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October 2013 issue

Contents
News
News Round Up
Inside the industry
Agency Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus

Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Direction
City Focus
Market Analysis
Grapevine


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France proactive

Like in 2011, French language schools were largely proactive in responding to changing consumer demands in 2012 and 2013. Europe‘s dismal economic situation has remained a major influence on both demand and marketing, reports Jane Vernon Smith.

French language schools’ marketing budget by region (overall %) Top nationalities in France by student weeks 2012
W Europe 37%
C&E Europe 17%
North America 17%
Latin America 12%
Asia 10%
Australasia 4%
Middle East 2%
Africa 1%
Swiss 9%
German 8%
British 8%
American 7%
Spanish 5.5%
Scandinavian/Finnish 5%
Italian 55
Japanese 5%
Brazilian 4%
Chinese 4%

Source: STM Status survey on France


Commission Student numbers by age range
23% is the average comission paid on a language course

11% is the average paid for commission on accommodation by 11 of the institutions profiled

8-11 0%
12-15 6%
16-18 15%
19-24 39%
25-30 24%
31-50 12%
50+ 4%

Means of recruiting students in France, 2012 Reasons for learning French
Agents 51%
Internet 31%
Local bookings 10%
Other means 8%
Further studies in France 19%
Further studies in another French speaking country 4%
University/college studies at home 25%
Current or future work 37%
For pleasure only 16%

Students in France by world region
(according to schools)
How did students find out about their school
Western Europe 44%
North America 21%
Latin America 14%
C&E Europe 9.5%
Asia 5.5%
Australasia 4%
Africa 2%
Advertising 5%
Internet 42%
Agent 39%
Friend/relative 14%


Student's region of origin
Western Europe 56%
North America 26%
Asia 8.5%
C&E Europe 3%
Australasia 1.5%
Africa 1%
Latin America 1%
Middle East 1%
No reply 2%

Total marketing spend by sector and by category in %
Agency costs 24%

Commission 20%
Incentives 2%
Agency brochures 2%

Travel costs 29%

Agent workshops 9%
Student exhibitions 7%
Agency visits to school 3%
Entertainment 3%
Trips to agencies 7%

Publicity costs 47%

Agent mags 3%
Student mags etc 5%
Brochure, video etc 13%
Internet 26%


Ask the students – view from the classroom

134 students from 31 different countries took part in our survey of language schools in France

The average age was 24.7 years
The average class size was 9.2 students
44 per cent of respondents were from Western Europe
14 per cent of respondents were from Latin America
45 per cent of respondents booked their course through an agency
42 per cent of respondents found their school through the internet
99 per cent of respondents would recommend their school
49 per cent of respondents were staying in homestay accommodation
36 per cent of respondents were learning French for current or future work purposes
66 per cent of respondents found it very easy or quite easy to practise their French with local people
52 per cent of students had been on a previous study abroad trip
12 per cent of respondents thought that there were too many students who spoke the same language as them in the classroom


Number of participating organisations: 19
Total number of students at the organisations in 2012: 25,957
Total number of student weeks in 2012, estimated: 129,785
Participating schools: Idiom; IS Aix-en-Provence; Langue Onze Toulouse; Institut Linguistique Adenet; French in Normandy; LSF; IFALPES; St Denis International School; Alliance Française de Lyon; ISEFE; L’Atelier 9; Ecole Suisse Internationale; Accent Français, Montpellier; France Langue; CAREL; IH Nice; Institut Européen de Français; Escapade Cannes; Escapade Paris.

5.0 weeks Overall average length of stay

21 hours Average language tuition per week


Europe’s economic crisis has been reflected in various aspects of demand over the past twelve months. Most obvious of these is a continuing trend towards shorter stays, as the average length of stay decreased from 5.5 weeks in 2011 to just five weeks in 2012.

For ISEFE at the Université de Savoie in Chambery, longer-term courses are giving way to those of three months duration or less, spokesperson Karine Patrouillault comments. Meanwhile, at Accord Ecole de Langues in Paris, where accommodation costs are very high, Managing Director François Pfeiffer observes that students now tend to condense their studies into a shorter period by taking super-intensive, rather than intensive, programmes. The latter course type allows students to take the same number of lessons but in less time, and so with half the accommodation costs.

