Having recently represented Oxford English Academy at an ICEF Agent Focus Workshop in Istanbul, my eyes were opened to not only an incredible country, but a huge student market.

According to the EF English Proficiency Index for 2016, Turkey scored a very low 47.89, placing the country 51st out of 72 countries. Students are recognising the importance of learning English and believe that they will not necessarily become proficient by studying in local language schools. This leads to the fact that Turkish students are travelling more and endeavour to study abroad rather than in their home country. One can also not ignore the political instability in the country which adds to the lure of foreign study.

It has been reported that students travelling from Turkey range between the ages of 19 – 24 mostly, comprising 44% of the market. Students above 25 take up 28% of the market.

A staggering 43% of student study and travel is for English and other language learning purposes. Summer school programmes are also reaching new heights of popularity and currently contribute to 14%.

61% of students claimed improving future business and career opportunities as their reason for travelling abroad to study. 13% stated that they wanted to experience and live in a foreign country as their reason. Personal development was next on the list adding up to 12% of the students interviewed, followed lastly by academic development at 11%.

Considering the size of the country and its population, the awareness of the possibility to study abroad is still extremely low. Of those who are aware and do travel abroad to learn a new language, 84% do so to learn and improve their English. French, German and Spanish feature to a much lesser extent.

Luckily for our school in Oxford, 40% of travelling language learners prefer the United Kingdom. As it is seen as the birthplace of the English language it makes sense that it is the number one English learning destination. However, I am also happy to report that many agents I met were very excited and intrigued by the idea of sending students to Cape Town. Either way we have it covered! I will tell you a little more next time…