How and Why FELCA was Established

FELCA (Federation of Education and Language Consultant Associations) is a worldwide association of national associations of language and education consultant providers. Established in 2000, its founding concept was that agents and industry leaders from all countries should meet to discuss their businesses, agent to agent - an idea first conceived by several representatives of national associations of study abroad organizations from Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, and Japan in the mid 1990's.

By the late 1990's, FELCA's member associations comprised the education and language travel agents that spanned the regions of Asia Pacific, Europe, and Pan America, with founding members in the countries of Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand. Vietnam and Turkey joined later. Today, as our members continue to increase, our most recent newcomers, Russia and Mauritius are testaments to FELCA's growing presence worldwide. Additionally, Argentia, Belgium, Chile, Columbia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, and Baltic and Nordic countries have sent their representatives to the Annual General Meetings, or AGM and/ or regional meetings. Never before have so many executive representatives in the industry united under the same goals and there are many reasons why FELCA will continue to grow and succeed.

FELCA associations see the benefit of working together. While individual agents may be competitors in the marketplace, they come together at the national level to effect change beneficial to the industry as a whole.

As an international organization, FELCA enjoys the strength of its individual members. The language travel industry is developing, as recognition of its value by governments continues to grow. These governments are increasingly investing in ways to attract international students. Each national association has the potential to represent hundreds of thousands of students and therefore has a great ability to improve their national system through lobbying efforts directed at visa concerns or legal matters. But, as an international association, FELCA embodies these associations' combined potential, creating a lobbying strength that is undeniable.

FELCA promotes quality. FELCA's approach to developing the industry demonstrates care for the students and attention to quality. This elevates the reputation of the language travel industry, therefore, adding to the success of all businesses within the industry.

The AGM for FELCA takes place in London each year just before the Alphe UK conference and Study World Workshop. The AGM also encompasses a meeting with GAELA (www.gaela.org), which represents national language school associations. At the FELCA/GAELA meeting, virtually the entire language travel industry is represented and these meetings have helped the industry to progress as well as it has been doing for the last decade.

FELCA has created a code of practice, with established guidelines for national associations of language and education consultant providers. Those agency members that adhere to this code of practice may be recognised by their use of the FELCA Accredited logo. When students and educators see this logo, they can be assured that the agency they are dealing with will be maintaining its service and business standards to the highest levels.

Masaru Yamada
President, FELCA