Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘language learning’

Language learning a priority in Balkans

Using the Facebook page of Verbalisti, a vibrant social network focused on language learning managed by PRODIREKT, consumers were asked: ”How important is it for your children to learn a foreign language in the native speaking country?”_

Almost 80% of the 1,226 voters responded: “It’s extremely important and I will provide it for my child regardless of financial constraints in the family budget.”

Prodirekt managing director, Dejan Trpkovic, told The PIE News, “The results are important because they show the language travel potential in the region and they are an indication of the future behaviour of parents.” He added, “There will be more students studying foreign languages abroad as the economic situation in the region improves.”

Read the full story here

_

Foreign Languages and the Social Language Network Verbalisti Show a Shiny New Internet Face in Serbia and Montenegro

Belgrade, Serbia – 9 April 2012 – Verbalisti, the best known communication and social language network in southeast Europe, owned by PRODIREKT LLC, today has officially promoted its brand new website in Serbian at www.verbalisti.com. The social language network Verbalisti is created for language aficionados and people wishing to improve their communication skills.

In line with the network philosophy to actively use new media and entertainment in attracting, connecting and educating its users, the Verbalisti website offers multitude of photo galleries and video clips. It also stands out from many other websites dealing with education and communication by the clarity of its design, user-friendliness and transparency in presenting terms and conditions of booking a language course abroad. Users can easily research and compare the prices and content of various language programs, the information given is clear and complete, while video clips offer additional insight into colleges, accommodation facilities and other students’ testimonials.

And last but not least, Verbalisti have made sure we would happily visit their cyber corner repeatedly by featuring two branded media categories InSpotlight and Speak Your Mind! Here you’ll find the Verbalisti interviews with the famous actors, singers, directors local and international, interesting experiences of the leading businessmen, film and concerts announcements and reviews, as well as excellently produced video reports on the latest developments in foreign languages, communication and media.

Review by Aleksandar Jovanovic
Editor-in-Chief of Programs AKTUELNO and Automedija
Source: AKTUELNO
B2B Interactive Media Group

About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT (www.prodirektgroup.com) provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group and social network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies and professional training, helps young professionals and business people achieve their objectives in international communication.

The communication and language network Verbalisti (www.facebook.com/verbalisti) has been created for language lovers and all those wishing to improve their communication skills. Furthermore, Verbalisti are the answer to the growing demand for the regional standardization in foreign language studies. Verbalists offer quality language courses for students of all ages and levels according to their various budget needs.

The UK Changes the Visa Application Process, Implications for Language Learners in the Balkans and EE

Timothy Hughes, Entry Clearance Officer at the British Embassy in Moscow, delivered a presentation on behalf of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to announce new visa changes at the recent ICEF Moscow Workshop, where hundreds of educators from approximately 30 countries around the world met quality student recruitment agents from Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The UK’s Point Based System (PBS) requires people to obtain 40 points to qualify for a Tier 4 student visa. Students need to present a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies from a Tier 4 sponsor and must demonstrate that they have enough money to cover course fees and monthly living costs whilst studying.

Hughes shared some background on student visitor visas and outlined plans for the year ahead. He explains further in the video interview below.

As Hughes’ comments illustrate, various changes to the visa application process will be implemented from 6 April 2012. One key difference is that the UKBA can now assess visa applications up to six months before the travel date, giving more flexibility to agents and students.

Other notable changes that come into effect as of 6 April 2012:

  • Visa application fees are going up.
  • There will now be time limits for degree studies in the UK, including a maximum time limit of five years for study at bachelors and masters level. (Note that there will be exceptions for those completing a PhD as well as certain longer programs of study.)
  • The maximum time for work placements will now be limited to one-third of the course time for studies outside of universities. The maximum work term for those studying at universities will remain half of the course time.
  • Institutions that do not currently meet the UK’s tough new criteria for Tier 4 visa sponsors, but have applied for and are awaiting inspection, are only able to sponsor a limited number of international students in the interim. This interim limit will be extended to cover the further transitional period to the end of 2012, by which time all providers will have been inspected.

Hughes forecasts a healthy demand for visas, particularly in the run-up to the Olympics, and highlights the strong desire from the Russian market to come to the UK to accelerate the language learning process. “There has been a huge demand and interest from Russians in learning the English language,” notes Hughes. Last year they received 177,000 visa applications from Russians to come to the UK, which marked the biggest Russian application volume ever seen.

