September 2015 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Agency Survey
Direction 1
Direction 2
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2 Industry Faces
Tertiary Focus
Special Report
Regional Focus
Course Guide
Market Analysis

Advertising Index:
Request information from our advertisers

Digital version
To view this page in the digital issue click on this graphic.

Back issues

Status Survey

Download Mediapack

Get a Free Copy

Calendar of events
Useful links
StudyTravel Magazine
11-15 Emerald Street
London, England
T: +44 (0)20 7440 4020
F: +44 (0)20 7440 4033
Pacific Office
T/F: +61 (0)8 9341 1820

Other products

Part of

Spanish stability

Despite a stable 2014, there are some concerns that the language teaching market in Spain is becoming increasingly overcrowded. Schools are tackling this head-on by creating new programmes and freshening up their marketing techniques, as Georgina Deacon finds out.

With Spain at the tail-end of its recession, business was healthy throughout 2014 for language schools in Spain, with some even reporting a big boost in bookings. “At the moment, we are experiencing an increase in the interest shown to study Spanish in southern Spain,” says Lucia Baturone at K2 Internacional in Cadiz. She notes that the best performing nationalities in 2014 were American, German, Italian, French and Dutch.

These key markets for Spain fluctuated from 2013 to 2014. Bookings from Italy were particularly strong, increasing from 6.7 per cent in 2013 to 14.4 per cent in 2014. “Italy is the country in Europe where students are selecting Spanish as the third language faster than the rest of Europe,” says Fernando Ribas at AIP Languages in Valencia. “Apart from that, Valencia has very good flight connections with the whole of Italy with low cost airlines which makes it very easy and affordable to travel here.”

Sophie L’Enfant at Colegio de España in Salamanca said the school also witnessed an increase in Italian students “due to the rising interest in taking short Spanish courses” and the school has continued to extend the target countries they recruit from. Sophie notes that the school has also widened out the number of programmes it offers, including new junior and senior courses, and this has paved the way for more students who are looking for something extra in their Spanish language study. “We think the highest impact is that many countries are getting out of the economic crisis” she adds. Collectively, schools also cited the expansion of Italy’s PON scholarship as another possible reason for the increase.

The traditionally resilient German market also increased in Spain, from 14.9 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2014. “Germans have historically been the strongest nationality among our students,” comments Maria Amoros at TLCdenia in Denia. “However, in recent years, the expansion of the Russian economy has enabled more Russian students to study abroad, especially in our region due to warm weather and proximity to the beach.” Despite political and economic problems, Russian student numbers remained fairly stable in Spain. In our survey, 3.6 per cent of bookings were from Russia, a decline of one percentage point on 2013. Maria adds that the recent crisis in Russia may have an effect on 2015 bookings. “It is preventing Russians from travelling, and if they do, they are waiting until the last minute to make their decision,” she says.

Fernando highlights that Russia was one of the worst performing nationalities at AIP Languages “due to international conflict situation and decrease of rublo”. Chris Haworth at AIL Madrid comments that student numbers from Russia “held up remarkably well” during 2014, although he adds, “After the issues in Russia and the devaluation of their exchange rate, I expect to see a reduction of student numbers in 2015.”

Overall bookings at AIL Madrid grew by 22 per cent in 2014. Although Chris says it’s difficult to know what to attribute this growth to, he notes that 32 per cent of students chose the school based on referrals from former students. One nationality that performed particularly well was American. “Spain generally, and Madrid specifically, continues to be a fashionable destination for American students and for the first time in 2014, it was our most represented country in terms of student numbers.” says Chris. “I have spoken to many American students who have cited the desire to learn ‘pure Spanish’, as well as the weak euro, as their main reasons.”

