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Contents - September 2009

Special report
Creating real appeal
Attracting increasing numbers of study abroad clients requires an agency to have a strong brand image and create a loyal community. Seminars to students, creative publicity strategies and of course online marketing can all enhance an agency’s resonance among their target audience, as Jane Vernon Smith discovers.

Market Report
Canada in a spin
The Canadian language teaching market is still reeling from the effects of swine flu and the global recession although the high school sector has emerged largely unscathed. Meanwhile, providers are looking to market a diverse product range that includes work experience. Nicola Hancox reports.

Regional Focus
Mediterranean France
Glamour, beaches, and inland villages and countryside that could be found nowhere else on earth – France’s southern coastline has so much charm that students are inevitably drawn to the region, as Jane Vernon Smith discovers.

Emotional business

In the world of study abroad, the basic transaction between buyer and seller takes place between language student or academic student and education institution (often via an agency). Education is an emotional, high-stake investment, as the founder of new online education marketplace, Global Campus, put it to me, but it is nevertheless a commodity that is bought and sold.

A disdain for this viewpoint has meant US higher education institutions have shied away from using agents to supply them with students – fearing that this is unethical or that agencies will not have a student’s best interests at heart. However, with the news that IDP and Hobsons are planning to launch themselves into the US market offering student recruitment services, opinions may soon change. It will be interesting to see if these new large “corporate agencies” have greater success than independent agencies in turning the tide of opinion.

Commercial doesn’t have to mean unethical, and as our regular Agency of the Month articles underline, there are many very professional agencies out there that are highly valued by their educator partners. Nevertheless, there are rogues in some markets in particular, such as India. The news that the government there might tighten up regulations for education agencies is therefore welcome news to professionals in the industry.

As I said, the basic transaction in the industry is between student and institution, but in such a diverse and multifarious industry such as ours, there are many other revenue stream potentials. Agencies are the prime example of this – an industry forged on creating essential links between cultures. Another example is student services – accommodation, welfare, ancillary needs such as seamless telephone coverage, access to cash (find out more in next month’s issue) and language proficiency testing are just some of the examples of associated services.

The exam testing field is innovating fast, with one exam provider launching a new academic test this year that allows designated institutions to listen in to an excerpt of a candidate’s oral test. Such a move would have seemed unthinkable a few years ago, but progressive technology forces a rethink of boundaries. Likewise, marketing strategies at agencies are invariably based around the Internet, although face-to-face liaison, much like at industry workshops, remains highly valued.

Emotional Business

UK visa system settling down?
Malvern House acquired by AEC Education
CEC Network in Canada folds due to lack of funds
Study Group launches agent website with instant booking
LAL opens new London school
German giant TUI buys EAC in the UK

Agency News
IDP and Hobsons keen to recruit students for USA
India proposes regulating education agencies

Agency Survey
Spain’s new focus
A growth in business was reported by the majority of agencies that took part in this month’s Spanish Agency Survey, with a clear interest in work-related programmes as well as language learning documented.

A higher proportion of students found the US to be more expensive than their home countries this year, according to the results of this issue’s Feedback survey on students studying English in the USA.

Germany’s flair
Considered the land of poets and thinkers, Germany is a wondrously cultural place. From its grass roots, it has been shaped by the many intellectuals it has spawned; think Beethoven, Einstein and Goethe. Vibrant cities, historical towns and romantic landscapes also await visiting students. Nicola Hancox provides an insiders’ guide.

Russian language programmes
Although a niche sector, Russian language courses appear to attract a consistent wave of students. We find out about some of the Russian language programmes available and the range of typical clients keen to learn this language.

Course Guide
Language-plus courses in Ireland
With Ireland’s famous countryside lending itself to many outdoor leisure pursuits, blending English language learning with horse riding, surfing or golf is an obvious direction for language schools to take. As well as outdoor activities, however, the range of language-plus activities available also includes drama, music, art and dance.

Course Guide
One-to-one in Australia and NZ

UK 2008
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.

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