Business Name: EF Education First
Host Family Program Manager, Virginia Beach: Kaitlyn Ingram
Phone Number: 757-232-5042
President's Name: Bertil Hult
President's Title: Founder/President
What are your business's core values, goals, and overall mission?
Mission Statement: "Opening the World through Education."
EF provides life-changing education for global citizens. For over 50 years, our mission has been to give confidence and freedom to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. With the desire to define your own path in life, and a little courage, EF opens up a world of possibilities.
Share some unique facts and business history? What makes your business stand out?
As the world leader in international education, we have 50 years of experience organizing host family programs. We offer language and travel experiences allowing individuals of all ages and backgrounds to explore another culture, learn another language, or earn an academic degree. Hundreds of non-profits and small businesses around the US have already partnered with us to share the benefits of hosting with EF.
EF Education First was founded in Sweden in 1965 by a young entrepreneur named Bertil Hult. The concept was straightforward: take local high school students to England to learn English. It was a simple business idea—on-site language and cultural studies—but one with an enormous future.
What products or services do you offer companies or individuals?
Services: This summer, we will be bringing international students from Europe and Asia to experience American culture in Virginia Beach! We offer an exciting opportunity for language and cultural immersion, as the students come here to learn English. We are looking for wonderful host families to open their homes to these students in the spirit of cultural exchange and global learning!
Partnership: Our mission is to open the world through education. We partner with organizations that share this mission, as well as our commitment to creating stronger, healthier and happier communities. We at EF are seeking to partner with local community organizations to find kind host families, at mutual benefit to each other. Whether you are part of an amazing church, local soccer team, or a school- we would love for you to consider partnering with us!
What are the greatest obstacles and/or challenges that your business has faced? How have you and your business overcome them?
EF’s Founder, Bertil Hult launched the company from the basement of his college dormitory in 1965 in Lund, Sweden. After struggling through high school with dyslexia, Bertil moved to London for work and learned fluent English in three months. Here he discovered the power of learning through immersion. Soon after, in 1965, he launched his first cultural exchange program, and thus, Education First was born.
To date, EF Language Travel has brought over 110,000 international students to North America. With over 35,000 staff and offices in over 50 countries, EF’s philosophy of “learning by doing” underlies all 15 divisions. These include high school tours, adventure travel, university language programs and language travel program, among others.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
In February 2015, EF staff across the world celebrated a truly special occasion - EF’s 50th anniversary. Half a century ago, Bertil Hult arranged for the first group of teenagers from Sweden to travel to the English South Coast to learn English – and EF was born. Today, EF is the world’s largest private education company with schools and offices in over 50 countries and over 40,000 employees. Our people really are the single most important reason behind EF’s amazing success!
What do you see for the future of your business?
Our hope for the EF Education First Language Travel program in the Hampton Roads is to see our program become part of the community. In our efforts to spread the word about international education and language immersion, we hope to embrace the community and change lives by sharing the benefits of cultural exchange. By opening homes to the world, we hope to open a world of possibilities!
Why are you a member of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce?
By joining the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce we hope to get out into the community and become a valued partner. Remarkably, although EF is the world leader in international education, the company has managed to retain its small feel, which allows our staff to get into communities and connect with people on an individual level. We are hoping to network with many other organizations and businesses in the Hampton Roads Region, work at a mutual benefit to give back to the community, and to help build awareness of our mission to “Open the World through Education!”