The USA is a strong market for language schools in Spain with 11 per cent and 10.4 per cent of bookings in 2012 and 2013 respectively, although it experienced a decline in 2014 to 4.8 per cent. Ana Cózar, Director of the Spanish language association Fedele reports that it is too early to tell if this is a trend – indeed, in Fedele’s own annual data released earlier this year (ST Magazine, July 2015, page 6), the USA was the third largest source market for Spanish language schools. The association also reported Italy as its largest source market, followed by Germany in second place.

Despite the stability of this sector, which can largely be attributed to fresh marketing, creating new, more varied programmes, and updating and adding to onsite facilities, schools report that the market is becoming increasingly overcrowded. “I personally believe the Spanish language sector in Spain is quite saturated at the moment with too many companies offering the same products, and I feel right now the overall market demand isn’t increasing enough to feed the number of schools out there,” says Douglas Haines at SparkSpanish in Cadiz.

“Big competitors are pushing with low prices, making it more difficult for the smaller schools,” says Iris Mennenga at Cervantes Escuela Internacional in Malaga. However, while larger schools can offer cheaper prices, smaller language institutions can have the edge when it comes to offering a more personal service. Chris at AIL Madrid relates this is especially true when compared to university language programmes. “Their ability to be able to offer university credits is a big plus for undergraduate students,” he says. “However, in the long-term, the universities tend to struggle to offer the flexibility and personalised service that private language schools do.”

Responding to this, many Spanish language schools have increased their offerings by revitalising old courses and adding new programmes, as well as adding to their facilities. “We have renovated the facilities offered (e.g. the pool and bathrooms),” states Rita Alcoholado Fäh at Instituto Andalusí de Español. “Our institute has created new, interesting offers: a course for prospective Spanish teachers (ELE) and an online course offered for students, as well as for prospective Spanish teachers.” Based in Malaga, Rita comments that the city is developing its marketing, particularly in the language travel sector.

AIL Madrid has seen an increase in interest for their combined courses, especially Spanish and Dance and Spanish and Art, notes Chris, confirming that students are still searching for programmes that offer the best quality and value for money. At Tenidiomas, Carlota Rylance González says that the changes they have made, including offering different types of courses and changing the length of classes, have brought a different mix of nationalities and age of students to the school. “The results have been positive,” she notes, adding that the school has also attended workshops and international fairs.

At Costa de Valencia, Andreas Teßmer says that school has recently created a new summer campus for 16-to-18 year olds, which they expect to be successful this year, and adds that the location certainly helps bring students. “Valencia is becoming more and more important in this sector; other regions, such as Andalucía or Castilla y León, which used to be preferred by students, are losing market as Valencia is increasing,” he observes.
Working on their agent partnerships has proved successful at K2 Internacional. “Agents are provided with training that allows them to get to know our school better and therefore, sell our courses in an easy and comfortable way,” Lucia notes. georgina@studytravel.network

Ana Cózar, Director of the Spanish language school association Fedele, talks about the strength of the Spanish language teaching sector.

“The Spanish language is in a good moment, basically Spanish language passed from being the third language a few years ago in the formal education to become the second language in an increasing number of countries. For this reason, the past 10-to-15 years of our sector have been years of growth and development despite of the economic recession and its consequences for the global economy. During this economic recession, a better and increased investment in marketing has been necessary to keep the numbers up. Now, these efforts are showing good results as the ones we had in 2014 and the ones we hope for 2015.

We do not yet have data about the trends in 2015, but according to comments in our last board meeting it seems that the good expectations shown in the 2014 survey are meeting very well with the rhythm of bookings for next summer. Another indicator, the DELE exam is showing a proof of this growth.

Any change in the political or economic panorama of a country has an impact in the international economy and student mobility. In the case of Russia we have noticed some cancellations but still cannot mark them as trends, for this we will have to consider the statistics of the whole year. It is also difficult to find a definitive reason for the decline [of the USA in 2014]. We should wait for this year’s survey to see if we can speak about a general trend.

If during the past years, the Spanish economy has maintained Spain in the front page of the international press with negative data and pictures about the country, the national recovery represents an improvement for development of the Spanish language.”

