Hi Jacqui! Welcome to the Study Abroad Panel. We’d like to pick your brain on a couple of topics. Your company, Twin Group, is engaged in the training and operation of language programmes. So how do you perceive the role of AI within the industry?
We believe AI will have a role to play in language programmes – but not in the way some might think. We know generative AI can write good English text. That said, students visit us for many reasons; from a technical standpoint, it’s about the four functions – reading and writing (yes, AI is a big help there), speaking and listening (this sort of learning has been technically available and cheap since the age of the TV and cassette, let alone AI). Unsurprisingly, idiomatic language is often not learned in overseas English lessons. We teach the language of real life, not just the language of the classroom.
I do think we will need to adapt to coach students in the more sophisticated use of AI, accessing subtleties with a productivity not always easy in classroom learning. Obvious uses are in such areas as tonality and sentiment analysis (both for reading and writing); neither are new, of course, but productivity in both could be greatly assisted.
One final word – can we tell if students are “cheating” with AI? At the moment, yes! Our work experience arm can spot an AI CV quite easily. As for the future? Not sure.
It’ll be interesting to watch how AI evolves and what it’ll mean to language learning. For now, we know to put a little effort into our CVs! Moving on: which trend do you think will impact your business the most this year?
I’m cheating a bit here – and being optimistic – citing more than one. Firstly, the return of student travel. Our school groups business is up around 20% this year and our summer camp bookings up by more than 100% – even higher than 2019.
Secondly, the optimistic side of me sees a general reduction in the constraints placed on European/UK student travel post-Brexit. The UK has already made it easier for French student groups to visit the UK with just ID cards and in the last few days the German ambassador has made the case to the UK for easier student travel in both directions.
Thirdly, I see an increasing emphasis on relevance to career development for young people, from getting a job to in-work skills, delivered in English as international careers and exports grow in relevance.
We’ll let you off, as these are all positive trends that we’d like to see more of. Let’s finish with an easy one: tell us one of the best things about WYSE Travel Confederation.
The global diversity of the membership and the opportunity diversity provides!
We hear you!
Study Abroad Panel
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