Contents - September 2007

Special Report
Making it official
The whole question of language school accreditation has been given a new slant since authorities in Australia and the USA have created a link between accreditation status and eligibility to accept international students needing a student visa. With the UK now about to go down the same road, Jane Vernon Smith looks at this new dimension.

Agent workshops
Agent workshops are a familiar part of the language travel landscape and some events are a must for schools and agents each year. While they generally share a basic premise ? that of getting agents and schools in one place to do business ? the variety of options are as broad as the industry itself. Jane Vernon Smith finds out what's on offer.

Intimate Italy
Like many Mediterranean destinations, Italy is associated with quintessential holiday ingredients: good food, ice cream, beaches, sunshine and interesting cities and villages oozing cultural appeal. All this is on offer for students interested in studying Italian in a friendly, personalised environment, as Amy Baker finds out.


Moving forward

This issue’s Special Report on accreditation is a timely one, given the news that a language school in Glasgow has recently closed down leaving students stranded and with no way of contacting the school for a refund (page 6). Being accredited may not prevent a language school closing down unexpectedly – and there exist hundreds of truly excellent non-accredited schools – but accreditation schemes usually require schools to have measures in place to deal more effectively with the aftermath. Luckily, in this instance, two other language schools in the city, both recognised by Accreditation UK, stepped in to provide language courses to affected students.

Our Special Report this month examines the inexorable movement towards linking accreditation with visa issuance, which has been adopted by many of the major language travel destinations worldwide (page 36). The lack of government regulation in the language travel industry has undoubtedly been detrimental to ensuring a destination’s reputation overseas, and increased synergy between governments and associations is largely welcomed by those involved. At the time of going to press, the UK government was expected to release details of an official rule change that will require all educational institutions, including language schools, to be accredited by a designated body before they can enrol student visa holders.

The French language teaching industry is also getting in on the act with the recent announcement of first language schools to be awarded the Label Qualité Français Langue Étrangère (page 7). French language school association, FLE, is also due to develop its own accreditation scheme for members and any industry-led attempts to raise professional standards should be applauded.

Extensive regulation can be a help and also a hindrance and we should remember that the majority of those working in the language travel industry do so out of a love for the job rather than financial gain and instances of bad practice are thankfully few and far between. Our Destination feature on Italy this month highlights some of the smaller operators in this beautiful country and emphasises the friendly, family atmosphere that pervades schools with a genuine interest in the well-being of their students (page 54). Overall, it is to be hoped that increased regulation in the industry will prevent the few bad operators from tarnishing the reputation of the whole industry.

Moving forward

UK language school closes doors to students
Two quality labels for French language schools
Language school provides bursary for university fees
"Languages in crisis" in Australia
Nova suspends operations

Travel News
Unsafe airlines face EU ban
Terminal's grand opening
Global tourism on the increase

Agency News
Ryugaku Journal study fair
New Zealand hosts agents from Korea and Germany

Agency Survey
China soars
Increasing demand for education overseas whipped up momentum in the Chinese language travel market in 2006, and with China's economy on the up it looks likely that this sector will continue to grow in the future.

Malta is becoming increasingly popular with Asian language travellers, as well as with business people and professionals looking to learn English abroad.

Course Guide
Russian in Russia
Russian is estimated to be spoken by around 170 million people worldwide and is predominantly spoken by many of the Slavic nations and former republics of the Soviet Union. However, it is also one of the official languages of the United Nations and in terms of language learning, Russia continues to attract a healthy number of international students to its institutions.

Executive courses in France
Business language courses provide professionals with useful language training to help them operate within the multi-lingual corporate environment and language schools in France are expanding their course range in this area to meet demand.

City Focus
Munich's many faces
Munich is both a high tech, world-class city, with plenty going on, and a relaxed traditional Bavarian town that really knows how to enjoy itself. Gillian Evans finds out more.

The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. For the first time, it is possible to compare world market statistics.