PROVIDERS
Dr. Walter GmbH  
Student Guard
      Insurance  

SERVICES
ICEF Agent
      Training  
LTM Digital  
InTouch  

TOURIST BOARDS
Cyprus Tourist
      Board  
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

WORK EXPERIENCE
Almond Vocational
      Link  
Professionals UK  

AUSTRALIA
Ability Education  
Bond University  
Carrick Institute
      of Education  
La Trobe University  
Language Studies
      International  
NEAS Australia  
Pacific Gateway
      International College  
Perth Education
      City  
Shafston
      International College
Universal English
      College (Global
      Village Sydney)  
University of
      Tasmania  
University of
      Western Australia  
University of
      Western Sydney
      College  

BELGIUM
Ceran Lingua
      International  

CANADA
Queen Margaret's
      School  
Student Guard
      Insurance  
Vancouver English
      Centre  

CYPRUS
Cyprus Tourist
      Board  
Language
      Conquests  
Language Explorer
      (The)  
Xenion High
     School  

CHINA
Mandarin House  

ENGLAND
Almond Vocational
      Link  
Britannia
      Student Services
Cambridge
      Education Group 
Cambridge Esol
IALC International
International House
      World Organisation
International
      Students House  
Kaplan Aspect  
King Colleges  
LAL Central
      Marketing Office  
Language in Group
Malvern House
      College London  
Professionals UK  
Sedbergh School  
Spinnaker College  
St Giles Colleges  
Study Group  
Thames Valley
      Summer Schools  
Twin Group  
Unite  
University of
      Essex -
      International
      Academy  

FRANCE
Universite de
      Paris Sorbonne  

GERMANY
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

IRELAND
Alpha College of
      English  
Hostel World  
MEI Ireland  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.
Smart City Hostels
University of
      Stirling  
Cape English
      Language School 

SPAIN
Malaga Si
Interjoven
      Spanish Courses

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd 

USA
ELS Language
      Centers
Hargrave Military
      Academy
Zoni Language
      Centers



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