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A blog that looks behind the scenes at how we bring our mission to life, every day

7 surprising things about EF Education First

7 surprising things about EF Education First

If you’re even a little familiar with EF Education First, you probably already know some basic facts about us. We were founded in Sweden, now we span the globe. We believe in the power of experiential learning and are on a mission to open the world through education. We love the color pink.

Here are seven things you might not know. Like tiles in a mosaic, together they create a unique picture of our history, our culture, and our impact.

1) EF didn’t originally stand for EF Education First

EF’s original name was ‘Europeiska Ferieskolan,’ Swedish for European holiday school. We grew out of that name as our programs and schools expanded around the world, and eventually renamed ourselves EF Education First.

2) A man who couldn’t read properly started a giant in education

Our founder Bertil Hult has worked to overcome dyslexia for his entire life. Reading has always been a challenge for him, and he knew that the ‘normal way’ that schools taught at that time wasn’t enough. So in 1965, he started EF—a culturally immersive education company.

3) A community of multiple multilinguists

If you work at EF, there is a very good chance that you speak more than one language. In fact, EFers speak an average of three languages.

4) Part of Berlin now sits in Boston

A piece of the Berlin Wall stands proudly on our North American headquarters campus in Boston. The Wall was a gift from EF staff to our founder, and it is a fitting reminder of what EF stands for—breaking down the barriers of language, culture, and geography that divide us.

5) The world record for the Longest Lesson Learned

In 2005, we broke the Guinness World Record for ‘Longest Lesson Learned’ when an EF teacher and 20 determined students studied English in our Shanghai school for 72 hours straight.

6) Making new use of the old stock exchange

EF’s Zurich office moved into the former Swiss Stock Exchange building (known locally as Neue Börse) in 2019. Talk about trading up!

7) Going to infinity and beyond

Defying gravity, our EF flag has flown at the International Space Station and scaled to the top of Mount Everest.