Unosel records growth in French outbound market

June 10, 2013

A notable boost in the number of French students requesting language stays abroad has been recorded by the Union Nationale des Organisations de Sejours Educatifs Linguistiques et des Ecoles des Languages (Unosel), the association of agents and international education providers in France.

According to the survey, comparing outbound language student trends on 31 January 2012 and 31 January 2013, requests for language stays among French adults grew by 12.5 per cent and by 3.2 per cent for children between these two snapshot dates. In total, 30 Unosel agent members took part.

"Numbers increased because, despite the economic crisis, language stays are seen to offer a return on investment,"said Kseniya Yasinska, Déléguée Générale at Unosel. "At a time where the unemployment rate is high, advanced English (and other foreign language) skills on a CV makes a difference& Moreover, the globalisation of the French economic system makes international relations stronger and more present in different countries." Indeed, the minority of adults focussed on financial aspects (22 per cent), while the effectiveness of teaching was important for 44 per cent and the quality of care, accommodation and services was a top priority for 34 per cent.

For adults, the UK was the favoured destination for the overwhelming majority of students ( 51 per cent), followed by the USA/Canada (13 per cent) and Ireland (11 per cent). The popularity of these countries for language stays increased by 3.4 per cent, 11.5 per cent and 14.3 per cent respectively. "It is interesting to note that, even while occupying the sixth position in terms of favourite destination, Germany has received an increase of 38 per cent in requests between 2012 and 2013, " the report reads. This also shows that German is becoming an increasingly popular language to learn among French students.

In terms of programme types, entry level general language courses were requested by 35 per cent of students, 21 per cent wanted intensive courses, while ten per cent of young adults requested long stays. Notably, whole-family trips and stays for older clients were asked for by six per cent of students.

Commenting on the popularity of junior courses, Yasinska said, "Parents are ready to invest in language stays for their young children. " The most common length of stay recorded in January 2013 was 15 days (for 75 per cent of children). Programme wise, 31 per cent preferred courses with activities or a theme, 18 per cent wanted one-to-one tuition while 15 per cent requested total immersion courses.

Reflecting destination trends for adults, the UK was the most popular country for juniors (70 per cent) followed by the USA/Canada (eight per cent) and Ireland (five per cent). Spain joined Ireland in third place, also receiving five per cent of student requests. The popularity of the UK grew by 4.7 per cent, 2.6 per cent for the USA/Canada and a substantial 23 per cent for Spain. Ireland, meanwhile, experienced a 10.5 per cent decline in French language students.

Adding to these findings, Study Travel Magazine will publish a French agency survey recording outbound student trends over the last 12 months in the September 2013 issue. Unosel also celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.

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