According to an article on the association’s website, language schools have welcomed precisely 27,281 students last year, accounting for 416,227 hours of Italian language and culture lessons and staying on average 4.4 weeks.
“Italian language students generated an important contribution to the national economy”
The figures averaged to 643 students per each of the 43 ASILS member centres. The students supported the job of 460 teachers, of which 45 academic directors.
The largest number of students were within 18 and 25 years of age, but under 18s and over 50s have registered an increase on 2017.
Over the past five years, the article explained, the number of enrolments in Italian language and culture courses in ASILS member centres has shown good growth, with a 10.4% growth in student numbers and 7.9% growth in student weeks.
Germany was the top sender, followed by the US, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, France, Japan, UK, Russia and Netherlands.
Switzerland and Brazil were singled out as showing particularly promising growth.
Italian language students generated “an important contribution to the national economy,” the article explained.
The total revenue they generated was sizeable: €101.1million. It was estimated that, excluding tuition fees and accommodation costs, about €51m were spent on general living expenses.
The tourism sector also benefitted from the influx of Italian language students, who generated over 830,000 nights in hotels or apartments. Students coming from EU countries accounted for 62% of bookings.
The survey also investigated the main motivations for students to enrol in an Italian language course.
The top-cited reason was tourism, and as very close seconds came cultural, literary and artistic interests.
A smaller fraction of students (1,261) enrolled in an Italian course to attain a language certification. The most popular certification was the University of Siena’s CILS, followed by the AIL and CELI.