Spanish language schools’ marketing budget by region (overall %)

W Europe 40%
C&E Europe 34%
North America 11%
Latin America 1%
Asia 9%
Australasia 2%
Middle East 2%
Africa 1%

2.9 weeks Overall average length of stay

18.8 hours Average language tuition per week

Average cost of a one-month course, excluding accommodation: E659

Average cost of residential accommodation per week: E150

Average cost of host family accommodation per week: E192

Top nationalities in Spain by student weeks - according to schools, 2014


German 17%
Italian 14.4%
British 9%
French 7.9%
American 4.8%
Dutch 4.4%
Scandinavian 4.3%
Austrian 4%
Russian 3.6%
Irish 2.5%

22% is the average commission paid on a language course

13% is the average commission paid on accommodation by 18 of the profiled institutions

Student numbers by age range

Means of recruiting students in Spain, 2014

8-11 3.5%

12-15 14%

16-18 25%

19-24 22.5%

25-30 17%

31-50 12%

50+ 6%

Internet 41.5%
Agents 32%  
Local bookings 16%   Other means 10.5%  


Marketing spend by sector

Agency costs 23.5%
Commission 18.5%
Incentives 2%
Agency brochures 3%

Travel costs 26%
Agent workshops 13%
Student exhibitions 2.5%
Agency visits 3%
Entertainment 2.5%
Marketing trips 5%

Publicity costs 50.5%
Magazine for agents 2%
Magazine for students 4%
Own brochures 12.5%
Internet 32%

Key points in STM Status Survey Spain

Number of participating organisations: 26

Total number of students at the organisations in 2014: 17,540

Total number of student weeks in 2014, estimated: 50,866

Participating schools: AIL Madrid, AIP Language Institute, Caxton College, Cervantes Escuela Internacional, Colegio de España; Colegio Delibes, Colegio Maravillas, Costa de Valencia, Escuela de Español, El Aula Azul, Escuela Montalbán, Euroace, Instituto Andalusi de Español, inlingua Las Palmas, Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza, Instituto eCenter, K2 Internacional Spanish School, La Aventura Española, Lacunza IH San Sebastian, La Janda Spanish School, OnSpain School, Spanish in Nature, SparkSpanish, Tenidiomas, TLCdénia, Trinity School, UCAM.

Ask the students – view from the classroom

155 students from 31 different countries took part in our survey of language schools in Spain

Students' region of origin Reasons for learning Spanish

Western Europe 55% Asia 14%
C&E Europe 12%
North America 9%
Africa 2%
Latin America 0.5%
Australasia 0.5%
Middle East 7%

Current or future work 34%
Pleasure only 29%
Further studies in France 26%
Pleasure only 29%
University/college studies at home 19%
Further studies in Spain 18%

How did students find out about your school

On the internet 44%
Recommended by an agent 31%
Recommended by friend/relative 23%
Advertised 2%

The average age was 29 years
The average class size was 6 students
55 per cent
of respondents were from Western Europe
14 per cent of respondents were from Asia
40 per cent of respondents booked their course through an agency
98 per cent of respondents would recommend their school
37 per cent of respondents were staying in homestay accommodation
34 per cent of respondents were learning Spanish for current or future work purposes
76 per cent of respondents found it quite easy or very easy to practise their Spanish with local people
51 per cent of students had been on a previous study abroad trip
83 per cent of respondents thought that there was just the right number of students and mix of nationalities in the classroom
the right mix of students and nationalities in their class

Thank you to the following schools who participated in our student survey: Academia Contacto, AIL Madrid, AIP Language Institute, Cervantes Escuela Internacional, Colegio de España, Costa de Valencia, Escuela de Idiomas Nerja, Estudio Sampere, Hispania, Instituto Andalusi de Español, Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza, Instituto Hispanico de Murcia, K2 Internacional Spanish School, Academia Málaga PLUS, OnSpain School, TLCdénia, UCAM.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of StudyTravel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.







