At EF Education First we explored, innovated, inspired and opened the world through education in 2019.
EFers across the globe helped people explore the world, learn a new language, try something new and make memories that will last a lifetime.
As we usher in 2020, we’re reflecting on a handful of EF’s 2019 highlights. Relive some of our favorite moments of the year below and share your own #2019EFmoment with us on Instagram.
Popping up (in pink!) across the US capital for Hello DC
Seventy-two EF Ambassadors from more than 30 countries flew to Washington, D.C. this past July where they popped up all week to greet fellow travelers, share their EF experiences and rep pink throughout the nation’s capital. Together, these international ambassadors speak 16 languages and have had a wide range of EF experiences, from learning a language at one of EF’s International Language Campuses, to becoming part of an American host family with EF High School Exchange Year, going on an EF trip with their school through EF Explore America or EF Educational Tours and more. But they all have one thing in common—a passion for exploring the world.
Teaming up with the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi
This year we teamed up with the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi as an official supplier and the exclusive training provider for nearly 20,000 volunteers to help learn English. This year was the first time the games were held in the Middle East with an estimated 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches from over 190 nations making it the world’s largest humanitarian and multisport event in 2019.
Launching our largest EF English Proficiency Index (EPI)
More people than ever are learning English and this year, with data collected from 2.3 million participants globally, we launched the 9th edition of the EF English Proficiency Index (EPI). Our biggest report to date, 100 countries were ranked based on their English proficiency. Read the full report here.
Opening a new Zurich headquarters in the former Swiss Stock Exchange Building
EF Education First became the new stewards of Zurich’s former Swiss Stock Exchange building located at Selnaustrasse 30 following its acquisition of the facility in late 2015. EF then set out to renovate the space opening the doors of the 35,000-square-meter EF Zurich office complex earlier this year. The building is surrounded on three sides by the Sihl River, the Schanzengraben Canal and the City of Zurich public pool, pulling water from the Canal to heat the building in the winter and cool it during the summer.
Ranking #1 on The Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work
In November EF landed the #1 spot on The Boston Globe’s 2019 Top Places to Work. Our secret sauce? Celebrating EFers for who they are, embracing unabashed positive vibes and encouraging others to leave their comfort zones through culturally immersive experiences.
Celebrating 10 Years of innovation with the Hult Prize
In partnership with the United Nations, the Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and movement for social good. Student teams are challenged to solve a pressing social issue by developing a sustainable social enterprise. The winning team is awarded 1M USD by the Hult family to turn their concepts into reality. Over the last 10 years students have created high impact solutions to global issues such as early childhood education, affordable energy, crowded urban space and global youth unemployment.
Breaking ground for EF Academy in Pasadena
In September EF staff went to California to break ground on EF’s first West Coast boarding school. The new EF Academy is scheduled to open in 2020 and will be the first major boarding school campus to open in the Los Angeles region in nearly 100 years.
Inspiring great minds at Global Leadership Summits
This past summer, future leaders from across the U.S. and Europe came together at EF’s Global Leadership Summits. In North America and Switzerland, students heard from storytellers who encouraged them to really listen, to raise their voices for what they believe in, and to open their minds to the beliefs of others. Every EF Summit empowers students, educators and world-renowned thought leaders to explore solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges. The 2019 events were no different, with attendees tackling a timely topic: the power of communication.
Cheering on EF Pro Cycling in the Tour de France
Eight fearless EF Pro Cycling riders took on the biggest race the sport has to offer this July with 50,000+ pink-clad EF co-workers behind them at every pedal stroke, ready to embrace every effort and celebrate every accomplishment – all in it together.
Collaborating with World Animal Protection to promote animal welfare
With the best interests of our furry (and fuzzy, and slimy and scaly) friends in mind, EF collaborated with the nonprofit organization World Animal Protection to implement animal welfare guidelines throughout all our travel programs worldwide. Truly experiencing a destination should not mean harming the animals that call it home, and EF is relentlessly committed to respecting and promoting animal welfare as we help our travelers experience the world.