EF English First
76% Rating
(29 Reviews)

EF English First

How we began: EF English First was founded in 1965 by a young Swedish entrepreneur named Bertil Hult. Our first office was modest and our concept was straightforward: take Swedish students to England to learn English.

Who we are: Almost 5 decades later, EF Education First is now the world's largest private education company, comprised of over 15 subsidiaries and non-profit organizations centered around language learning, educational travel and degree programs. Today, EF has over 26,000 employees, teachers and volunteers; with offices and schools in 54 countries, EF has turned the world into a global classroom.

Where we are going: EF's mission is more timely than ever. EF remains committed to breaking down barriers of language, culture and geography by providing the highest quality educational experiences-whether that's in another country, around the corner, on or the internet

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Brandon
Male
32 years old
Shanghai, China
Alvernia University

Honest company, Great experience

9/10

I have worked predominately in EF's adult schools, and over the past two years I have met some of the best people in my life. From the students to my colleagues I have been beyond lucky with the people I have encountered.

When I first came to China, I only expected to be here for 1 or 2 years, but after I saw unlimited opportunities both inside and outside the company I decided to stay longer to develop myself professionally. At the end of 2 years of teaching I decided that maybe it was time to utilize my MBA. There were many opportunities across China, but I chose to stay with EF because this company has always been upfront and honest with me; I value that. This is a very large company (200+ schools in 50+ cities), but it still operates under a "small business" mentality. There are some aspects that make you know you are working for a large company (unavoidable), but the people you work with/report to give a very "small business" feeling.

Also, at EF, they are willing to take new and experienced people and give them opportunities to achieve what they desire. If you want to move up in the company, those opportunities are available. If you want to change cities for a new experience, please do! If you want to stay where you are and just enjoy life, you are welcome to. As long as you give EF your best, EF will return the favor.

I hope this helps. In full disclosure, I still work for the company, but the same review would be written if I didn't.

How can this program be improved?

The implementation of programs and communication of expectations from the external sites (outside the initial school) could be developed a little better. At the schools, sometimes there is very little time to adapt to new initiatives from the head office before the next one is rolled out.

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Jennifer
Female
25 years old
Shanghai
Northumbria University

Great opportunity for new Teachers!

10/10

My time as an EF Kids and Teens Teacher was mostly good. My co-workers and students were great, which made the work day go very quickly. I had Thursdays and Saturdays off, which I preferred, as I had time during the weekend to be with friends outside of EF. However, this did mean I would miss out on some social events on Tuesdays (as this is the day most teachers have off in most ESL schools). My work load was reasonable and the pay is pretty good (more than enough to live off of in China).

The biggest positive to EF is the size of the company. As it's so large and has been in China for years, you have the security and the help when you first move e.g. Visas, apartment hunting and training. Without this support it can be very stressful and overwhelming if you have to do it yourself. It also means there's a lot of other career opportunities in and outside of teaching.

How can this program be improved?

More paid Holiday

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Jana
Female
26 years old
Shanghai, China
University of Tampa

Reputable Company with Great Opportunities

10/10

My time with EF English First has been a positive two years. From the beginning, I was at ease with the communication with my recruiter and the application process. Once I arrived in Shanghai, I was given many resources and training sessions to help make me a confident teacher.

My first year was focused on learning the job and learning about my new home-away-from-home. In my second year, I focused on involving myself more with the company and was given opportunities to not be "just a teacher".

From experiences in the classroom and travel experiences out of the classroom...to the new friends I've made, I've enjoyed my time with EF.

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Lindsay
Female
40 years old
Dover, DE USA

Think again if you're an experienced teacher.

2/10

EF is probably a good way to get a foot in the proverbial door, if you're someone who has no teaching experience or qualifications. But if you are experienced, want to teach and not work in sales, want a sane, supportive environment conducive to personal and professional growth, do NOT go with EF.

Too many classes and students, too much pressure to make sales and keep customers, high stress environment not conducive to good education. They're operating on something of the Google or Facebook business model right now- cool, hip work environment with a flimsy management structure where everyone can be free to contribute THEIR ENTIRE LIVES. This may work in other organizations, but EF just left me wondering what I was working so hard for.

The pay isn't great, the "mission" is not reflected in the curriculum or behavior of management, you will likely not be appreciated for your contributions. You could easily ascend the ranks, but that's likely because everyone with any sense has gotten the heck out of there long before becoming a manager and you're the only one left!

I would agree that different schools can give one a vastly different experience- if you have a strong DOS with a good head on their shoulders (who can keep the CD under control and from setting a purely money-focused tone), you may have a decent time.

But it's not worth the risk. I would suggest you look elsewhere, unless you have no experience and just need to get started.

Response from EF English First

Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate the fact that you see EF as a company where you can start your teaching career and gain experience in ESL teaching.

At EF we pride ourselves on the support we offer on arrival, and the training we provide for our new teachers. We also offer a vast array of career growth opportunities both inside and outside of teaching. Our popular Teacher Recruitment and Training department offer support and training for teachers who want to develop their careers, and we work hard to make this a possibility.

We try our best to deliver an excellent experience for both teachers and students to meet our mission of opening the world through education. Our curriculum is designed with these purposes in mind to make teaching and learning a rewarding experience for teachers and students.

Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that all of our teachers have exactly the same experience at EF. We will continue to work hard and develop initiatives that improve the experiences of all of our teachers.

If you would like to get in contact with us to talk more about your experiences with EF and how this can be improved, please send an email to [email protected]

Default avatar
Jonathan
Male
1 year old
Doncaster
University of Hull

Great Start and Great Support

9/10

When I first found EF, I thought it was too good to be true.

I found a nice website, it looked modern and had lots of information, so I applied. I heard back within two weeks and then I had an interview. The interview went really well and within a few days,I was offered the job. Too easy I thought. I read some old reviews online from around 4 or 5 years ago and began to feel like it wasn't what I thought.

However, my recruiter gave me a link to a site where I could find other teachers. I was able to get in contact with someone and they put me at ease. They said that the schools were clean and modern. The visa process is supported and made easy, and they pay on time which I've heard is an issue for lots of other companies. On the whole, the managers and the people at EF are friendly and welcoming, but from what I heard the kids schools tend to be busy.

I took a gamble after this, a leap of faith, and everything was as described. I got the support. I settled in, I moved cities and we had free events to attend and an annual ball which I wasn't expecting.

I must say though, EF does encourage you to take part and work. Along with the qualifications that you can receive, you're expected to teach 25 classes a week, and have office hours. It's not a holiday and is a job. But over the course of a year, there are national holidays and days earned in lieu. The salary does go a long way as long as you don't live off international cuisine which is more expensive. With the money and these days, you can travel across China. Just work wisely.

How can this program be improved?

A few more holidays, or flexible time. These are offered, but not everyone is aware of extra holiday time.

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