EF-English First

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


1 Education Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

In past few months, I've attended many TRT events, which were wonderful and well-organized. Normally, I will receive the TRT information every month and sign up for it and I will receive more detailed information from organizer. The most impressive one for me is Sip and Paint event, I had a great time of painting, as well as my colleagues from other schools. Before that, I always try to look for the similar workshops to practice my painting skill. Moreover, the environment and the vibe were so relaxing. After taking part in those TRT events, I think I got the chance to meet more friends from other schools and had a great time to communicate with them. Besides, I got more chances to spend my spare time and experience more new stuff. Thanks for TRT events, I always have the chances to achieve my life goals.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I think the most surprising thing that I've done was the baseball event. Before that, I had no ideas about what the baseball really is. Thanks the lovely colleagues from other school, they helped me how to hit the baseball correctly. I can't believe that I could hit the baseball till the end!!!
Response from EF English First

Hi Vicki!

Thank you for the positive feedback. We're so glad to hear that you've been enjoying our Teacher Recruitment & Training (TRT) events. These events are a monthly highlight for us and I know that our engagement team spends a lot of time thinking about fun and unique events to help our teachers get together and experience something new.

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Yes, I recommend this program

I've really enjoyed my time with EF. They've helped me at each step of the way, whether it was with getting my visa documents together or with my professional development. The days are often fast-paced, but my Managers really seem to care and offer support whenever possible.

EF has provided me with different opportunities to travel, which is something that I've valued. There have also been a lot of local events to attend, some just for fun and others for career building. It means that there's always something to do. It's been a great transition to life in China, and it's helpful knowing that there's a large network of people to connect with whether it's for travel or help.

I'm a career changer and was unsure of what life would be like in the Teaching sector, but it's really been an amazing adventure and I'm glad I took the leap! It's awesome knowing that the work I do is making a difference in hundreds of lives each year.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Coming out of university I didn't know what to do. Thankfully I found English First and was given the opportunity to teach in China. I have been able to grow so much during my time, learning how to live in another country and teach has been an incredible experience.

The onboarding process was second to none and the visa team ensured that everything is done to the highest of standards. I was also given time to learn how to become a teacher, first observing, then co-teaching and finally having more experience teachers observe me and give me developmental points to improve.

After half a year I was moved into a more senior role due to my work ethic, which was another amazing developmental experience. Learning how to mentor new teachers and run trainings for staff is something I can take forward into other areas of my career.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Enjoy working for EF. Worked for the company back in the UK and now in China. Strong organisational structure, very effective management. Benefits are great.

You get to interact with people from so many different backgrounds, having a strong community of employees and staff makes it really exciting when visiting new places, and interacting with colleagues.

During my time working here I have interacted with management who have looked at collaboration, allowed me to run with my own ideas and become more creative in my role. Extra activities have been really interesting to be a part of, and much is very forward thinking and at the forefront of the industry.

The role has been challenging to allow me to develop my skills and grow, and the team has been fantastic at helping me settle into a new life, and new country!

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Yes, I recommend this program

I wanted a career I could really put my personality into. From the moment the plane touched down, EF helped me every step of the way. EF has made me into a better teacher and encouraged me to put my own stamp on each class. Everyone here has been incredible. You really feel like you’re learning something new all the time.
During my time in Indonesia with EF, I was also able to travel to the beach and enjoy the relaxing life style here. I would really recommend the program to anyone who wants to have an unforgetable working experience in Asia.

What would you improve about this program?
Everything is good.



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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Brandon Brady

Brandon is a former Americorps Service Member where he provided budget counseling to low-income families and conducted free classes for the public to increase Greenville's overall financial literacy. Brandon is currently working with English First based in Shanghai, China.

two men at Chinese restaurant

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I had never been outside of my country before, and EF provided the perfect opportunity to both challenge and educate myself by learning/working in a new culture.

