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Languages Canada Hosts Korean and Taiwanese Education Agents in Victoria and Vancouver

As the world’s 6th and 14th largest ELT markets and ranking among the top 5 fastest-growing markets for Canada’s language education sector in 2023, South Korea and Taiwan made for an outstanding choice as the focus of Languages Canada’s first inbound trade mission and FAM tour of 2024, which brought a delegation composed of over 30 Korean and Taiwanese agencies to Victoria and Vancouver for a full week of activities.

While Canada’s share in both markets is strong, there is still plenty of opportunity to tap into our competitors’ piece of the pie, especially as Canadian institutions look to optimize ROI by targeting markets with the potential for high conversion rates. According to IRCC data obtained by Languages Canada, South Korea had a study permit application approval rate of 97% in 2023, while 91% of Taiwanese students’ applications were approved. Thanks to these excellent approval rates and eTA eligibility for short-term studies (6 months or less), both markets should be on recruiters’ radars.

The event kicked off in Victoria on Sunday, April 7, with a visit to Global Village English Centre. The delegation enjoyed a walking tour of BC’s charming capital and a campus visit guided by the local GV team. This first day was capped off by a welcome reception for agents and Canadian institution representatives at the Fairmont Empress’s Shaughnessy Ballroom. Nearly 90 delegates were in attendance, including representatives from 30 Canadian institutions—Languages Canada members, Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (CAPS-I) members, BC Council for International Education (BCCIE) institutions, as well as event partners and sponsors—a testimony to the popularity of LC’s trade missions and the significant level of interest in the Korean and Taiwanese student markets.

Languages Canada’s Director of International Affairs, Diego Sanchez, commented: "The Korean agent landscape has changed significantly over the past three years. Despite being a traditional and mature source country, the local players are different and members need to build new relationships. The Taiwanese delegation, meanwhile, included agents who have been promoting Canada for a long time, but also others who specialize in competing destinations like the UK, the US, and NZ. They were selected because of their interest in expanding their business to Canada and seeking out new partners in North America. We received over 50 applications from agencies in both markets and had to narrow down our selection to 32."

Languages Canada is very thankful for the work performed by IECA, the association representing over 100 agencies in Taiwan, and their president, Danny Chang, who was instrumental in making the event a success.

April 8 and 9 were dedicated to B2B meetings between agents and institutions at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. Close to 1,000 meetings were held during the event.

CAPS-I’s Lisa Williamson shared her views: "Everything from start to finish with this inbound Trade Mission to Victoria was well planned and organized and made for a very productive and enjoyable event. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet representatives from Korean and Taiwanese educational agencies and for them to meet CAPS-I member schools from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. Korea remains a strong market for K-12 public schools and Taiwan is an important emerging market for CAPS-I members as we embark on our first mission to Taiwan in 2025. We look forward to continuing our relationships with the agencies and a huge thank you to Languages Canada for the opportunity to be part of this event."

In addition to the B2B program in Victoria, the Languages Canada team escorted the Asian delegation on a 3-day tour of LC member campuses in British Columbia, with stops at:

Feedback from Korean and Taiwanese agents and Canadian participants was overwhelmingly positive.

"Meeting and engaging with school representatives throughout this LC trade mission, I am assured that Canada is the perfect place for our students to experience a different culture and feel welcomed as visitors. It was a busy and intensive schedule, but everything was quite impressive, including the variety of hotel foods each day, efficient time management, and a decent mixture of meetings and tours. Many thanks to the LC team, especially Diego and Yulia, who are always attentive and make every effort to support the team. Already missing all the members of the Korean team, as well as our lovely Taiwanese friends."
— Julia Hong, Manager, Chongro Overseas Educational Institute (Korea)

"The Languages Canada FAM trip is probably the best one I have ever attended over the past 10 years. Our 13 IECA-member delegates really appreciated meeting the representatives of language schools, high schools, colleges, and universities, as well as their hospitality on the school visits. As the President of IECA, I saw how much our agents enjoyed attending this event. Also, the handbook is really the best I have ever seen. It contains school descriptions, representatives' names and email addresses, as well as photos. I will keep this handbook for many years. I also appreciated the support and hard work of Air Canada’s Sophia to make this trip successful. Again, thank you to Diego, Yulia, Rachel, and Lisa. The Fairmont Empress is unforgettable and the Languages Canada FAM trip was truly a successful event."
— Danny Chang, General Manager, Global Education Services (GES) and President of IECA (Taiwan)

"It was full circle moment for me because as an international student, I attended ILSC, Bodwell High School, Coquitlam College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. What an amazing thing to meet with all four institutions in Victoria! I had a wonderful experience as a student in Canada and now, as an entrepreneur, it’s my pleasure to send students to institutions I know from first-hand experience."
— Sean Shih, CanFly Education Agency Inc. (Taiwan)

"This is my first time working with Languages Canada, but I've been to lots of higher education conferences and agency events in the past. The team’s professionalism and friendliness truly impressed me. We’ve already received applications, which makes this a very fruitful and successful trade mission indeed. Thank you again for organizing it and looking forward to the next one!"
— Michelle Fu, Assistant Director of Admissions, LaSalle College Vancouver

“Languages Canada did a great job selecting the agencies for this mission. I really appreciated that there were agencies of all sizes attending the event, from big companies to small and medium-sized agencies. Some of them were well-versed in the Canadian market, but there were also agents who typically send students to New Zealand, the US, the UK, and Ireland, that are looking to step into the Canadian market, not just for better diversification, but because students are asking them for more options.”
— Nikki Lee, Regional Sales Director, Asia, ILSC Education Group

“Do I ever love having the opportunity to meet agents in Victoria, where they can see with their own eyes what a special place it is to study! The energy of this FAM Tour group was amazing, and after 2 days of meetings downtown, I was thrilled to show off our facilities at the University of Victoria and introduce them to many of my UVic colleagues. We can always count on Languages Canada to organize an efficient schedule, and we made some great memories together!”
— Rena Fowler, International Recruitment Coordinator, University of Victoria

“We were delighted to meet participants from Korea and Taiwan for this well-organized and dynamic trade mission, showcasing Canada as an ideal destination for various educational opportunities. Thanks to Languages Canada, we had the opportunity to exemplify Canada's welcoming spirit and its potential as a hub for successful partnerships.”
— Martha Delgadillo, EC Vancouver & Adrian Gatt, EC English Asia Sales Director

Languages Canada sincerely thanks Air Canada’s offices in Taipei and Seoul who supported agencies with their travel to Canada. Sophia Chen, General Manager of AC in Taiwan and Singapore was in Victoria and had the chance to interact with agencies responsible for sending thousands of students every year to North America.

LC is also very grateful to International Insurance for their generous support of this trade mission, as well as CIBC | Simplii Financial

This initiative was made possible thanks to the Global Affairs Canada CanExport – Associations program and to the extensive support given by the Trade Commissioners at the Embassy of Canada to South Korea and the Trade Office in Taipei.

Languages Canada’s next inbound trade mission and FAM tour will take place in December 2024 in Montreal and Toronto with Thai and Vietnamese education agents.