The junior market – that is, students under the age of 18 – has been a growth segment in language travel in recent years. Demand is being driven by a greater emphasis on foreign language learning in markets abroad, and by an increasing interest on the part of parents in boosting their children’s language proficiency. However, the junior segment is also susceptible to economic conditions and other market disruptions and some destinations – notably Canada and the UK – saw a decline in junior numbers in 2015. Overall, the segment appears poised for further growth and development, and consumer demand is shifting to more specialised programmes for youth, including courses focused on preparation for academic studies abroad.
Junior students have become an important growth segment in recent years, especially in Europe, where students under age 18 now compose a significant proportion of language travel enrolments. Juniors accounted for nearly half of all language students in the UK (see chart below) and Ireland (47% each) and Malta (48%) in 2015.
Adult and junior student numbers for private-sector language centres in the UK, 2011–2015. Source: English UK
Language schools are reporting that students are travelling to learn a language at ever-younger ages. READ MORE
Berlin, Germany – 7 November 2016 – The Verbalists Language Network had one of the most successful education fair attendances this year in Berlin. Over the course of the three-day workshop, 1,583 organizations from 100 countries came together at ICEF Berlin to network, learn, and build meaningful connections through 27,267 onsite business meetings. Among the 2,444 participants 1,032 were education agents and 1,412 were educators, service providers, industry associations, or work and travel organizations.
The following ICEF video postcard features highlights from the world’s most important education workshop and the event feedback of Maja Merdovic, Education Program Manager with Verbalists, made by Schools & Agents. READ MORE
On the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, we are delighted to announce that Verbalists Language Network’s main partner Kings Education has been honored with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success. The award has been conferred within the category of International Trade to Prime Education and Training Ltd, the parent company of Kings Education. READ MORE
Few education YouTube channels can claim the level of devotion earned by the Verbalists Education & Language Network, home to language and sports education as well as study travel; with more than 700 subscribers and 1 million video views, the Verbalists YouTube channel is easily among the most popular for language travel in Europe. READ MORE
The Study Travel Magazine, one of the best known and most read publications in the education and travel industry, published in its December issue several responses from the leading education agents in East and Southeast Europe on the subject of the strength of the British Pound and its impact on language education opportunities around the globe.
Commenting on how the rise of the British Pound has affected people’s choice of destination for language learning, Maja Merdovic, Education Program Manager at Prodirekt, said that “it has created significant problems for language travel in price sensitive markets”. Students from the Balkan region are somewhat adjusting their preferences, opting for more affordable opportunities to attend language courses and summer camps. In addition, the rising school fees in the UK only exacerbated the whole situation. Consequently, Prodirekt and its Verbalists Language Network “experienced an increase in bookings to Malta, an alternative English learning destination to the UK,” added Maja Merdovic.
This slight shift in destination choice to more accessible areas is also partly due the UK’s lengthy, complex and costly procedure for obtaining an entry visa, which is not needed for Malta.
Agents from regions close by the Balkans, such as Turkey and Russia, noticed a similar trend in their students’ interests, with growing number of students considering Malta in 2015.
After the Manchester United football club, the representation of Manchester City added to the Verbalists Language Network’s programs portfolio for the great rivalry on the pitch but also in the classroom.
Educational group PRODIREKT LLC, along with its Verbalists Language Network, took part for the 5th time in the most important annual educational workshop held in Berlin, from 1st-3rd November, which was organised by the revered Berlin’s ICEF organisation.
More than 2,400 participants from over a hundred nations attended the 2015 workshop, particularly special as ICEF celebrates its 20th year in existence. Over the course of three days, filled with meetings and seminars, those who attended had the opportunity to reaffirm existing business partnerships, as well as create new ones, whilst catching up with the latest trends in the education sector on a global scale.
Maja Merdovic: “United vs City – Verbalists are very excited to be able to create in this way a distinctive worldwide position – a healthy competition on the pitch but also in the classroom.”
Maja Merdovic, PRODIREKT’s Language Education Program Manager, commented on the importance of providing quality education to language learners of all ages, and more specifically offering new learning opportunities for young learners that combine sports and language studying. She pointed out that prestigious sports brands make the learning experience for the young much more attractive and enjoyable: “Three years ago, in an exclusive partnership with the famous Manchester United (MU) Soccer & English School, we brought this unique educational opportunity to the Balkan region. The MU language with football program has proved hugely popular – so much so that some of our students have already decided to go back for the third time next summer.”
