September 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Agent Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Direction I
Direction II
Special Report
Course Guide
Regional Focus
Market Analysis

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Passionate Spain

Western Europe proved to be a rich source of students for Spanish language schools in 2011. However, schools are also looking to target emergent economies.

Spain’s marketing budget by region (overall %) Student feedback respondents by world region of origin
Western Europe 32%
C&E Europe 25%
North America 22%
Asia 10%
Latin America 4%
Australasia 4%
Middle East 3%
W Europe 65%
Asia 14%
N America 14%
CE Europe 5%
Latin America 1%
No reply 1%

Top nationalites in Spain by student weeks – according to schools, 2011 To practise Spanish with native speakers is ...
German 15%
Swiss 11%
Dutch 9%
Scandinavian & Finnish 9%
American 8%
British 7%
Chinese 5%
Italian 5%
French 4%
Russian 4%

Source: STM Spanish school survey

Quite easy 50%
Very easy 24%
Quite hard 18%
Very hard 6%
(No reply 2%)

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

Five of the institutions profiled paid commission on accommodation

8-11: 0%
12-15: 7%
16-18: 17.5%
19-24: 27.5%
25-30: 26%
30-50: 12%
50+: 10%

Means of recruiting students in Spain, 2011 (schools) How did you find your programme? (students)
Agents 50.5%
Internet 31%
Other means 12.5%
Local bookings 6%
I found it on the internet 46%
It was recommended by an advisor 32%

It was recommended by a friend/relative 19%
I saw it advertised 3%

In my class there are... How will you use your Spanish in the future?
...just the right amount of students and mix of nationalities 76%
...too many students from one other country 10%
...too many students who speak my language 10%
...too many students 3%
(No reply 1%)
For my current or future work 38.5%
For pleasure only 24.5%
For further studies in another Spanish-speaking country 13%
For my university/college studies at home 12%
For further studies in Spain 10%
(No reply 1%)

Compared to your home country, the cost of living in the Spain is...
Higher 11%
About the same 28%
Lower 61%

Total marketing spend by sector and by category in %
Agency costs 42.5%
Commission 32%
Incentives 5%
Agency brochures 5.5%

Travel costs 34%
Agent workshops 15%
Student exhibitions 3%
Advisor visits to school 5%
Entertainment 2%

Trips to agencies 9%
Publicity costs 23.5%
Agent mags etc. 3%
Student mags etc. 2.5%
Brochure, video etc 10%
Internet 8%

3.5 weeks Overall average length of stay

23 hours Average language tuition per week

34% of students booked through an agent or advisor

41% of students had been on another study abroad programme

98% of students would recommend their school

6% average agency commission schools paid on a four week booking in 2011

Key points in STM school survey Spain
Number of participating organisations: nine
Total number of students at the organisations in 2011: 13,018
Total number of student weeks in 2011, estimated: 45,563
Participating schools: Letra Hispanica, Salamanca, Malaca Instituto, Malaga, Instituto Andalusi de Español, Malaga, Escuela de Idiomas Nerja, Nerja, Inturjoven Spanish Courses, Seville, Castila, Centro Internacional de Estudios Hispánicos, Granada, Colegio de España, Salamanca, Spark Spanish, Cádiz, Estudio Sampere, Madrid, Salamanca, Alicante.

Spanish student feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 80 (female 49, male 29, unknown 2)
Average age in years: 27
Average number of students in class: 6
Participating schools: Estudio Sampere, various, ABCHumboldt, Barcelona, Castila, Centro Internacional de Estudios Hispanicos, Granada, Colegio de España, Salamanca, Escuela de Idiomas Nerja, Nerja, Escuela Montalban, Granada, Instituto de Andalusi de Español, Malaga, La Casa del Español, Valladolid, La Janda, La Janda, Malaca Instituto, Malaga, Malaga Si, Malaga, Spark Spanish, Cádiz, Tandem Centro de Idiomas, San Sebastián.

Continuing the trend for growth, Spanish language providers were pleased to report that 2011 business improved over 2010. Of the schools canvassed in our school Status survey all recorded stable or increased business, a finding also documented by the Spanish Federation of Schools of Spanish as a Foreign Language (Fedele), which surveyed its membership earlier this year (see page 57).

“2011 business increased over 2010 for us as we started working with new partner agencies, mainly from Italy and Brazil,” relates Máximo Sepúlveda Ramos from Inturjoven Spanish Courses in Seville and Córdoba. “We also launched a new internship programme in 2011 that contributed to an increase in student numbers,” he adds.

New programmes and new clients helped boost business at Estudio Sampere – which has centres in Madrid, Salamanca and Alicante in Spain and Cuenca in Ecuador. The affordable tuition fees at many of its public universities make Spain an attractive study option for international students, details Sampere. As such, the school launched a brand new university preparation programme last year. The course comprises an intensive course for a minimum of 12 weeks up to level B2, a 30 week university foundation course and registration for the Selectividad exam. In addition, Estudio Sampere added a new academic destination to its offerings, signing a collaboration agreement with a study centre in a residential neighbourhood in Havana, Cuba. Programmes available at the centre include intensive, super intensive, one-to-one and a unique study and travel course enabling students to learn while discovering the surrounding area. Salsa lessons are also available.

