This month, we talk to Daniel Bertole, Founder and Director of Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza.
The school offers Spanish courses in Spain on the beautiful island of Ibiza. Accommodation mainly in host families, shared apartments or residence. Ibiza is a spectacular beach destination, UNESCO world heritage site and the electronic music capital of the world.
Q. When did Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza join IALC and why?
We joined in 2013 as quality schools and agents we spoke with recommended IALC as the best association in the industry. Thanks to everyone who told us that by the way!
We are pioneers in language travel here in Ibiza and it can be difficult to evaluate which association is the right choice for each different school. For us, it is important that agents associate us with the quality we offer and to join a network which supports us in our continual improvement.
Q. How is 2015 going for you, and how does it compare to last year?
2015 has started very well and with growth. Nothing too exciting at the moment but hopefully a sign of bigger things to come this year. We are confident about the future and we are working on many new initiatives in marketing and in the organisation of the school.
Q. What developments do you expect in your country in 2015? How will they impact the language travel industry?
We expect our industry to grow and also that agents will send more students to independent schools rather than chain schools.
Spain is going through a difficult time although Ibiza is not particularly suffering from the crisis. Being an island mainly dependant on the tourism industry, along with some local agriculture, we do not depend on the economic developments on mainland Spain but rather on the developments in northern and central Europe. In the mind of an islander this independence is great!
My opinion is that Spain as a study destination will continue to grow slowly in the main markets such as Germany and Switzerland and, for us here in Ibiza, the Netherlands, Italy and the US. This is down to the value for money offered by Spanish schools in terms of high quality and low cost.
Independent schools are always the preferred partners for most agents and I am sure that it will stay like this. They might have some advantages in terms of their marketing power and potential but nobody can beat the experience a student gets from a team where each and every person from the director to cleaning lady chose to be in this industry. And IALC is a wonderful channel where we independent schools can unite in our power to compensate for some weaknesses in this area.
To summarize, we expect continued growth and with the help of IALC I am sure that we will be able to convince everybody about our great study destination here in Ibiza.
Q. Anything new this year? (If so why did you innovate? Can you already measure positive returns?
Our special programme like Spanish and Yoga and our teacher training for Spanish teachers. Where if not Ibiza?
Q. Where do the majority of your students come from?
Usually from Western European countries like Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. We welcome many Russians, Americans and Japanese each year as well.
Q. What are your most popular student activities?
Anything with tapas and other typical food from Spain is usually very popular. And of course to go exploring the 56 official beaches in a radius of 17 square km. Many students are fascinated by our World Heritage sites with Phoenician tombs and excavation sites and the excursion to the neighbouring island of Formentera is always a highlight. It is a true paradise you can visit in only one day. Simply beautiful!
Q. 3 things that make your school special for your students?
Ibiza, Ibiza, Ibiza . Need I say more?… Only kidding … The unique destination and location of our school in the city centre, our quality accreditations and the welcoming, family atmosphere.
* * * * *
Q. How did you get started in the language travel industry?
Living in Madrid and my wife being from Ibiza, we saw that there is no accredited language school in Ibiza. We decided it was time to create one in this great destination. My background is international marketing and training and my wife has always been a language teacher. With a good amount of entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of sweat, and some tears, the school is growing at a great pace. We are accredited by the Instituto Cervantes and we are IALC members. There is still a long way to go to reach our goals and we look forward to find out who will join us on our journey.
Q. Languages you speak or would like to speak?
I speak German, Spanish, English, Slovenian and Serbian/Croatian. My parents are from the former Yugoslavia, I grew up in Germany and studied in the States. I would also like to learn Russian in the near future.
Q. Favourite travel destination?
Steinbach near Frankfurt in Germany. This is my hometown and every now and then I have to go back to eat my mother´s food and have a beer with my oldest friends.
Q. Favourite pastime?
Anything with my two kids and my wife.
Q. Favourite meal?
Bullit de peix. Ibizenco fish stew.
Q. Dream dinner guest(s)?
Daniel Bertole, Founder and Director of Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza