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September 2010 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction I
Direction II
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
City Focus
Status

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Workshop buzz

Agent workshops are an important part of our industry, bridging the globe by bringing together educators and agents from all over the world to do business. Gillian Evans takes a closer look.

So what’s so good about workshops where agents and education consultants meet with language schools, colleges and universities and other companies related to the industry? Well, according to Jorge Taboada, Director of Universities & Schools of America in Argentina, “[Workshops provide] the best access to up-to-date information needed for serious and professional work. Also you [get to] know personally the key people to develop your business.”

There are many different types of workshops: workshops for providers and agents from all over the world; workshops that are open only to educators that are part of an association or group; regional workshops that bring global educators to agents from a specific region; destination workshops that bring agents from around the world to educators from one country or region; and sector-specific workshops that are open to providers catering for just one sector of the market.

All workshops offer both educators and agents an unrivalled chance of networking. “I attend workshops to meet new agents, to follow up with existing agents, gain additional knowledge about the current international student recruitment industry, to network with colleagues and to stay up-to-date with what’s happening within the industry,” relates Dena Luong, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at the School of English at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, in Canada.

Like Luong, Pierre Lincourt at Université du Quebec at Chicoutimi, QC, Canada, values the networking opportunities of workshops with both agents and other university and school representatives. “[It’s] very important to meet people in the same business field as yours,” he explains. “It helps to put things in perspective since they all encounter the same situations within their business and are able to make you feel better about the way you handle your own things.”

Terry Falck, Marketing Executive at Harrow House International College in Swanage in the UK, says he likes attending workshops “to meet our partners and give them information about the coming year and hopefully find new agents in the countries we are looking for”.

Socialising
Apart from the scheduled meetings during the day, other opportunities for networking are provided during social events, such as evening dinners, drinks receptions and city tours. The ICEF Berlin Workshop Party is a social programming highlight, complete with buffet, live band and plenty of dancing. Meanwhile, Jane Gilham, Alphe Manager, outlines the social events at the Alphe Conferences: “Each has a networking drinks reception on the evening before the first day of meetings, which is usually quite informal. On the middle evening there is a networking dinner, and at Alphe UK London, delegates get to attend the Language Travel Magazine Star Awards on the Saturday night. These networking events are always very well received and help to build relationships that have begun at the workshop table.”

Taboada agrees. “Social events are the ‘salt and pepper’ of the workshops,” he says. “The working stress disappears. You can socialise and make new international friends. Social events during workshops help a lot to develop business.”

Claire Easterbrook at the International Language Centre at Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka, New Zealand, also emphasises the importance of the social events. “Sometimes what you don’t cover in your ‘normal’ workshop day you can catch up with socially,” she says.

Many workshops such as StudyWorld, Ialc and Fedele also organise familiarisation trips, which provide an opportunity to get a taste of a number of schools and locations. Rafael Lopez, Marketing Director at the Montreal International Institute of Language Arts in Montreal, QC, Canada, asserts, “Through fam trips, agents get to know the real school and the students.”

Fam trips can be organised by the workshop organiser or arranged by groups of schools who get together to invite interested agents to visit their schools after or before a workshop. They can be a good way for agents to maximise their time away from the office and visit areas or schools that they may not be familiar with.

“Fam trips are a good chance to visit many schools in a limited time,” agrees Mamiko Tautschi at Cosmolingua in Switzerland. “Usually [they are] very well organised by participating schools. Apart from the fact that we can learn more about the cities and surroundings of schools, they are also very useful to compare the location and facilities of different schools.”

For many workshop organisers, fam trips are an add-on that can make the difference when agents are deciding which of the many workshops to attend in one year. Spanish schools federation, Fedele, is planning to add three regional fam trips to its annual meeting next year. “The three regional fam trips are a new concept giving the possibility to visit schools in three different areas of Valencia (Eastern Spain), Castilla-León and Madrid (Centre) and Andalucia (the South),” says Mariana Dima at Fedele.