“Escuela de Idiomas Nerja has been slowly increasing business results every year since 2000,” attests Luis Carrion, Director of the school. And he puts this down to providing agent partners with an excellent service which, he says, has helped win customer loyalty. Carrion reports no significant changes in source markets but he does highlight how emergent economies, particularly those in Asia, are making them think differently in terms of targeted marketing campaigns. “I think emergent countries and their economies are growing fast; they are our new potential markets. We are receiving enquiries from such clients, so we have to make a strong effort to market ourselves in those countries.” This change in tack is not without its challenges however, and Carrion asserts that such markets need approaching differently. “It is not easy because we have to adapt and understand new mentalities in regards to making business. These types of agents and clients have other views and even cultural particularities that we have to adapt to,” he explains.

Western Europe has long been a traditional source region for Spanish language schools. According to the results of our Status survey, seven of the top 10 nationalities were Western European in origin and show little variation when compared with our 2010 report results (see STM, September 2011, page 88). Germans continued to dominate with a 15 per cent share, albeit less than the 24 per cent this source market accounted for in 2010. The top five principal nationalities cited by member centres in the Fedele report included German, British, Italian, American and French.

According to a representative at Letra Hispánica in Salamanca the school enrolled more Chinese and Brazilian students in 2011, countries they reason, that were not affected too greatly by the economic crisis. Meanwhile, an agreement with a US university helped maintain American student numbers. Careful not to rely on any one source the representative adds, “We currently have a myriad of students from European countries including Denmark, France, Italy, the UK and the Ukraine. This year we even had a group from a school in Ethiopia.”

Malaca Instituto in Malaga made headway in the Turkish, Chinese and Saudi Arabian markets last year observes the school’s Bob Burger. However, while many regard these particular nations as impervious to the global economic crisis, Burger attests there is a little more to it. “It’s more a question of a more open attitude to visas by the Spanish government. These are countries with strong study abroad traditions which only a few years ago did not send students to Spain in significant numbers due to real or perceived visa problems. We are now starting to receive more interest and some students from these countries,” he notes.

Indeed, visa problems, whether real or perceived, are still a major bugbear for educators in Spain. In fact, along with the economic environment, visas were one of the principal factors member centres said affected business most in 2011, according to Fedele members. Carrion flags Asian nationalities in particular. Unfortunately, he adds, visa offices appear to give preferential treatment to those entering university, rather than those looking to enrol at a private language provider. Burger notes that the situation is easing somewhat and markets that were traditionally closed to Spain are now starting to open. Representative bodies Fedele, EduEspaña and other regional associations have been instrumental in this respect, adds Burger. “[They are] continually lobbying the authorities and seeking ways to demonstrate not only the economic importance of the sector but also the seriousness and responsibility of the schools in dealing with this issue,” he comments.

As evidenced by the Fedele report, economic factors such as the ongoing changes between the relative value of the euro compared with other world currencies were felt acutely by Spanish educators in 2011. Sampere cites “euro fluctuations” as having an effect on US enrolments in 2011. He explains that the school works extensively with the US market, but the strong euro made their job that much more difficult last year.

Rita Alcoholado Fah at Instituto Andalusi de Español in Malaga notes there has been a noticeable shift in consumer age/type owing to the crisis. “Nowadays courses for younger students are the trend; adults spend less money on their own education because they would rather spend it on their children, so that they will have a better future. This is the reason why we are lacking adult students who come in the low season, as well as in the summer.” However, they see a lot of potential in Eastern Europe going forward, she says.

With the economic crisis hitting Spain hard, businesses that made their market debut in 2011 faced a challenging task. Douglas Haines at Spark Spanish in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz notes economic circumstance complicated their start up in July 2011. “That is why we are trying to succeed in being personal, fresh and innovative.” Indeed, Haines refers to the school’s diverse product range including Español Total, a full weekend away with a teacher to the foothills of Cádiz, or Spanish Language Holiday Packages which combine Spanish with specific interests. Innovative thinking has carried over into 2012 with the imminent launch of a new Spanish plus Cycling Adventure course. Haines is confident their personal and passionate approach to student learning will ensure that business continues to grow in 2012. Attendance at this year’s Alphe UK and ICEF Berlin events will help open up new markets for them, he adds.

Survey snapshot

If we track and monitor recruitment methods employed by Spanish language schools in 2011, a majority of international students were recruited via agent partners, up 7.5 percentage points to 50.5 per cent (see STM, September 2011, page 88). This was followed by direct bookings via a school’s website (31 per cent). If we compare these results with those of our student survey, however, a greater proportion reported that they first found out about their school via an Internet search (46 per cent). Agents still proved a valuable source of information, with 32 per cent of student respondents noting that their school was recommended to them by an educational advisor. In addition, 34 per cent booked a course directly upon agent advice received.

