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September 25, 2003

Fly & Relax With Eikaiwa

English conversation schools seem to be increasingly turning to tie ups with companies in other sectors in an effort to attract students. GABA, a company that arranges private English classes, has teamed up with Japan Airlines to offer air miles to prospective students. 100 miles is the reward for taking a sample lesson, and those who sign up get 1,000 miles. JAL has formed a partnership with 28 companies and plans to do so with 150 by the end of the year.

Meanwhile GEOS has opened a joint English conversation school/coffee shop with Mifune Seattle's Best Coffee in the Kansai region of western Japan. The first outlet is in a shopping center in the city of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture. The entrance is like a typical US coffee shop, with the school located at the back. The effect is to have less emphasis on a strictly "learning" environment and more on a natural, relaxed way to use English. Many of the coffee shop staff are former GEOS teachers or students and all training is done in English. The two companies are planning to build on the experience gained from this project and open more outlets in the region.
(From Japanese articles in Eigo Kyoiku News)

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