Besides this prestigious summer camp, Verbalists have been offering language learning and sports development with tennis, through NIKE tennis camp held in London, and summer outdoor activities with the GLS Water Sports camp near Berlin.
“As the leading provider of young learners programs, we continually seek out new and exciting learning opportunities for our students. We are pleased to announce that during the ICEF workshop we have finalized regional representation for more world famous brands, the first of which is none other than – Manchester City, the fiercest Man Utd’s rival! Verbalists are very excited to be able to create in this way a distinctive worldwide position – a healthy competition on the pitch but also in the classroom. Other famous sports brands will be revealed soon on our Facebook business page, so stay tuned, you will love our new programs,” revealed Maja Merdovic.
In 2014, apart from the language group, PRODIREKT created the academics department to focus on educational consulting for secondary, further and higher education abroad. During the workshop in Berlin, PRODIREKT’s Managing Director and founder Dejan Trpkovic met with representatives from leading high schools and universities in the world. “Language education is closely connected to and often a prerequisite for a successful entry into high schools and universities abroad. Our achievements in language education over the years have been recognized by many renowned higher education institutions, and our meetings in Berlin were an ideal opportunity to agree with them on a unique approach in presenting them in South Eastern Europe. I consider it too early to talk about significant figures in terms of the number of students from our region studying in the well-known universities, for example, in the UK or the US, mainly due to their high tuition fees. Nevertheless, there is a large number of lesser-known high schools and universities in the world with outstanding standards of education. I believe it is important to make those institutions known and accessible in the Balkans.”
Dejan added that his company intends to “acquaint students and their parents with different educational systems in the world, and make them aware of the pitfalls of enrolling in high schools which do not have a proper accreditation and/or a high acceptance rate into universities. There is also a risk of enrolling into universities which do not have a proven track record in enhancing students’ employment prospects. I trust that PRODIREKT is well suited to offer these valuable educational insights. Most of our team members have obtained their undergraduate or postgraduate diplomas at reputed universities abroad and worked as senior managers overseas. Perhaps, it is equally important that we have long been the leading management education and recruiting firm in the Balkans, providing services similar to academics consulting.”
ICEF prides itself on having the strictest, most comprehensive and diligent educator and agent quality controls. Agencies who have received ICEF Agency Status are evaluated every two years to ensure ongoing compliance with ICEF’s standards. PRODIREKT and the Verbalists Language Network were among the first organizations from the Southeast Europe to pass ICEF’s strict screening process and were awarded ICEF Agent Status in 2011, which is an indicator of their quality and professionalism.
“The sweetest business was done over die Sachertorte.”
Belgrade, 19th September 2015 – Educational group PRODIREKT and the Verbalists Language Network today announced new higher education partnerships which were forged at the workshop in Vienna, organized by IALC (International Association of Language Centres). During the workshop, which took place at the prestigious Vienna Savoy Hotel on 16th and 17th September 2015, 21 study travel agents met 16 IALC-accredited schools from 11 countries teaching 5 languages.
“The sweetest business was done over die Sachertorte,” Maja Merdovic, Education Program Manager at PRODIREKT & Verbalists Language Network
This was the first time IALC has organised a regional workshop with school delegates meeting agencies from across the region in a central hub. “Vienna is the perfect location for this type of event,” said IALC Marketing Manager Hollie Coffey. “It has great transport connections and it allowed agents to visit ActiLingua, a local German language school based in Vienna.”
ActiLingua school opened their doors for drinks before delegates headed to a reception at the Belvedere, a baroque palace overlooking the city. IALC President, Celestine Rowland welcomed new and returning agents in a speech at the Belvedere. Guests enjoyed food, drink and traditional music outside on the terrace in unusually hot September weather.
Apart from the meetings, the second day was reserved for the city tour. Baroque castles, ornate gardens and the city architecture shined in all its opulence, reminding the workshop participants that Vienna’s culture, history and surroundings make it a great place to learn German whatever your age and interests.
“We are very satisfied with the outcome of this workshop for we were able to discuss new agreements, relating to the university preparation programs, with the schools we already represent from the UK, Germany, France, Austria and Spain. I am also glad I had the opportunity to meet our language network’s students who were currently learning German in Vienna,” described the event PRODIREKT Education Program Manager Maja Merdovic.
The diversity of both schools and agents at the event reflected the general increase in demand for languages other than English in Central Europe. This was highlighted in recent research conducted for IALC by StudentMarketing which noted that “in countries where there is growing English proficiency, demand for other languages will increase”.