The UKBA’s recent announcements occur against the backdrop of a highly critical, report from the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) on the agency’s 2009 implementation of the Tier 4 points-based system for students from outside the European Economic Area. The NAO report was particularly critical of the UKBA’s enforcement of the new visa rules with regard to students who entered the UK on Tier 4 visas to work rather than study and also with respect to cases where students overstayed the term of their UK visas.

A related article in The Chronicle of Higher Education sums up the debate arising from the NAO report as follows.

The British government is debating new efforts to curb immigration, with universities raising concerns about the effects on foreign students and scholars. Regarding the new report, the chief executive of Universities UK, which represents university vice chancellors, said in a statement that ‘visa abuse in relation to U.K. universities is very low compared to other parts of the education sector,’ adding that with strong global competition for international students, Britain needs to ‘ensure that legitimate concerns about immigration do not end up causing irreversible damage to a profoundly successful British export.’

 _

Young Learners Language Education Tops Family Budget Priorities, Shows the Verbalisti Survey in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia

Belgrade, Serbia – March 6, 2012 – PRODIREKT and its language network Verbalisti today announced the results of the poll designed to discover how parents in the Balkans feel about the language education of their children. The visitors of the Verbalisti Facebook page were asked “How important is it for your children to learn a foreign language in the native speaking country?”. The survey was conducted in four countries – Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, during two time intervals – from 21st November to 21st December 2011, and from January 6 to February 6, 2012, and it generated enormous interest among the Verbalisti network fans and other Facebook members alike. The poll reached 247,757 people, while 1,566 participants cast their vote, with 1,226 of them saying that they would send their children to learn a foreign language in a native speaking country, regardless of the family budget constraints.

Verbalisti Poll: Young Learners Language Education Tops Family Budget Priorities

The Verbalisti poll reached 247,757 people, while 1,566 participants cast their vote

The Prodirekt poll was inspired by the similar one Berlitz Corporation conducted in Japan, Germany, the USA, Mexico, China, Brazil, France, Poland and Italy earlier in 2011. The purpose of the Berlitz poll was to determine how parents of children between the ages of 4 and 17 perceive the importance of foreign language learning. Their key findings show that almost 90% expressed interest in foreign language learning for their children outside regular school hours. Countries with recent strong economic growth, such as China, Mexico and Brazil, showed especially high interest in language education abroad. The lowest interest was in developed countries such as USA, Japan, France and Germany.

“It was interesting to find out from the Berlitz poll how parents in those 9 countries feel about language education of their children, but it is also helpful to see how Berlitz findings relate to our poll conducted in part of Southeast Europe. Furthermore, we wanted to determine what the parents’ opinion about learning a foreign language at home and abroad was”, said Jasmina Saric, director of educational programs, Prodirekt.

Verbalisti (attending My London program) about to leave for LondonThe Prodirekt survey polled 1566 people from 4 countries: Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants were asked “How important is it for your children to learn a foreign language in the native speaking country?” There were 4 answer options:

a)    It’s extremely important and I will provide it for my child regardless of financial constraints in the family budget – voted by 78% (1,226 votes)

b)    It’s very important, and I’ll provide it for my child if the family budget allows it  – voted by 16% (246 votes)

c)     It’s not that important, a local language school is good enough – voted by 2% (34 votes)

d)    It’s not important at all – voted by 4% (51 votes)

The Facebook members can access the poll here.

The poll results clearly showed that parents in SEE regard foreign languages as extremely important part of their children’s education:

  • 96% of them would send their children to a private language school – 94% to a language school in a native country, plus additional 2% who maintained that a local language school was good enough for their children’s language education;
  • 78% of the poll partakers uphold that improving a language in the country where its spoken is so important that they will provide it for their children regardless of the financial constraints in a family budget
  • Only 5% maintains that learning a language abroad is not important – 2% believes a local language school will do the job, and 3% claims that language education abroad is not important at all.
Jasmina Saric, Director Educational Programs, PRODIREKT

Jasmina Saric: "With the economic crunch and high unemployment rate among young people, parents perceive their children's language competencies as a key factor in getting a job, or at least as a necessary requirement for further education options abroad"

Jasmina Saric from Prodirekt further commented on the poll results: “The prolonged and severe economic crisis apparently does not affect, at least declaratively, the parents’ willingness to spend on their children education. This makes perfect sense: with the economic crunch and high unemployment rate among young people, parents perceive their children’s language competencies as a key factor in getting a job, especially in the local offices of foreign companies, or at least as a necessary requirement for further education options abroad.”

