We spoke to Seth Rutrakool, Managing Director of Thai agency GENT. He shares his tips for recruiting Thai students, and talks about the challenges and opportunities in the market. GENT is an English UK partner agency and a member of TIECA.
Interested in accessing the Thai market? Come along to the English UK Asia-Pacific Roadshow.
What kind of students do you send to the UK? What are the most popular course types and destinations?
We send juniors and a few young adult students. The most popular course for the study group programs would be General English plus exciting activities. However, for the young adults, IELTS or the specialized courses such as English for Business, Law or Medicine have been requested.
Regarding to the location, London is still the most popular destination. However, we normally suggest a few other locations where we have quality schools, and we have got very good feedback from the students for these options as well.
Have you seen any recent changes in what students are looking for?
Yes, the students tend to travel alone from a younger and younger age. Not many schools can offer courses for young students all year round.
What are the current challenges in your market?
Thailand is a price sensitive market. For some students and parents, price is the first priority when choosing a school, which sometimes causes issues when they arrive if they don't get what they are expecting, in terms of the quality of teaching and also the quality of the host families.
What are your students' main motivations for choosing the UK as a study destination?
UK is the original of English language and also the exchange rate now is not high. In general, it is safe and students can travel around easily with the effectiveness of the transport system.
Here are Seth's tips for language centres who want to recruit more students from Thailand:
- Focus on the all year round junior market
- High School integration programs are becoming more popular
- Train agents well, as most parents and students will go via the agents
- Differentiate: most language schools have similar offerings, so promote your unique benefits to match the demands of Thai students. Priorities include high quality teaching, host families, student welfare, price and location
- The Thai market has two seasons: April for young students and June - August for University students. Thailand is a good market to recruit for April, but be warned that students are very price sensitive
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