Frédérique Di Tullio, Director at Lyon Bleu International advises that the effects of the economic crisis mean students want to pay less money, have shorter stays, book last-minute and also demand cheap accommodation. As a result, she says the school has introduced new discounted accommodation offers for the summer.

Demand for cheaper programmes has also led Escapade Paris to alter their course offerings, and, says spokesperson Delphine Crevelle, it has introduced a General French course with a higher maximum number of students per class in order to offer a more attractive price.

The visa situation in France is not so much of an obstacle as in some other countries, with Groupement FLE working with the government to iron out any issues. However, as always, schools have encountered difficulties in some markets, thus hampering enrolments. “We have problems with the Maghreb countries [of north-west Africa] and Africa. And we also have some problems with the countries of the east: Russia, Ukraine,” observes Evelyne Buisson-Chavot of CUEF at the Université de Stendhal, Grenoble 3.

Overall, however, government policy towards the industry appears to be moving in the right direction. “The French government seems to pay more attention to our problems,” comments William Rubinstein, Director at International House (IH) Nice. Furthermore, an agreement has been reached between the French and Libyan governments for 300 Libyans to learn French in France for a year. As a result, IH Nice recently enrolled eight Libyan students.

The increase in the number of scholarship programmes and opportunities offered by Middle Eastern countries has resulted in “a very positive impact on demand” at Accent Français, according to Commerical Director, Virginie Courau.

Indeed, while results of our survey reveal considerable fluctuation in the top ten student nationalities compared with the previous year, the most notable trend commented on by providers was the increase in numbers coming from both the Middle East, as well as South America.

“Brazil has increased a lot,” notes Courau at Accent Français, while Di Tullio attributes a rise in numbers from both Colombia and Venezuela to the school’s increased marketing in the region, as well as the growing reputation of Lyon as a destination in those markets – an experience which has been repeated in the Middle East.

While Spanish and Italian enrolments were up in 2012 overall among those sampled in the survey, a number of language schools have recently experienced a contrary trend. At Escapade Paris, for example, Crevelle notes that in autumn 2012 there were several groups from Italy studying with European scholarships, which have so far not been awarded again this year, with negative consequences for enrolments.

Our survey showed a slight downward shift in the proportion of students being recruited via agents, dropping from 54 per cent down to 51 per cent in 2012. Internet recruitment simultaneously rose from 28 per cent to 31 per cent of the total, while agency costs reduced from 28 per cent of total marketing spend in 2011 to 24 per cent.

Nevertheless, both methods remain core to language school recruitment policy. At Accent Français, where the website has long been an important tool, “We started working with agencies quite late compared to our bigger competitors,” Courau observes, “but we can say that, since 2007, this has been one of the most successful methods.”

According to Di Tullio, “Lyon Bleu has been developing mainly contacts with agents, participating [in] workshops and travelling to meet agents in their office.” Noting the majority of Escapade’s students come through agents, the strategy used by Escapade is similar, and Crevelle reports, “Our main way of increasing our number of agent partners is through the professional workshops and, of course, by visiting them in their own country or inviting them to come to France to meet with us and visit our schools.”

At IH Nice, Rubinstein says a more visible website has increased the number of direct students, while IHWO roadshows have proved successful, particularly in Turkey and Asia. The role of social media is also beginning to grow, with Valerie Perez of Ecole des Trois Ponts in Riorges commenting, “Social networks are getting good for us.”

The overall combination of positive and negative influences has resulted in mixed results for French language schools over the past year. While demand overall appears to have remained fairly steady, a proportion of schools report a fall in enrolments, while others – such as Alliance Française Nice (+10 per cent) and French in Normandy (+25 per cent) enjoyed increases.

One area where demand appears to be growing is exam preparation – perhaps reflecting a desire to maximise return on investment by securing a visible outcome. Jean-Philippe Perez of Alliance Française highlights the launch of new courses to prepare for the TCF and Delf exams, while Chavot reports of a brand new preparation course for Delf and Dalf.

The Paris-based Centre Audiovisuel de Royan pour l’Etude de Langues (Carel) is another institution that has recently launched Delf and Dalf preparation courses, among others, according to spokesperson Melinda Chillet, while French in Normandy has diversified its Delf and Dalf offerings, comments spokesperson, Eleri Maitland.

