This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article may have been created or edited in return for undisclosed payments, a violation of Wikipedia's terms of use. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly neutral point of view. (September 2020) A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly neutral point of view. Please discuss further on the talk page. (September 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. Please help improve it by removing promotional content and inappropriate external links, and by adding encyclopedic content written from a neutral point of view. (September 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
EF Education First
FounderBertil Hult
Switzerland Edit this on Wikidata
Key people
Philip Hult, Chairman
Alex Hult, Co-Chairman
Number of employees

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.

As of 2017, EF had approximately 52,000 employees in 116 countries.[2] The company has particular focus in China and other Asian markets under the brand name "English First".[3][4]

EF Academy Torbay Campus
EF Academy Torbay Campus


Bertil Hult dropped out of college to launch EF in 1965. He had earlier dropped out of junior high and gone to work for a ship broker in London, where he learned English by immersion; he had been unable to learn it in school due to dyslexia. The company started selling a French language course to Swedish students seeking to study in France, but he thought English was a bigger market and started offering services throughout Europe. In 1972 a friend convinced him to open a school in Japan, just when English-language keyboards were introduced there, and the company experienced explosive growth. The company expanded to the US in 1983, first establishing headquarters in California, then in Boston in 1988.[5]

Hult never took outside investment, growing the business with revenue.[5] By 2014 EF had approximately 37,000 employees in 55 countries.[6] By that time Hult had stopped running the company and had passed leadership to three of his sons, Philip, Alex and Eddie.[5][7]

EF Learning Labs publishes the annual EF English Proficiency Index, a ranking of English language skills by country.[8][9]

EF has developed a standardized English test called the EF Standard English Test.[10]

EF Academy Oxford Campus
EF Academy Oxford Campus

The company also offers e-learning program for adults called "EF English Live", which was formerly known as "EF Englishtown".[11][12] EF English Live program has been certified by the Education Alliance Finland for pedagogical quality.[13] Through a division called EF Tours, the company offers educational tours, service learning tours,[14] and conferences.[15]


In 2018, they became the owner and title sponsor of the Slipstream Sports cycling team, which then became known as EF Pro Cycling.[16]


  1. ^ "About Us". EF Education First. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  2. ^ Shemkus, Sarah (November 16, 2017). "EF Education First named No. 1 on list of largest Mass. companies". The Boston Globe.
  3. ^ "Education First's English First About Page". Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  4. ^ "WHAT IT TRULY TAKES TO TEACH ENGLISH IN CHINA". Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  5. ^ a b c Johnston, Katie (February 3, 2014). "Education First aims to bridge barriers with exchange". The Boston Globe.
  6. ^ Johnston, Katie (April 9, 2014). "Mass. team will help Brazil learn English for 2016 Olympics". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  7. ^ "Bring in People Who Are Better Than You". The New York Times. December 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "English where she is spoke". The Economist. October 24, 2012.
  9. ^ "English Proficiency Falters Among the French". The New York Times. November 10, 2013.
  10. ^ "Take A New Test Aimed At The World's English-Language Learners". NPR. October 1, 2014.
  11. ^ "Englishtown, Inc.: Private Company Information - BusinessWeek", Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved on 2010-10-21
  12. ^ "EF Opens Four New International Language Centers Abroad, to Meet Young People's Demand for Hip and Exotic Study Destinations", 2010-10. Digital Journal. Retrieved on 2010-10-22
  13. ^ Education Alliance Finland. "Catalog of certified products". Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Sandwich Students Offer Helping Hands In Dominican Republic". The Sandwich Enterprise. July 12, 2015.
  15. ^ Murphy, Colum (18 March 2014). "Cooperation on Flight Search Could Help Boost U.S., China Ties". WSJ.
  16. ^ Westemeyer, Susan (September 9, 2017). "EF Education First revealed as Cannondale-Drapac's new title sponsor for 2018". CyclingNews. Retrieved 2017-09-09.