For Ialc members, being given the chance to host a workshop – which is rotated every year to a different member – is a unique chance to show off their school and area to the best advantage. Jan Capper at the association says, “Our workshop is traditionally hosted by a member. The whole school puts its heart into the event as it’s a unique chance to show agents your school and city. Galway in 2010 was fantastic – truly special evening events with world-champion Irish dancers and an exotic theatre troupe.”

Seminars
Some workshops offer other add-ons, such as seminars or sample language lessons for agents. Capper explains the development of seminars for agents at the Ialc workshop. “We’ve been running seminars for members for several years as part of the annual general meeting. They’re very popular, so in 2009 we launched a modest seminar programme for agents as well. Last year’s topics were Marketing through Social Media and the Ialc Partner Agency Scheme. We had good attendance and good feedback, so in 2010 we offered seminars [again].”

As well as fam trips, the IH workshop includes an “alternative programme” for free agencies, which promote the IH brand. Christina Margraf, Business Development Manager at IH World Organisation, explains, “This programme usually includes presentations about IH, the hosting school in particular and the workshop destination.”

For attendees, seminars can be a good way to gain more information about a particular area of the industry, such as visas or student trends. Taboada says he finds some seminars at workshops very useful. “I remember a workshop in Canada where I attended sample language lessons and I selected the school to work with for this reason. I just saw the quality of the institution [first hand]. The same happened this time with other agents from my country.”

Improvements
But the main reason for attending workshops is to enable school representatives and agents to meet in a formal setting and present their businesses to each other. It can therefore be highly frustrating if agents do not turn up for their appointments, says Luong. “Sometimes appointments get cancelled last minute by the agent or they arrive late or they simply don’t attend. I feel these issues need to be addressed since schools pay a substantial amount of money to attend these workshops. There are no consequences for those who show up late or who attend the appointments but are clearly disinterested. Perhaps there needs to be more of an incentive for agents to attend meetings,” she says.

Ensuring the quality and seriousness of the agents that attend workshops can therefore make or break a good event. Among ICEF’s portfolio of events is the Higher Education Workshop, held in Paris. At such a highly targeted event it is vital that the right agents attend. To this end, says Korinne Algie, Marketing and Communications Manager at ICEF, “The agents must prove that they are actively sending students to higher education institutions, usually through references from HE institutions, before they are accepted to attend. This is in addition to the usual screening requirements. Feedback shows that educators really appreciate the focus of the event – there is no time wasting with non-compatible agents.”

Other workshop improvements suggested by schools and agents include a longer appointment time, more space between tables, and making workshops more affordable. John Allinson, Principal of Parkland International Language School in the UK, says that attending a workshop is not financially viable for them. “I miss the buzz and friendship that can be found at these events. The hard financial facts are that it is quite a large amount of money to spend in return for agent-originated clientele. A small business like ours needs to expand its private contacts and the more lucrative profit margins they engender.”

Introducing distinct areas of specific providers into one area of a larger workshop is also a relatively new idea for ICEF. “The Work and Travel Zone (WTZ) worked really well as part of the Berlin workshop,” says Algie. “By bringing the WTZ into the event we were able to give work and travel providers greater opportunity to network across a broad range of agents, educators and other service providers. It also made them part of the buzz that is the Berlin workshop,” she adds.

Expansion and change
Workshop organisers continue to develop their range of events, either by expanding the destinations of the workshops, targeting them at particular market sectors or adding features to their existing workshops.

For example, this year Alphe UK offers a Directors’ Club to owners and board members of agencies and schools, which focuses on the importance of informal networking at agent workshops. Gilham explains more: “Directors’ Club members can attend Alphe, have full access to the conference, café and all dinners and events but do not need to make any formal 30-minunte appointments.“

Meanwhile, English UK, which hosts the annual StudyWorld workshop in London, has been expanding its range of “boutique“ workshops. Together with the British Council, UK Trade and Investment, and VisitBritain, English UK organises overseas educator-agent workshops under the name of English UK Fairs. This year, a fair was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in March, which brought together 21 English UK members and 43 agents. A further fair, this time in Hanoi in Vietnam, is to take place in November. “The success and popularity of these events is based on their small size and friendly, relaxed atmosphere – they give educators and agents a better chance to get to know each other and develop productive partnerships,” says Jodie Gray, International Marketing Manager at English UK.

