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The Role of Agents in ESL

January 24, 2006


Agents play a key role in the world of English language travel. For schools in native-English-speaking countries, agency representation abroad is an essential aspect of student recruiting.

And for English language schools elsewhere, agents can help place your students on follow-up courses in an English-speaking country—or you might add a string to your bow by becoming an agent yourself. Language travel agents need to be well acquainted with the schools they represent in order to offer sound advice to students . . .

. . . It is reassuring for students—who may never have traveled abroad alone before—to be able to meet face-to-face with somebody who can help them make an appropriate choice and book the course, accommodation and offer advice on any specific requirements. They should also be well informed about the country of destination and able to answer any questions about cost of living, food, climate, transport. Many aspects of studying abroad are worrying and the agent should be able to advise and help with such issues as visas, medical insurance, and pre-course testing.

The agents earn commission on placements and might charge students a handling fee as well.
However, it is obviously important to deal only with reputable agents and a number of national agent associations worldwide have stringent standards to ensure the good working practice of their members. The Federation of Education and Language Consultants Associations (Felca) is an association of language and education travel associations from all over the world: the addresses and web links to agent associations in your country, can be found at http://www.felca.org.


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  1. John Says:

    Hi there. I love your site! Great job! I am working for an ESL school in southern California, and lately we've been talking about getting new agents in foreign countries. Where do we begin when looking for and finding a reputable agent? We have searched online, but haven't found much yet. Getting more/new agents is the key to our success. Please help!


  1. Brenda Townsend Hall Says:

    Hi John,

    It all depends which regions you wish to attract students from. I would suggest you lookat the FELCA website mentioned in the blog and at www.icef.com. Both organizations have fairs and workshops that give schools a chance to meet agents and you caould also make online enquiries. Good luck!

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