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September 2004 issue

Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
City Focus

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USA feedback

US language providers showed a greater reliance on the Asian student market this year, with a higher percentage of students intending to go on to further study after completing their language programme.

USA feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 80 female 47, male 29 (unknown 4)

Average age in years: 26.9

Average length of programme in weeks: 16

Average number of students per class: 11

Average number of hours of language tuition per week: 21

% of students who found their course through an agent: 33

% of students who had been on another language programme: 19

% of students who would recommend their school: 78

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (73%)
Latin America (8%)
Western Europe (6%)
Central & Eastern Europe (4%)
Middle East (4%)
Unknown (5%)
1.Japanese (45%)
2.Korean (14%)
3.Taiwanese (6%)
4.Thai (4%)
4.Venezuelan (4%)
6.German (3%)
6.Brazilian (3%)
8.Argentinean (1%)
8.French (1%)
8.Spanish (1%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
Too many students (29%)
Too many students of my nationality (14%)
Too many students of another nationality (27.5%)
None of these (27.5%)
Unknown (2%)
For college study in the USA (42%)
For college study in another English speaking country (8%)
For college study in my home country (4%)
For current or future work (34%)
For pleasure only (11%)
Unknown (1%)

How did you find your programme? Standard of your social programme
I saw it advertised (7%)
I found in on the Internet (18%)
It was recommended by an agent (32.5%)
Recommended by a friend/relative (32.5%)
Unknown (10%)
Excellent (23%)
Good (46%)
Satisfactory (24%)
Poor (6%)
Unknown (1%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (26%)
Good (44%)
Satisfactory (28%)
Poor (1%)
Unknown (1%)
Excellent (21%)
Good (44%)
Satisfactory (21%)
Poor (5%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (8%)

Standard of the teaching How easy was it to practise English with native speakers?
Excellent (53%)
Good (41%)
Satisfactory (5%)
Unknown (1%)
Very easy (11%)
Quite easy (25%)
Quite hard (46%)
Very hard (16%)
Unknown (2%)

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser? What do you most like about the USA?
Yes (29%)
No (59%)
Unknown (12%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (86%)
No (13%)
Unknown (1%)

Yes (60%)
No (39%)
Unknown (1%)

Yes (45%)
No (53%)
Unknown (2%)

Student nationality
The USA has always been a popular language travel destination for Asian students but this year's Feedback survey of students in the USA shows that language providers are increasingly relying on this market, with the market share of Asian students up by 16 percentage points on last year's survey to 73 per cent (see Language Travel Magazine, August 2003, pages 16-17). Japanese was the most populous nationality this year, making up 45 per cent of the students who answered our questionnaires, although 20 nationalities were represented in all, including students from Mongolia, Russia, Macau and Syria.

Student age and motivation
At 26.9 years, the average age of this year's student respondents didn't differ significantly from last year's figure of 26 years. The majority of students, 39 per cent, were in the 20-to-25 year old age bracket while the total age range spanned from 16 to 67 years. In a sharp contrast with last year's results, only 34 per cent of respondents were learning English in the USA for current or future work purposes, compared with 53 per cent last year, while 42 per cent were learning English for further college study in the USA, compared with 27 per cent previously. Of the Japanese respondents, 56 per cent gave current or future work purposes as their motivation for learning English in the USA.

Student enrolment
Last year, 49 per cent of respondents found out about their school through a friend or relative while 27 per cent were recommended their course by an agent. However, this year more students relied on the services of an agent with 32.5 per cent finding out about their course this way, and a similar number relying on the advice of friends or relatives. Although agency advice informed almost a third of students, numbers actually booking with an agent were slightly down, with just 29 per cent of students saying that they used an agent to book their course compared with 35 per cent last year.

Standard of the schools
With an average class size of 11, 29 per cent of respondents said that there were too many students in their classes; and of these students, 78 per cent were Japanese. The four main categories of service were all deemed to be at least satisfactory by the majority of students although the standard of the social programme received the lowest results, with six per cent of students finding this to be poor (see right). Just 78 per cent of students said they would recommend their school to others. Six per cent did not answer this question but 16 per cent, most of whom were studying at the same institution, indicated that they would not.

Living in the USA
Sixty-two per cent of students found it to be either quite hard or very hard to practise English with Americans. In terms of affordability, 63 per cent found the cost of living in the USA to be higher than at home, while 11 per cent found it to be lower and 26 per cent thought it was the same. On average, English language students were paying US$492 per week for their course fees and accommodation.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Embassy CES, New York, NY; Geos English Academy, various; International Education Center at Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA; Kaplan International, various; St Giles, San Francisco, CA; University of Florida ELI, Gainesville, FL; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; University of South Carolina Language Academy, Los Angeles, CA
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