24 August 2017
By Tom Collins
Cork has hosted an international English language trade mission from China, Russian, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Mexico, and Croatia in a move designed to help increase the number of students from these countries that study English in Ireland each year. Events took place in Cork City and Kanturk as part of the International English language trade mission.
According to the organisers Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), the association that represents 66 regulated language schools and colleges nationwide, Ireland is an increasingly popular destination for students from countries such as China, Russia, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Mexico, and Croatia. This international English language trade mission to Ireland was unique in that traditionally such international English language trade missions would take place outside the extremely busy summer period, however it was decided to showcase the facilities and schools available for junior students and summer students, while they were operational in the months of July and August. In addition to the facilities of MEI members schools, a large number of secondary schools are used over the summer period to facilitate the large numbers of international students coming to Ireland.
According to David O’Grady, CEO of Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), “The largest numbers of students that study English in Ireland every year come from Italy and Spain, however there has been really strong growth in the new and emerging markets including China, Russian, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Mexico, and Croatia. It was for this reason that 40 international education agents from these countries were brought to Cork and Kanturk and other locations throughout Ireland to meet with a selection of MEI schools and colleges. Arising from the success of the trade mission, it is anticipated that strong students numbers will continue to Cork.”
“Ireland is very attractive for students from these countries, as students get to learn in a friendly environment, while also experiencing culture and family life in Ireland. It is also worth noting that in comparative terms, Ireland is well ahead of the UK, USA, Canada and Australia in terms of international English language students per head of population. In recent years MEI embarked on a targeted outreach to countries with strong growth potential for Ireland and we know from our own data that students from these countries traditionally spend longer in Ireland than other places, thereby contributing more to the Irish economy”, said David O’Grady, CEO of the Marking English in Ireland.
David O’Grady, CEO of the Marking English in Ireland continued, “MEI wanted to showcase our junior/summer programmes & facilities at a time when they were operational. In addition, we wanted to broaden the nationality mix of the summer schools. MEI members usually operate their junior programmes in secondary school facilities that means from end of June to mid August. We chose this period and we targeted agencies from countries not currently very familiar with Ireland as a destination for summer programmes for junior students. MEI are delighted to say that the result was a tremendous success logistically, and from feedback from the international agents and the participating MEI schools. Obviously, the fruits of this success will be in future summer seasons. Because of its success this event will become a feature of our annual marketing programme and we have already started planning next year’s event. This will now become a central part of our strategy to showcase Ireland as a high quality destination for international language students.”