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September 2002 issue

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World Cup fever impacts on sales

Football's World Cup tournament, jointly hosted by Japan and Korea in June this year, caused many prospective Korean and Japanese language travellers to stay at home to enjoy the event, according to sources in the language travel industry.

'We experienced a decrease in the volume of registrations [during the tournament], especially from Korea,' said Monika Szybalska of Study English in Canada, based in Toronto. 'However in [late June] the volume increased again, but it is not at the level typical for this season.'

Fellow Canadian, Josh Stevenson, Director of Global Expression Language School in Toronto, agreed. 'Korean and Japanese enrolments are definitely down.'

Agents in Korea and Japan confirmed that bookings dropped during the World Cup. 'I feel that many students postponed their departure date, or simply, they [were] not looking for a school because of World Cup matches,' said Soonhee Park of Camel Travel at Soong Sil University in Korea, who was confident that business would pick up again.

In Japan, Masaru Yamada of ICS said that the company had experienced a 20 per cent drop in bookings during the World Cup season. 'Our counsellors believe that not many people will come back [after the World Cup], especially not the short-term language students,' he said. 'We believe that students may be abandoning their plans for this season. [However] bookings for the long-term have not been affected much.'

Clark Egnor, Director of the English as a Second Language Institute at Marshall University in West Virginia, USA, said that student numbers had halved compared with last year, although he suggested that visa problems could also have been to blame. 'I think a bigger reason is the restriction on using tourist visas to study in short-term programmes,' he said (see Language Travel Magazine, July 2002, page 4). 'We used to have many Japanese and Koreans who would come on a tourist visa or visa waiver and we would admit them.'


Sevis is hot topic at Nafsa

AT this year's Nafsa Conference in the USA, which was held in San Antonio, Texas, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (Sevis) proved to be one of the hot discussion topics. The event, held in May, provided US institutions with a chance to meet agencies and fellow institutions and discuss business in the international education industry.

A number of seminars and events were held during the conference, which also included an international education exhibition, where 274 organisations from around the world exhibited their products.
Speakers at the conference, attended by 5,600 delegates, included former US Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, and Judith Kipper, a well-known expert on the Middle East and international affairs, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

'We learned a lot about the new Sevis laws and implementation [during the conference],' commented Mary Brooks, President of the Consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP). 'We had many discussions on what it all means, what the next steps might be. We were discouraged over the political erosion of trust towards international students [but] we were encouraged over the affirmation of the tremendous source of talent gained through international exchange.'

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) is continuing to work towards a January 30 deadline for implementation of Sevis, which will see all foreign students monitored via an Internet-based central tracking scheme. The US government is providing the initial funding for Sevis (see Language Travel Magazine, May 2002, page 5). However, following an inquiry into the INS, the US Justice Department has stated that it believes this deadline will not be met.


Eurocentres head office moving to London

International language school chain, Eurocentres, is to move its headquarters to London, UK, after 42 years based in Zurich, Switzerland.

According to Eurocentres Chief Executive, Michael Gerber, the UK accounts for more than 60 per cent of Eurocentres' business, and the move - scheduled to take place within three years - will enable the company to bring its management and school operations closer together.

Eurocentres, which is subsidised by Swiss retail group, Migros, has also failed to break even over the last three years, although Gerber stressed that it had 'developed very satisfactorily'.

'Achieving [financial break-even point] entails implementing a smoother and more efficient organisation of operations between schools and their international agents, and of the school administration. [We] intend to facilitate [this] with the planned move,' explained Gerber.


Canadian Act becomes law

Canada's new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act became law on June 28, ushering in the changes to the student visa programme announced earlier this year as well as a raft of other measures (see Language Travel Magazine, June 2002, page 4).

From now on, international students do not need to apply for a student authorisation if they intend to study in Canada for less than six months.

'[The new Act] and the accompanying regulations take a balanced approach,' commented Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Denis Coderre. He added, 'They build on the important contributions immigrants and refugees have made in the past and will continue to make in the future, yet are tough on those who pose a threat to national security.'


