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Spending your summer at uni

Melanie Butler discovers that UK universities have plenty to offer general English students over the summer months

Students coming to the UK aged over eighteen looking for a British-Council-accredited summer course on a university campus – here’s a simple idea: why not enrol in one that’s actually run by the university itself? Although many UK unis are filled to the brim with prospective undergraduates needing to brush up their academic English with a pre-sessional course, a good number also offer general English courses to students looking to spend time in a real university environment.

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Tips on top travel trends


International students of the University of the Fraser Valley, courtesy of University of the Fraser Valley

Melanie Butler dives deep into the data on studying abroad in the brand new Ialc report on trends in demand for language learning

Every year, 2.8 million people across the world travel abroad to learn a language, but that makes up just 0.25 per cent of the world’s language learners. These astounding figures appear in ‘Trends in Demand for Language Learning’, a report produced for the International Association of Language Centres (Ialc) by StudentMarketing.

The report, which aims to document the trends in the market as well as its size, is based on a comparative analysis of nine major foreign languages – Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. StudentMarketing based its findings on an analysis of 60 separate secondary sources together with a survey of 466 language travel agents in 74 countries who, combined, are responsible for sending 236,000 students abroad to learn a language – 8.6 per cent of the total language travel market.

English remains the big beast in the room, making up 61 per cent of language travel and showing the highest increase in demand in 2015, as reported by the agents surveyed. It also boasts the highest number of private language schools, the longest stays, the highest reliance on agents and the highest commission rates – 23 per cent as opposed to 21 per cent in the market overall.

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International higher education hub on its way in South India

Suneetha Balakrishnan reports form Trivandrum

Kerala Academic City and International Higher Education Zones, a planned south Indian higher education hub, has been given a tentative green light by the state’s government.

The south Indian state of Kerala is known for high levels of literacy. Dubai is a four-hour flight from the international airport in its state capital Trivandrum, so the project has the potential to attract students from the Gulf States for English-medium university courses.

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Unis take teaching to a new level

Matt Salusbury surveys the options for overseas teachers who want to study on summer methodology courses at UK universities

Many UK university English language centres now offer summer methodology courses for overseas teachers. We contacted many of these centres, and nine replied that they currently do or recently have offered such courses, while a few other university departments responded to say that they don’t.

Two centres already use the EL Gazette to advertise their methodology courses for Teflers, and one other centre asked us to tell them how Erasmus+ funding worked. What’s the focus of these courses, where do their participants come from, and how do they find their way there?

The University of Brighton’s Patrick Brook says his Language Institute runs closed courses of four to twelve weeks for English school teachers from China and English lecturers sent by universities in Japan. While some of the Chinese intake are recruited by UK-based agents, most come to Brighton on government scholarships via the National Basic Foreign Language Teaching and Research Centre, which is based at the Beijing office of the influential English Coaching magazine. Brighton’s courses focus on ‘methodology with language’ – mostly methodology.

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Another revolution in Iran

Matt Salusbury assesses the impact of an innovative coursebook series

The recent British Council publication English language teaching in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Innovations, trends and challenges (http://tinyurl.com/BCenglishiranreport) notes that ‘there is currently a thirst for English’ in the country, with learning English becoming a ‘fashionable trend’.

Several of its contributors comment on the ambivalence of the state towards English in the Islamic Republic. It’s seen as ‘the language of enemies … on the one hand and as a tool for progress on the other’. 

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