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Our Story

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The English language revolution.

Founded in 1965 by a young Swedish entrepreneur Bertil Hult, EF Education First (EF) started out by bringing local Swedish high school students to Britain to learn English. It was a simple, yet radical, business idea that was the first step in EF becoming the world’s largest private education organization. Today, the 15 divisions of EF comprise 450 schools and offices in more than 50 countries, as well as a network of 35,000 staff. Each division offers a range of educational options: online and local language schools, educational travel, academic degrees, and cultural exchange.

EF language schools
CEO and Co-Founder

EF and Englishtown.

Bill Fisher co-founded the online school as an EF company in 1996. Even before the internet was as integral to our lives as it is today, Bill knew that traditional language training methods were failing most students by forcing them to learn at a fixed pace, according to a rigid schedule. This meant that many were being either left behind or inhibited in their learning.

Having earned a degree in Computer Science from Brown University in the US, Bill made the unconventional move to Sweden to study at the Stockholm School of Economics. To learn Swedish as quickly as possible, he developed his own computer program, which turned out to be a big selling point when he later met EF's founder, Bertil Hult.

Refusing to accept that traditional classroom education, inflexible and impersonal to so many, was the only way to learn, Bill decided to change things around. He asked himself the following key questions:

  • Why does learning have to follow the age-old classroom method?
  • Why can't students be taught in their very own homes?
  • Why can't we make studying English easier and more flexible for everyone?

These questions inspired Englishtown's mission today: To use technology to create a fundamentally better way of learning English. This concept, backed by EF's thirst for innovation and willingness to make smart, long-term investments, resulted in the creation of the world's most advanced language learning system: the award-winning Englishtown.

Worldwide Englishtown offices

Truly multinational.

With research and development units in Shanghai, Switzerland, Boston, and University of Cambridge's Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics, we pride ourselves on our diversity. Over 30 nationalities are represented among our staff across offices in Brazil, Mexico, Europe, China, Japan, Korea, and several other countries.
Read more about some of the people behind Englishtown

Over the years, our comprehensive range of language programs have helped more than 15 million people successfully develop their English skills. We build on global skills and resources to develop the best service possible - while relying on local support and customer service to make sure we remain culturally appropriate.

EF is the world leader in international education - an industry worth $50 billion. As part of its quest to break down borders and remove barriers in language and culture, EF gives students more than just the ability to communicate in a new language.

Our programs help people discover the world and we have empowered millions to be able to pursue an academic degree in what they love to study best.

And because we truly care about change and opening new opportunities, we also get involved in educational projects, aiming at giving back and making a difference.

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©Signum International S.a r.l Luxembourg Luzern Branch, a company of EF Education First Group. Company reserves all rights.