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Contents - September 2010

City Focus
Beijing’s rising sun
As the political, economic, cultural and educational hub of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is an exciting juxtaposition of old traditions and new-age thinking. Nicola Hancox takes a tour of this ancient citadel.

The human touch

Some schools in the language travel industry have been going through genuine hard times in recent months as economic hardship, coupled with unhelpful immigration decisions have taken their toll. A local London paper reports that one language school in the city is down by UK£80,000 (US$119,814) in lost business due to government restriction on student visa holders earlier in the year.

The recent Judicial Review against the Home Office by English UK has seen these restrictions lifted but they are still to be debated in Parliament and could well be brought in again in the future. And the decision may come too late to reverse the damage done to the UK’s important summer season. English UK values the UK English teaching sector as adding £1.5 billion (US$2.2 billion) to the UK economy so this could be an expensive mistake for the government.

Australia too has seen a number of vocational colleges and language schools close down in recent months due in part to immigration decisions that have restricted immigration pathways for international students and raised the bar when it comes to students having the funds to support themselves while staying in the country.

In times like these, customer service and presenting a human face when doing business becomes even more important. Our Special Report feature this month focuses on the experiences of students when using an agent to book their language course. Interestingly, despite the dominance of the Internet in most people’s lives, the largest group of students said that they did not find their agent online but instead used the recommendations of friends. A high number also had a face-to-face meeting with their agent when booking their course and many also said that they valued continued contact from the agent when overseas.

Despite living in a digital age were anonymity is more often the norm, students, schools and agents all attest to the value of personal contacts when doing business. Our workshops feature supports this view as the workshop industry goes from strength to strength with new events springing up around the world. The formation of a sector-wide consortium of education associations in Canada also points to the importance of joined-up thinking and working together when times get hard. Canada’s international education industry appears to be doing well in the current economic climate and a unified voice for the entire industry can only consolidate this.

The human touch

Canadian associations form marketing consortium
Tier 4 visa English language level change
Australia amends Esos Act
Study Group sold to US private equity firm
International House welcomes new affiliate
Languages Canada gains BC recognition

Agency News
Agency promotes green language travel
Mauritian agents de-registered
New Zealand to reward study abroad advisors

Agency Survey
Tactical Spain
Despite stilted business growth over the last 12 months, Spanish agencies report a change in tactics could help recovery. Variations in study destination, a change in sector speciality and a finely-tuned programmes list have been suggested as possible solutions.

Short programmes and a greater number of students from Central and Eastern Europe characterised this year’s Feedback survey as visa changes already seem to have influenced the nationality breakdown at UK language schools.

English plus sports in Australia
Learning English in Australia while also receiving tuition in a sport such as surfing, scuba diving or tennis is a popular option for all ages, and schools all over the country are getting in on the act.

Course Guide
US Juniors
English language programmes that target younger learners (up to the age of 16) typically combine language tuition with varied and exciting activities, whether they be sports, cultural excursions or arts & crafts. Here, we profile a number of language schools in the USA that offer year-round or summer options.

Spain 2009

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