Gray adds that they are planning on increasing the programme of overseas fairs to three per year for 2010. “Positive feedback from our member centres and the agents who have attended our previous events indicated that there is a strong demand for smaller boutique fairs focused on the English language teaching centre.”

Alphe has also extended its reach recently with the launch of its seventh event, Alphe Istanbul, after identifying a gap in the market. “We decided to launch Alphe Istanbul as there are no other workshops in this important region,” explains Gilham. “Our first event this year was a great success, with 74 schools and 95 agencies taking part.”

ICEF has also expanded its range of workshops to offer three separate America events, instead of the all-encompassing ICEF Americas workshop which was held until 2008. Now the workshops are split between Latin America, which takes place this month in São Paulo, Brazil and North America, most notably Miami and Toronto. Algie outlines the reasons behind this move. “As the US market warms up to using agents – particularly in the higher education sector, and Canadian institutions become increasingly pro-active in their recruitment strategies, the demand for the ICEF North America Workshop has increased. For example, we sold out both Miami in December and then Toronto in May less than six months later.”

All this activity in the workshop sector is proof of the huge demand there is from both educators and agents for such events. As Daniel Bertole, Director General of Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza, puts it, workshops are the places where “people and information come together”.



Workshop stories

“We gave away an airfare at what was then the Arels fair in the 1990s. I saw the winner last year in Japan. He told me he had given his airfare prize to his host family lady so she could fly to Japan and meet her ex-homestay students”
Scott Wade, Alphe

“Angus Tuck and Helen Cox of South Australian College of English deserve a medal for their determination not to let a volcano stop them attending the Ialc Workshop. Their flight from Australia was one of the ones cancelled and they were offered a new flight a week after the event. So they kept their suitcases packed and were ready to leave at a moment’s notice. They called the airlines every day, eventually grabbing two seats last-minute and travelling 24 hours to arrive for the second day of the workshop and gala dinner!”
Jan Capper, Ialc

“I know two educational agents that fell in love at a workshop 10 years ago till today”
Jorge Taboada, Universities & Schools of America

“Two agents from India were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. The husband surprised his wife by taking to the stage at StudyWorld’s 40th anniversary evening reception and announced to the audience it was their anniversary and presented her with a beautiful ring”
Jodie Gray, English UK



List of events

Alphe UK
Location: London, UK
Event open to what type of educators: Universities, language schools, secondary schools workdwide
No. of schools in 2009: 183
No. of agencies in 2009: 237

Ialc
Location: Shanghai, China 2011
Event open to what type of educators: Ialc member schools
No. of schools in 2010: 102
No. of agencies in 2010: 107

StudyWorld
Location: London, UK
Event open to what type of educators: Accredited or government-approved language schools and higher education providers
No. of schools in 2009: 226
No. of agencies in 2009: 306

English UK Fairs
Location: various
Event open to what type of educators: English UK members only
No. of schools in 2009/2010: 30
No. of agencies in 2009/2010: 40

IH Workshop
Location: Valencia, Spain 2011
Event open to what type of educators: IH affiliated schools
No. of schools in 2010: 38
No. of agencies in 2010: 46

ICEF Higher Education Workshop
Location: Paris, France
Event open to what type of educators: officially accredited international universities, colleges, select providers of foundation and pathway courses
No. of schools in 2009: 46
No. of agencies in 2009: 63

ICEF Belin
Location: Berlin, Germany
Event open to what type of educators: Universities, language schools and secondary schools worldwide
No. of schools in 2009: 451
No. of agencies in 2009: 640

MEI
Location: Cork, Ireland 2010
Event open to what type of educators: MEI members
No. of schools in 2009: 45
No. of agencies in 2009: 71

Fedele
Location: TBC
Event open to what type of educators: Instituto Cervantes accredited Spanish language schools
No. of schools in 2008: 57
No. of agencies in 2008: 20

Anza Workshop, 2011
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Event open to what type of educators: all accredited educators in Australia and New Zealand
No. of schools in 2010: 142
No. of agencies in 2010: 147

British Boarding Schools Workshop
Location: Windsor, UK
Event open to what type of educators: British boarding schools
No. of schools in 2009: 55
No. of agencies in 2009: 71

