New student markets explored
Central and South America are emerging as potential markets for students wanting to study English, who also want to go on to further study
Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) at the University of Adelaide recently investigated South America for its student potential.
PCE's English Language Centre offers a number of programs that provide opportunities for overseas students to improve their English.
The main programs available are the Pre-Enrolment English Program (PEP), for students planning to study at the University of Adelaide, and the General English for Academic Purposes (GEAP), for students seeking the experience of studying English in the academic environment of a leading Australian university.
Two staff from PCE recently attended an education roadshow in Chile and Brazil run by Australian Education International (AEI). AEI is aiming for Latin American student numbers to Australia to reach 18,000 by 2008, which equates to 5% of total international student numbers.
An "amazing number" of students attended the exhibitions in Santiago, Chile and Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo, Brazil - almost 20,000 students in total, said PCE's Director, Liz Pryzibilla.
"On day one of the first exhibition in Santiago, the interest was so strong that every institution ran out of promotional material in the first two hours," she said.
"The two-day exhibition in Santiago was the first of its kind in Chile and received a lot of media attention. There was 10 minutes dedicated to it on the evening news.
"The quality of the students and enquiries that we received at all of the exhibitions was impressive.
"Students were predominantly seeking English language programs, postgraduate research and coursework programs, both Masters and PhDs."
Ms Pryzibilla is no stranger to tapping into new markets, having visited South Korea in 2004.
"From our first trip to South Korea we identified a real need for a general English program, which led to the development of our newly introduced program, the GEAP. We now have 28 students from Korea studying the GEAP this year," she said.
"There have been many other positive outcomes from that first visit, including ongoing arrangements with a number of Korean education institutions who send study tour groups to our University each year."
One of the many South American students who already have good things to say about Adelaide's GEAP is Carlos Eduardo Hernández Castillo, a Masters in Economics student from Colombia.
"The GEAP course is very useful for me because it is focused on developing academic skills, such as studying abilities and writing," Carlos said.
"Since I have plans for doing a PhD in the future, developing these skills is very important for me."
It might not be too long before others like Carlos start to see the benefits of English language programs at Adelaide.
"If the kinds of enquiries we received were anything to go by during our visit, PCE and the University of Adelaide stand to gain from the strong interest in our programs in South America," Ms Pryzibilla said.
Story by David Ellis