Chinese consider surgery for perfect accent

Chinese students, desperate to gain a good accent when speaking English, are resorting to surgery on their fraenum, the flap of tissue under the tongue, according to the Shanghai Youth Daily. The 'fad' was confirmed by a plastic surgeon, Dr Chu Jian, at Renai Hospital, although he said he had turned down all such requests.

'We have had several cases here over the past month,' he commented, 'all patients speaking Chinese perfectly.'

One student was said to be considering the operation after having been refused a student visa to the USA, while another 15-year-old girl asked for the operation because her mother was worried that she could not pronounce the letter 'r'. All students believed that the surgical procedure would leave their tongues more flexible.


USA and UK loses favour among Muslim students

A survey carried out by the British Council of nearly 5,000 people aged between 15 and 25 years old, in countries with substantial Muslim populations, has revealed that the UK and the USA are becoming less popular as overseas study destinations, while Australia, Canada and Japan are all gaining in appeal.

The results of the survey were compared with those of surveys from 1999 and 2000, which canvassed people aged between 24 and 35 years old.

Although in this year's survey, the USA and UK remained the first-choice destination for 35 per cent and 22 per cent of those surveyed, the countries' shares had slipped from 49 per cent and 32 per cent in the previous surveys.

Canada, Japan and Australia accounted for the first choice of 26 per cent of students overall, up from 11 per cent. Japan has gained considerable ground as a study destination with students from Nigeria and Malaysia.


SGV expands its network into Australia

Shane Global Village (SGV), the international language school chain which was formed through the merger of the Shane and Global Village brands (see Language Travel Magazine, November 2001, page 6), acquired Universal English College in Sydney, Australia earlier this year.

Director of Universal English College, Mikio Kamokasu, said, 'I am excited by the development opportunities this presents to us - not only in marketing, but academically and in IT, too. We look forward to the continued support of our students and agents as we embark on this exciting phase in our school's history.'

SGV Managing Director, Stephen Cassells, added, 'Sydney is one of the world's most popular destinations for English language students and [this] addition to the group makes perfect sense strategically.' The school will operate under a joint Universal English College/SGV brand until May 2003.


Activity in Cape Town

A new English language school has been launched in South Africa by the Geos network.

Situated in a self-contained building on St Georges Mall in Cape Town, Geos Cape Town has themed classrooms and offers a complete range of English language courses from beginner to advanced, as well as Cambridge examinations. In the absence of national quality standards in South Africa, it will follow the standards of its schools in Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Cape Studies has moved to a new location between Sea Point and the central business district in Cape Town, conveniently situated just across the road from its student residence.


Currency

1xUS$ =currency*

Argentinean, Pesos, 3.510
Australian, Dollar, 1.761
Brazilian, Real, 2.854
British, Pound, 0.645
Bulgarian, Leva, 1.966
Canadian, Dollar, 1.518
Chilean, Pesos, 697.98
Chinese (PR), Yuan, 8.272
Czech, Koruny, 29.27
Danish, Kroner, 7.503
Egyptian, Pound, 4.632
EU, Euro, 1.011
Hong Kong, Dollar, 7.799
Hungarian, Forint, 253.30
Icelandic, Kronur, 86.093
Indonesian, Rupiah, 8907.4
Israeli, New Shekels, 4.709
Japanese, Yen, 118.02
Maltese, Lira, 0.428
Mexican, Peso, 9.828
New Zealand, Dollar, 2.037
Norwegian, Kroner, 7.371
Polish, Zloty, 4.163
Russian, Rubles, 31.580
Singaporean, Dollar, 1.751
Slovakian, Koruny, 44.994
South African, Rand, 9.996
South Korean, Won, 1172.7
Swedish, Krona, 9.377
Swiss, Franc, 1.489
Taiwanese, NT Dollar, 33.130
Thai, Baht, 41.185
Turkish, Lira, 1,631,019.8
Venezuelan, Bolivar, 1,269.8

*Rates are subject to change and should be used as indications only. 11/07/02

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