EF Education First

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For the yachts, see EF Education (yacht) and EF Language.
EF Education First
Industry Education
Founded 1965
Founder Bertil Hult
Headquarters Switzerland
Number of employees
Website www.ef.edu
EF Education First headquarters in Lucerne, Switzerland

EF Education First (abbreviated as EF) is an international education company that specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs, and cultural exchange. The company was founded in 1965 by Bertil Hult in the Swedish university town of Lund. The company is privately held by the Hult family and is headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland.

EF has approximately 40,000 staff and 500 offices and schools located in more than 50 countries.[1] EF celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015.[2]


Bertil Hult launched EF in 1965 from the basement of his university dormitory.[3] Bertil’s childhood struggles with dyslexia served as his inspiration for EF.[3] After dropping out of school, due in part to his inability to learn English, Bertil took a job as an errand boy for a Swedish bank.[3] His supervisors quickly recognized his work ethic and sent him to London on work exchange as a reward.[3] Only a few months after relocating, Bertil could speak English. His time in the U.K. taught Bertil that “learning by doing” could have an equal, if not greater, impact on educational outcomes as traditional classroom methods.[3]


Philip Hult and Alex Hult are the company’s co-chairmen overseeing EF’s day-to-day operation as well as its language and academic businesses.[4] Dr. Edward Hult is CEO, North America, overseeing EF’s educational travel and cultural exchange divisions.[5]

Company overview[edit]

Divisions and business units[edit]

EF Education First is organized in two separate divisions: EF Language and Schools and EF Educational Travel.[3] Specific business units within these two main divisions include:

EF Language and Schools division[edit]

  • EF International Language Centers
  • EF Local English Language Centers for Adults
  • EF Local English Language Centers for Kids and Teens
  • EF English Live
  • EF Corporate Language Learning Solutions
  • EF Learning Labs

EF Educational Travel division[edit]

  • EF Explore America
  • EF Educational Tours
  • EF College Study Tours
  • EF College Break
  • EF Go Ahead Tours
  • EF Education First Worldwide

Affiliated organizations[edit]

EF is also affiliated with an independent, not-for-profit business school, Hult International Business School, and two independent exchange programs, EF High School Exchange Year and Cultural Care Au Pair.

Hult International Business School[edit]

  • Hult International Business School, Graduate School
  • Hult International Business School, Undergraduate School

Cultural exchange programs[edit]

  • EF High School Exchange Year
  • Cultural Care Au Pair

Hult Prize[edit]

Notable projects and partnerships[edit]

EF is the official supplier of language training services to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. EF served in the same capacity for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. In the years leading up to the 2016 Olympics, EF will be working to provide English language training to an estimated 1 million Brazilians, including Olympics volunteers and 550,000 school children across the country.

EF Learning Labs publishes the annual EF English Proficiency Index, the world’s first and largest ranking of English skills by country.[6] The latest report was released in November, 2013.[7] The EF EPI claims to show a link between a country’s adult English proficiency and its competitiveness.[8]

EF has developed a standardized English test which it compares in methodology and precision to the TOEFL or IELTS exam. The EF Standard English Test is free for all test takers. [9]

Each year, the United Nations Alliance on Civilizations partners with EF to host the UNAOC-EF Summer School, which brings together 100 youth leaders from all over the world to work on youth engagement in decision-making processes in their home countries.[10]

Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition for social good.[11] Each year, President Clinton challenges MBA and undergraduate students from universities around the world to solve a pressing social challenge.[11] The student teams compete in a series of regional challenges before five finalists are selected to present their ideas at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.[11] EF’s founding family awards $1 million USD in seed funding to support the winning team as they launch their idea.[11] Hult International Business School is the Prize’s lead sponsor.


  1. ^ "Mass. team will help Brazil learn English for 2016 Olympics". The Boston Globe. April 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ "EF Hello 50 Homepage". EF Education First. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Education First aims to bridge barriers with exchange". The Boston Globe. February 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Bring in People Who Are Better Than You". The New York Times. December 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ "BBJ names 2013's 40 under 40 honorees". Boston Business Journal. September 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "English where she is spoke". The Economist. October 24, 2012. 
  7. ^ "English Proficiency Falters Among the French". The New York Times. November 10, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Countries with Better English Have Better Economies". Harvard Business Review. November 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Take A New Test Aimed At The World's English-Language Learners". NPR. October 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Five Tips for Twentysomethings Who Want To Make a Difference". Huffington Post. September 11, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Hult Prize accelerator preps competitors for $1m". The Boston Globe. August 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]