Alpadia Language Schools  
Amauta Language School  
CERAN Lingua
don Quijote  
EF International Language Centers  
ELS Language Centers  
Eurolingua Institute  
International House World Organisation  
Kaplan International
Kings Education  
LAL Language Centres  
Oscars International  
Pro Linguis  
Quality English  
Sprachcaffe Language Plus 
St Giles International  
TLG - The Language Gallery  
Twin Group  

BASP - Buenos Aires Spanish School  

Ability English  
Cairns Language Centre  
English Australia  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
Monash College  

Instituto Cultural IDIOMA  

Spanish World Institute  

YMCA International Language School  

Academia Tica  

Study Team Cuba  

Carlsbad International School  

ABLS - Accreditation Body for Language Services  
BEST in Bath  
Communicate School  
English Language Centre Brighton  
Experience English Group  
Heart of England Language School  
Inspiring Learning  
International House London  
Islington Centre for English  
Liverpool School of English  
Living Learning English  
Manchester Language School  
Oxford Royale Academy  
Sidmouth International School  
University of Liverpool  

Alliance Française Lyon  
Alpine French School  
Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne  
Ecole de Tersac  
France Langue  
inlingua La Rochelle  
Institut Français Riéra  
International House Nice  

BWS Germanlingua  
F+U Academy of Languages  

Atlantic Language Galway  
Donegal Language School Equestrian & Surf Centre  
Emerald Cultural Institute  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Horner School of English  
International House Dublin  
ISE - International School of English  
MEI Ireland  
University College Cork Language Centre  

Intercultural Institute of Japan  
Kai Japanese Language School  
Sakura House  
Yokohama International Education Academy  

Feltom Malta  
IELS - Institute of English Language Studies  
Magister Academy  

Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology  
English New Zealand  
University of Otago  

International House Belfast  

Paradise English  
Habla Ya Language Center  

International School of the Algarve  

Experience English Group  
Kilgraston Language and Activities School  

Bay Language Institute  
EC Cape Town  
Education South Africa  
Eurocentres Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
Inlingua Cape Town   
Interlink School of Languages  
International House Cape Town  
Kurus English  
LAL Cape Town  
Language Training Centre   

CLIC International House Spain  
Escuela de Idiomas Nerja  
Estudio Sampere  
Live Madrid SC School  
Malaga Instituto  

British International School Phuket - BCIS  
California Language Academy  
EF International Language Centers  
Summer Study Programs  
University of California San Diego  


Calgary Board of Education  
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board  
Eastern Townships School Board  
Edmonton Catholic Schools  
Edmonton Public Schools  
English Montreal School Board  
Golden Hills School Division #75  
Greater Essex County District School Board  
Greater Victoria School District  
Halton Catholic District School Board  
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced  
ITTTI Vancouver  
Langley School District #35  
Louis Riel School Division  
Ottawa Carlton District School Board  
Oxford Royale Academy  
Pembina Trails School Division  
Powell River School District #47  
Simcoe County District School Board  
St James - Assiniboia School Division  
Thames Valley District School Board  
Waterloo Catholic District SB  

Chaucer College Canterbury  
Chichester College  
Oxford Royale Academy  
Queen Ethelburga s College  

Barrie School, The  
High Schools International - HSI  
Menaul School  


Hult International Business School  
Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology  
Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology  
Georgian College  
North Island College International  
St Clair College  

Bromley College of Further and Higher Education  
University of Liverpool  

University College Cork Language Centre  

University of Otago  

International School of the Algarve  
Summer Study Programs  
University of California San Diego  


Hult International Business School  


English Australia  

British Council  
Campus Living Villages  
Quality English  
Trinity College London  
Twin Group  

Homestay Technologies  

English New Zealand  


Copyright © : StudyTravel Ltd. All rights reserved.