This high percentage of parents in Southeast Europe who perceive foreign languages as key to their children’s success ties in with the analysis about the boom in the junior language market, published by Dan Thomas, of The Pie, an online publication for educators (Is the junior language market seeing a boom?”, January 12, 2012). In an ever more competitive job market parents recognize a second language – and having studied abroad – as a distinct advantage. The Pie analysis also shows that the demand is not only for English courses, but for other world languages as well.

Job opportunities have been shrinking with the global crisis and employers are becoming more selective; therefore, speaking English as a second language has become more important. The Verbalisti survey confirms the Pie findings, but also points out that in the developing economies the need for children language education is perceived as a must, and that parents are willing to continue spending on their children’s education abroad even in the harsh economic times.

_
About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group and social network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies and professional training, helps young professionals and business people achieve their objectives in international communication.

The communication and language network Verbalisti has been created for language lovers and all those wishing to improve their communication skills. Furthermore, Verbalisti are the answer to the growing demand for the regional standardization in foreign language studies. Verbalists offer quality language courses for students of all ages and levels according to their various budget needs.

Social Media Powers Up Language Education and Communication Development in the Balkans

Belgrade, Serbia – February 20, 2012 – PRODIREKT today announced that its communication and language network Verbalisti exceeded an important 10,000-member mark for its Facebook business page. PRODIREKT recently celebrated another landmark when its Verbalisti YouTube media channel logged 100,000 video views, the barrier that was broken only two years after the channel inception, with the video views connected mostly to the communication network authored content. The success of the Verbalisti social media came after some regional media already proclaimed network Verbalisti in 2011 as the fastest growing language education network in Southeast Europe.

Verbalisti Speak Your Mind! media segment

Speak Your Mind! media segment, featuring celebrity interviews, is the most popular on Verbalisti Facebook page

Speaking of the impact social media had on PRODIREKT’s business, Dejan Trpkovic, managing director, said: “Our Verbalisti Facebook group is growing larger by the day. Social media and the Internet have allowed us to grow fast our language education business through word of mouth. This is probably the best recognition one company can get, and for an educational consultancy or an educator, it is also the most desirable. A good part of our target audience is young learners and professionals, and they mostly communicate through social networks, sharing their views, language travel experiences and forming opinions. In 2011, about one fourth of our language travel bookings came from recommendations.”

The Pie News, the British online publication for international educators, in its January 8 analysis report (How is international education embracing social media?) points out that most educators realize they need to be active in social media, but many don’t really know where to focus, after having possibly set up their own Facebook page. This is despite the fact that the target audience of the international education sector is often a young demographic. Verbalisti have found the winning formula. The communication network has forged important media partnerships (the sponsorship of the show program Pop Idol and regional Nisville Jazz Festival, cooperation with Taramount, Cinefest and Tuck movie distribution houses, to name few). Moreover, during the past two years, Verbalisti conducted more than 100 interviews with celebrities and prominent business people, making it stand out not only as a social media platform, but as a potent media house as well.

Social media competition - Verbalizuj se!

Social media competition – Verbalizuj se! There were 240 competitors who verbalized their photos, coming from no less than 18 countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Nepal, Egypt, Ukraine, Cameroon, Slovakia, Philippines, USA, Italia, Turkey, Uganda, Germany

“It is important to motivate our customers to share their experience, yet, it is equally important to present high quality, entertaining content to keep customers, partners and “by-standers” involved and active. When we launched celebrity interviews with Speak Your Mind! media segment we knew it was going to become the most popular on our Facebook and YouTube; however, it also helped us attain our main goal – education through entertainment. And, nowadays, entertainment and engaging content rule. This is the test most social media fail. If a business isn’t engaging and interacting with customers, the silence is deafening. I believe we managed to strike the right balance in our social media with the education content that is often entertaining.”

In addition to its Facebook page and YouTube channel, the communication network Verbalisti maintains its media presence with the two language specific blogs – stranijeziciblog.com in Serbian, and stranskijazici.com in Macedonian, both enjoying the high support from the local online community.

About PRODIREKT LLC and Communication Network Verbalisti (Verbalists)
PRODIREKT provides strategic management and executive education and training in the Balkan region. PRODIREKT’s innovative solutions for corporate management, marketing and international business communication offer a bridge between strategy and education, while its business group, with the communication network Verbalisti, dedicated to language studies, professional training, translation and interpreting services, helps young professionals and corporate clients achieve their objectives in international communication.

The communication and language network Verbalisti (www.facebook.com/verbalisti) has been created for language lovers and all those wishing to improve their communication skills. Furthermore, Verbalisti are the answer to the growing demand for the regional standardization in foreign language studies. Verbalists offer quality language courses for students of all ages and levels according to their various budget needs.