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agency news

In memory of Pierre Semidei

Industry issues - agents speak out

PIERRE Semi- dei, Founder of the ESO Group (Euro- Schulen- Or- ganisation), which includ- ed did deutsch institut in Ger- many, passed away in March this year at the age of 68. Mr Semidei was a pioneer in the language travel industry, founding his company in Germany in 1966.

His enterprise flourished to the point today where it includes 100 educational institutions (in- cluding did deutsch-institut), 85 vocational schools, four private universities, an active study abroad agency, a translating and publishing company.

He was a true entrepreneur with a visionary spirit and will be fondly remembered by many. His son, Patrick Semidei, is Man- aging Director of language school chain, did. He said his father’s work would be continued by his family; “[which] was always very important for him”.

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Q. Are you witnessing a growth in mature clients?

May Maduka, Goldenway Educational Services, Nigeria “I recruit both young and old clients. Older clients do not absorb culture shock in the same way as younger clients. My older clients like to study in the UK and Ireland.”

Claudio Cesarano, globo-study, Switzerland “We are definitely experiencing a growth in older clients and even more so since we produced our brochure especially for people over 50. We promoted just one destination with a few starting dates in 2005. In 2006 we had doubled our clients and that is when we decided to produce a whole new type of brochure, packaging special programmes for this age group. This has made us popular with this age group. Targeting them and how to name the product

are the most difficult issues. Having a brochure and a very enthusiastic word-of-mouth propaganda are the reasons why we are getting more and more older clients. The average age is over 60! We have had students over 80; our oldest student was a 86-year-old woman. The most successful language is English. The combination of a good mix of diffrent types of students at the school, an interesting and active social programme and a very good quality homestay are the mix they are looking for!”

Daniela Maccolini, Coming, Italy “I have noticed a small growth in older clients, not significant, but nevertheless there are more requests and interest in courses abroad, both for general and specialised ones. Every school offers an extended range of courses and this creates a circle: the more the schools offer, the more the

clients are interested. I have had clients [interested in] sports, pottery, law, arts and the mountains [in addition to language]. My oldest client was 71 and went to the UK to enjoy the gardens. The advent of low cost flights offers the opportunity to go abroad. And then people feel a necessity to improve their languages: English, Spanish, German and Chinese to name a few.”

James Herbertson, Answer English, UK “There is certainly an increase in enquiries. These can fit into a range of profiles: mini-groups of mature ladies on educational holidays and more recently, adults who were maybe made redundant or feel like a lifestyle change. There is also a growth I notice in ‘second holidays’. Typically these clients require more independence and may require accommodation in a studio for six months.”

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