History of EF English First

EF Education First was founded in 1965 by Bertil Hult, an entrepreneur with a penchant for success and a passion for international education. Its history started with an idea of sending Swedish schoolchildren abroad to England, who would stay with host families and become immersed in the English language. At the time, Bertil was 23 and he called it on-site language learning.


The company grew as students returned to their home countries and spoke of their great experiences and fabulous teachers. From the very beginning, it has been our exceptional teachers who are one of the main reasons behind EF’s many successes.

History of EF English First moving to China

Over the next 30 years, EF continued to expand globally and in 1997, EF English First, a local English language training centre branch of EF Education First, was opened in Shanghai, China. Since then, we have expanded to over 60 cities in China, opened over 300 schools and employed thousands of English language teachers.
Today, our journey continues. EF English First still hire passionate teachers all year round to help break down the barriers in culture and language. If you’re looking to join a fast-paced forward-thinking company, and you would like to make a difference in someone’s life, then EF maybe what you are looking for.


Some highlights of our time in China:
1998 – EF English First school #1 opens in China
2005 – Flagship EF office opens in Shanghai People’s Square
2007 – Marathon English Lesson: One teacher, 72 hours, 1 class. In a Guinness record-breaking event, EF English First held the longest continuous lesson.
2008 – EF is the Official Language Training Services Supplier of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics
2012 – EF Shanghai Headquarters is named one of the World’s Coolest Offices by  Inc. magazine.

The world is waiting for you

Teach English, travel and work abroad with EF English First