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Brazil: Language travel boosting agent revenues

Despite economic crisis and political instability in Brazil, the number of Brazilian language students abroad increased 20% in 2018, to a peak of 365,000 according to a recent survey from the Brazilian Educational and Language Travel Association. The agencies prompted the growth with focus on personal assistance.

Sports scholarships are tempting Brazilian degree students overseas

The BELTA survey consulted member agencies for evaluations, as well as non-member agencies, students and prospective students.

“Malta figures in the top six destinations because it allows ELT students to work”

The data shows that 67% of students sealed the deal by visiting the agencies and receiving personal assistance. Online sales represented 9%, while other 14% decided to deal directly with the international institutions.

Of those surveyed, 73% of agencies reported sales growth in 2018, whereas 20% had a decrease.

However, according to Belta, Brazilian language students moved some US$1.2 billion, considerably less than in 2017, which saw $2.7bn spent. The average investment showed a decreased too, from $9,989 per student to $8,560.

Canada is still the favourite destination: one in every four language students chose the country, followed closely by the United States, with a 20% preference rate. The UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and, for the first time, Malta also appear among the most chosen.

“Malta figures in the top six favourite destinations for the first time because it has set on a policy that allows ELT students to work. It is an improvement for the country and as well for the ELT market”, Maura Leão, president of Belta, told The PIE.

English is the preferred language by far, corresponding to 87% of courses. Spanish comes second (5.5%), followed by French (4%).

Speaking English is a major priority to Brazilian students, but not the main one: money matters more, as the principal aspect when choosing a country is the currency exchange rate. Quality of life, visa regime, and work opportunities are seem as priorities by Brazilians.

The annual research shows the Brazilian language student profile in 2018 was mainly female (60%), with average age of 24 years old, single, who left their parents’ house to go abroad. Full time students are still the more numerous (30%), but professionals with stable jobs are on the rise (29%).

The average duration of the course is short-term: between 2 and 3 months (59%) or even as short as one month (32%). Long duration courses from 6 to 7 months (6%) or for more than a year (1%) were less attractive in 2018.

Belta research shows a novelty regarding full term programs abroad: a 20% growth in Brazilians taking up sports related scholarships.

“One of the reasons [for the increase] is that the international universities have adapted to receive a growing number of Brazilians and [opened] the possibility to have a sport interchange. Many institutions valourise sports. In absolute numbers, 3,000 students embarked… having partial or total scholarship due to sports performance”, Leão explained.

Degrees come fourth place in the list of most sold products. ELT courses are number one, followed by work-and-study programs and study-and-travel courses.

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