Contact any advertiser in 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  
Nido Student Living  
Sara's New York
      Homestay LLC  
Unite  

ASSOCIATIONS/ GROUPS
ABLS  
English Australia 
Feltom
Groupement FLE 
IALC International 
International House
      World Organisation
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
MEI  
Perth Education City
Quality English
The English Network

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences  
English Australia  
Globus Education
      Agency  
IALC International  
IEFT- International
      Education Fairs of
      Turkey  
International House
      World Organisation  
Ukranian
      International
      Educational Fair  

EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol  
IELTS  
Pearson Education  

GUARDIANSHIP
COMPANIES
Bright World
      Guardianships  

INSURANCE
Dr. Walter GmbH  
Student Guard
      Insurance  

SERVICES
ICEF  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

AUSTRALIA
Bond University  
Carrick Institute of
      Education  
La Trobe
      University  
Language
      Studies International
NAVITAS  
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  

BELGUIM
CERAN Lingua
      International  

CANADA
Bow Valley College
Braemar
      International
      College  
CLLC  
East Coast School
      of Languages  
English Bay College  
English School of
      Canada  
Eurocentres Canada  
Geos North America  
Global Village  
ILSC  
International
      Language School of
      the YMCAs Quebec
Language Studies
      International  
LSC Language
      Studies Canada  
National School
      of Languages  
Niagara College  
Queen's University  
Richmond School
      District #38  
Saint Mary's
      University  
SAIT Polytechnic  
Stewart College of
      Languages  
Study Abroad
      Canada  
Thompson Rivers
      University  
University of Victoria  
Vancouver English
      Centre  

CHINA
iMandarin
      Language Training
      Institute  
Mandarin House  

EGYPT
IH Cairo  

ENGLAND
ABC Languages  
Bury Language
      School  
Cambridge
      Education Group  
Camp Beaumont  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
      Hove  
English Studio  
Hove College  
INTO University
      Partnerships  
Kaplan International
      Colleges  
Kings Colleges  
LAL Central
      Marketing Office  
Language in Group  
London Metropolitan
      University  
Malvern House
      College London  
Pearson Education  
Quality English  
Queen Ethelburga's
      College  
Shakespeare College  
SKOLA  
Spinnaker College  
St Giles Colleges  
Study Group  
SUL Language
      Schools  
Thames Valley
      Summer Schools  
The English
      Network  
Twin Group  
Unite  
University of
      Cambridge ESOL
      Examinations  
University of
      Essex -
      International
      Academy  
Wimbledon School
      of English  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alliance Française
      Paris Ile de France  
Alpha B - Institut
      Linguistique  
CLE  
College International
      de Cannes  
Ecole PERL  
Ecole Suisse
      Internationale  
Education En France
Idiom  
Institut de Langue
      et de Culture
      Françaises - ILCF  
Langue Onze
      Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu
      International  
Paris Langues /
      Club CEI des 4
      Vents
Universite de
      Paris Sorbonne  

GERMANY
Sprachcaffe
      International /
      Languages Plus  

GREECE
Filomathia  

GUADELOUPE
Media Langues
     Caraibes  

HONG KONG
ALLTERE
      Education Group  

IRELAND
Alpha College of
      English  
Centre of English
      Studies  
Horner School of
      English  
Linguaviva
      Centre  
MEI  

JAPAN
Tamagawa
      International
      Language School  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
EC English
      Language Centre  
English Language
      Academy  
Feltom
Global Village  
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.  

SOUTH AFRICA
EC Cape Town  
EF - SA  
English in Africa
      Language School  
Eurocentres Cape
      Town  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town  
Interlink School
      of Languages  
International House
      Cape Town  
Kurus English CC  
LAL Cape Town  

SPAIN
Inturjoven  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga Si  
Universitat
      Internacional de
      Catalunya  

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
Eurocentres
      International  

USA
ELS Language
      Centers  
IH New York  
Julian Krinsky
      Camps & Programs
Language
      Consultants
      International, LCI
University of
      Arizona 
University of
      California Riverside
University of
      California San Diego  
Zoni Language
      Centers  



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