There was little change in average length of stay for students in 2011, 3.5 weeks compared with 3.2 weeks. The average cost of a one month course however edged ever closer to the 1700 (US$861) mark, 1681 (US$838) compared with 1615 (US$756) previously*.

In terms of accommodation, the largest number of student respondents said they were staying in a host family environment (32.5 per cent), followed by a single room in a residential facility (25 per cent). A high percentage (71 per cent) rated their accommodation as either excellent or good. Interestingly, according to our schools survey, five institutions paid agent partners commission on accommodation, averaging six per cent on a four-week booking. The average cost of a one-week stay in residential accommodation was 1165 (US$203), compared with 1172 (US$212), while students could expect to pay, on average, 1192 (US$236) for a one-week host family stay in 2011, compared with 1190 in 2010*.

Ana Cózar from Fedele talks about the findings of a recent member survey

“After a pronounced fall in the number of students of Spanish in our centres in 2009, 2010 was a year of recovery for our sector, with an increase in business which was also reflected in the number of centres which requested to become members of Fedele. This growth trend, which started in 2010, was maintained in 2011. In a survey conducted in January 2012 of all Fedele centres, 50 per cent of respondents stated that their student numbers had stayed stable and 30 per cent of them said their numbers had increased between 15 and 25 per cent. With regard to their annual turnover, replies showed that it had stayed stable for 40 per cent of respondents and improved for 32 per cent of them. In this same survey, all our centres were asked about their expectations for 2012, 63 per cent perceived that there would be no increase in business, whereas 25 per cent remained optimistic about the student/week numbers forecast. It is worth noting that, as the survey results show, the fall in turnover generated by traditional markets such as Nordic countries, the USA and Canada had been compensated by the growth in student numbers from Russia, China and the Arabic countries. Concerning the image of Spain as a destination for cultural immersion stays, it appears that whereas the adverse economic news in the international press has had a negative effect on certain groups, Spanish sporting victories have stirred up the desire to travel to our country. Delays in the visa granting process continue to be the main obstacle for the growth in the student numbers of certain emergent nationalities.”

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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.






Britannia Student Services

English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

Impact English College  
Access Macquarie Limited  
Bond University  
English Australia  
Flinders University  
ILSC Australia  
International House Sydney Teacher Training & Prof  
Language Studies International  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  
University of Newcastle Language Centre  
UNSW Global Pay Limited (University of New South W  

CERAN Lingua International  

GTMI Global Tailor Made Idiomas  

Bow Valley College  
Connect School of Languages  
East Coast School of Languages (ECSL)  
English School of Canada  
Global Village  
Hansa Language Centre of Toronto  
Humber College  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
ILSC Australia  
ITTTI Vancouver  
Omnicom School of Languages  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Niagara College  
Ottawa International Student Programmes (OISP)  
Study Abroad Canada  
Vancouver English Centre  
Guard. Me  
Ingle International  

Latin Immersion  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  
Mandarin House  

Barnsley College  
Bell International  
Cambridge Education Group  
Camp Beaumont  
d'Overbroeck's College  
Study Group  
International House Bristol  
International House London  
International House World Organisation  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Prime Education  
LAL London  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of Business & Finance  
Malvern House College London  
Mayfair School of English  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
St Giles International  
Sussex Coast College Hastings  
English in Chester  
Twin Group  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Westminster Kingsway College  
Wimbledon School of English  

British Boarding Schools Workshop  
IALC International  
IEFT- International Education Fairs of Turkey  

Cambridge Esol  
City and Guilds Branch Office in Europe  
Trinity College London  

Tadra Institute  

Accent Francais  
Alliance Française Paris Ile de France  
Ecole Suisse Internationale  
France Langue  
French in Normandy  
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

Sprachcaffe Languages Plus  

English For Asia  

Active Language Learning  
ATC Language & Travel  
Clare Language Centre  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Galway Language Centre  
Horner School of English  
IH Dublin  
Language College Ireland  
MEI Ireland  
MLI International Schools  
University College Cork Language Centre  

Yokohama International Education Academy  

EC English Language Centre  
inlingua Malta  

Pay to Study/FELCA  

Good Hope Studies  
EC Cape Town  
inlingua Language Training Centre Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape Town  
English Language School Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
Jeffrey's Bay Language School  
LAL Cape Town  
Kurus English CC  
International House Cape Town  

International House - Sevilla CLIC  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  
Xul Comunicación Social  

EF International Language Centers  
Eurocentres International  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  


Besant Hill School  
California State University San Marcos  
ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Glenholme School  
Liberty University  
New York Military Academy  
Saint John's University  
University of Arizona  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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