Any business student will tell you how impactful China's economy is on the rest of the world. Right now, I am able to live and study at the heart of it all. Learning how to conduct business differently will greatly increase my future success.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

English First assisted me with: my initial flight (through a flight reimbursement that is received monthly), locating an apartment (and gave me a 0% interest loan to help me secure said apartment), setting up a bank account, setting up a phone, setting up my health insurance and most importantly my Z visa! They basically made sure I had the essentials.

On my own, I had to figure out: the lease on my apartment (with the help of my agent), where to buy food, how to get to work, and other things like how to get internet in my apartment. Doing these types of things on your own really help you to become confident/comfortable in your new culture.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Come with an open mind. Things here will be different and ever-changing. This can either make you frustrated or interested. Being interested opens up so many doors for education and understanding.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

As an Adult English Teacher with English First, you will basically be working a second shift schedule. This is primarily because when the students get off work, they want to come to class. You will have two days off that are weekdays, and this turns out to be a great thing. Cities get extremely busy on the weekend and having weekdays off allows you to bypass the "people mountain people sea" aspects of city life.

In English First, you will be teaching 21-25 classes per week, planning for those lessons, and getting to know your students during your work hours. Classes range from 5-20 students so getting to know the students is very easy and rewarding.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My bigger fear was that I would fail (again this is my first country outside of the USA). The only reason why I did not was because I kept an open mind, and surrounded myself with positive, enjoyable people. Success became more obtainable by breaking down my problems into manageable parts. Everyday tasks become pressing issues when you live abroad (for about the first 6 months). Stop, take a breath, and laugh about it.

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Eric Joseph Ripple

Job Title
Eric is a Lebanese American from Nashville, Tennessee. He is currently working and living it up in Shanghai, China. He believes in sailing through life with a smile and a sense of humor.
guy smiling and teaching

What is your favorite travel memory?

A week after arriving in China, I hit an unusual snag. I was in a place that I had never been to and knew no one and definitely didn’t speak the language. At the close of my first two weeks I had found an apartment, mapped out my route to work, and found a lovely group of friends. Then on a very short notice I had to leave my new home. I realized I had a choice to make: I could either pack it up and go back to the U.S. or go to Thailand. Needless to say, I didn’t choose the first option.

I spent the next two months discovering the hidden truths of Thailand and of myself. My days were spent wandering in and out of markets, temples and alleyways in Bangkok, relaxing on the sunny beaches of Phuket, searching the meaning of life at a Buddhist meditation retreat in Chang Mai and finishing it all off with a very unique Muy Thai camp in Pai. Forget the closed door – jump through the window.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The biggest factor to success or failure is you! Although it may seem a cliché, it is incredibly true. Companies are made up of people. Some companies have thousands of team members; some only have two. The point is without the people the company would not exist. To be successful, the needs and priorities of the team members must be recognized and well taken care of. It is not just enough to tell them that you know what is important to them. You have to show them.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working for EF has changed me in so many different ways! I never saw myself as a teacher or working with kids...ever. Looking back on a year of not only teaching, but teaching kids, I have never been happier with a job.

Working as a kids and teens teacher has made me see life from a different perspective. I have a whole new respect for the learning and interpersonal interaction process.

Teaching ESL has helped me grow as a communicator both verbally and non-verbally. Teaching kids has forced me out of any comfort zone I ever had and made me realize just how different and exactly the same we all really are.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

There are many companies that offer ESL education, but none that do it on the global scale that EF does. Many people seem to have a negative perception of the words “global corporation.” What most people don't realize is that being part of a team with a global presence has just as many, if not more, positive attributes. Being part of a global corporation gives teachers access to some of the best resources and materials. As part of the team, we have never ending chances for growth and development. Lastly, everyone in the ESL field knows EF, which gives my work experience instant credibility.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

My team has grown and changed a lot in the past year. Sometimes as a foreign teacher, I can feel palpably that people are always coming and going. The school can feel like a revolving door of personalities and cultural differences. One thing I love about my team now is that everyone actively wants to grow closer and stronger together. I think I can speak for most of the team when I say we care about what we do and whom we do it with.

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