Jacqueline Kassteen, Owner & Managing Director, Transformative Marketing Solutions

Jacqueline Kassteen, Owner & Managing Director, Transformative Marketing Solutions

Agent survey reveals trends in foreign language learning

New research to be unveiled at this year’s IALC Workshop.

The IALC Workshop is an annual gathering for IALC-accredited educators and study abroad agencies from around the world, bringing together about 350 attendees from over 50 countries. IALC member institutions are located in 107 destinations around the world, offering over 1,000 language programmes in nine languages.

Attracting leading language schools, agencies and education consultants, the IALC Workshop offers a unique opportunity to develop business relationships with professional colleagues from around the world, as well as keep up-to-date with industry issues and trends.

This year’s seminar programme will feature an exclusive preview of the results of the new industry research on the demand for nine foreign languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The new report unveils the reasons for studying languages other than English and how foreign languages rank in their importance for study and career-related purposes.

Although billions of people are now learning a foreign language, only 0.25% of them travel abroad to learn in a local, native environment. This equates to a market of 2.28 million language students abroad per year. English language travel comprises an estimated 61% of this market. Interestingly, the research found that 20% of students who use agents are already multilingual and are going abroad to learn a third or fourth foreign language.

The report observes that “demand for English learning abroad is slowing, but expected to continue growing, while other languages are expected to grow faster.”

Given their importance in the global economy, agents have noticed an increase in demand for knowledge of Chinese and German, with 100+ million foreign speakers and learners of Mandarin worldwide and German being the most widely spoken native language in the European Union.

Of course, there are a number of reasons why students will chose to study a foreign language, and the report dives into detail on student motivations and current and future demand levels for each of the nine languages. The chart below offers a quick snapshot of the number of speakers of foreign languages and a few reasons for learning each of them.

Number of speakers of foreign languages and reasons for learning them.

Number of speakers of foreign languages and reasons for learning them.

Research background

IALC partnered with market research firm StudentMarketing in order to uncover more data on the demand for foreign languages.

Given that agents represent the leading booking channel in English language travel, and an important booking channel for other foreign languages, StudentMarketing conducted a survey with 466 education agents from 74 countries. The findings were further supplemented by interviews with 21 agents and insights provided by 60 secondary sources. 

Highlights from the new research will be shared during a dedicated seminar starting at 17:00 on 7 April. The full report will be available to download from the IALC website later that day.

As an organisation dedicated to owners and directors of quality-focused independent language schools and agencies, IALC is committed to providing cutting edge industry research. The 2016 report follows up on key findings from last year’s research on the perception of independent and boutique chain schools in language travel.

Jacqueline Kassteen:
Jacqueline has over 15 years’ marketing experience in international education, student travel, publishing, lead generation, retail, and financial services. She’s lived in eight countries and is based in London. After 4+ years of building ICEF Monitor to an audience of 40,000 global subscribers, Jacqueline is now the Owner and Managing Director of Transformative Marketing Solutions. She works with clients as a consultant and project manager, offering marketing expertise in the international education industry. She specialises in recruitment and retention strategies through the use of online and offline marketing techniques, agencies, social media, alumni, product and partnership development, and research. She runs training sessions and masterclasses, and is also a regular presenter, plenary speaker, and panelist at various global events held throughout the year. 

About this blog

Members of IALC share their insights on the language travel industry. Contributors are owners, directors, managers, teachers or administrative staff of IALC-accredited language schools worldwide.

IALC Workshop

IALC 2017 Workshop in Boston Massachusetts, USA - 23-26 March 2017

IALC 2017 Boston
Dates: 23-26 March 2017
Location: Boston, USA
Educators: IALC-accredited language schools worldwide
Hosted by: ELC Boston

ELC Boston hosts the IALC 2017 workshop

IALC Study Travel Research Report 2016

Trends in the demand for foreign languages
Download the IALC Study Travel Research Report 2016

IALC Study Travel Research Report 2015

Perceptions of independent and boutique chain schools in language travel
Download the IALC Study Travel Research Report 2015