For the year ahead, there is a very real concern that Europe’s economic woes will not improve, and that financial caution is only set to continue. For Perez at Alliance Française, this means that only the best schools will survive. Therefore, the challenge, according to Maitland, is “to keep moving forward in teaching terms” – with new equipment and training for staff – plus to keep improving levels of service. “The key issue for us,” she says, “is that ‘good enough’ is just not good enough, and we work hard to try and keep moving forward on all…fronts.” jvs@hothousemedia.com


Andrew Kinselle of national language school association Groupement FLE talks about how the association has been working this year to assist its members survive and prosper in the face of the European economic crisis.


"I think the general mood is that [2013] will be a ‘so-so’ year. Bookings were slow in the first few months…and some of our members have noted a drop in booking numbers compared with la st year, whilst for some others there have been a larger-than-normal number of last-minute bookings this summer, which have partly compensated. These have however meant difficulties logistically in trying to accommodate and cope with so many late requests.”

With European students thinner on the ground, the matter of visa refusals has become of heightened significance, and the association’s action in this area, collecting case details from its members and – through the Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques (CIEP) – intervening with the various consular authorities, has proved an invaluable service to members over the past year. As Kinselle reports, “The number of cases of refusals seems to have dropped recently, which suggests that the actions of the Groupement FLE have had a positive effect.”

Equally important to members is the association’s quality label, the Label Qualité FLE. As Kinselle underlines, “Quality is clearly becoming more and more important to agents looking to send students to France, [and] also to individuals enrolling on courses directly. The CIEP have recently revamped their website,” he adds, “and the Groupement FLE’s website will be undergoing an overhaul in the next few months, which should make both sites more visible, and make it easier for potential students to find all the information they need before deciding to enroll on a course.”

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, he says, “We will continue to be active in promoting France as THE destination for learning French,” he affirms, “but clearly there are outside factors which are having a greater and greater bearing on whether people choose to come, and also on how long they stay here. Many of our schools benefitted last year from the Italian PON (Programma Operativo Nazionale) contracts which had a very positive effect on booking numbers for autumn, which will unfortunately not be the case this year."


Thank you to the following schools who participated in our student survey: Accent Français; College International de Cannes; Ecole des Trois Ponts; Escapade Schools; ISEFE Universite de Savoie; LSF Montpellier; Planete Langues; Saint-Denis International School.

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.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Britannia Student Services  
ESL Townhouse  
Sakura House  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  
UK Guests Ltd  
Urban Nest Accommodation  

ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
English UK  
EduSA  
English Australia  
Groupement FLE  
International House World Organisation  
MEI  
Quality English  

AUSTRALIA
English Australia  

BELGIUM
CERAN Lingua International  

CANADA
Algoma University  
Centennial College of Appplied Arts and Technology  
Peace Wapiti School Division  
Pickering College  
York University English Language Institute  

CHINA
Mandarin House  
Sino-British College, USST  
Xi'an jiaotong-Liverpool University  

ENGLAND
English UK  
Chichester College  
GSM (Greenwich School of Management)  
International House Bristol  
International House World Organisation  
INTO University Partnerships  
InTuition Languages  
Kaplan International Colleges  
The Language Gallery  
Lila*  
London School of English  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburga’s College  
St Giles International Brighton  

EVENTS
Alphe Brazil  
Alphe Brazil  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alliance Française Lyon  
CAREL  
Groupement FLE  
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris  
Institut de Touraine  
Institut Linguistique Adenet  
IS Aix-en-Provence  
ISEFE - Université de Savoie  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

GERMANY
Carl Duisberg Centren  
F+U Academy of Languages  
Goethe Institut Berlin  

GUADELOUPE
IMLC (Inter-Media Langues Caraïbes)  

HONG KONG
English For Asia  

IRELAND
Cistercian College  
Galway Cultural Institute  
MEI  

JAPAN
Manabi Japanese Language Institute  
Yokohama International Education Academy  

SCOTLAND
Oscars International  

SOUTH AFRICA
EC Cape Town  
EduSA  
EF International Language Centers  
English Language School of Cape Town  
Eurocentres of Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
IH Cape Town  
Jeffreys Bay Language School  
Kurus English  
LAL South Africa  
Language Teaching Centre  
Oxford English Academy   

SWITZERLAND
EF International Language Centers  
TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  

USA
Brown University Continuing Education  
Educatius  
ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Global Language Institute  
University of Arizona  
University of California Berkeley  
University of Maryland Baltimore County  
Zoni Language Centers  




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