About us

Call us! +1 347 448 5857 +44 (0) 20 7451 0943 +41 (0)21 962 88 80

ESL is one of the world’s leading language travel organisations*.

In partnership with carefully-selected language schools from over forty countries, we offer tailor-made language and educational programs in over two hundred destinations.

Since 1997, we have worked closely with our partner schools to offer an industry-leading quality of service and range of products for the right price; our Best Price Guarantee means that you pay the same with us as you would booking direct with a school.

The staff in our 30+ international offices are passionate about languages and have all experienced learning a language overseas. They have real, practical expertise that can help you at every step of the way.

Experience a new culture, improve your language skills and broaden your horizons. We are here before, during and after your stay.

*LTM Travel Star awards 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Our Philosophy

As passionate language learners and travellers, we believe that seeing new places, meeting new people and speaking new languages are among the most enjoyable and important experiences one can have.

Through our knowledge and professionalism, we help each individual get the most from their own journey.

As a business, we believe in offering an exceptional level of service and beneficial terms to our students, partner schools, suppliers and staff.

About the name

ESL is short for "École Suisse de Langues" and reflects our roots as a language school near Montreux, Switzerland (where our head office is still today).  We don’t just specialise in "English as a Second Language", but also in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish, Greek, Dutch, Thai etc.

Timeline

1996
Alain Vadi and Patrick Siegenthaler start ESL Ecole Suisse De Langues, offering language summer camps for juniors in two small mountain stations; Les Paccots and Diablerets in French-speaking Switzerland.

1997
Under the name ESL and based in Montreux, the language travel agency starts offering language holidays.

1998
ESL is the first language travel agency to offer a portfolio of 11 languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Arab and Greek.

2002
ESL’s first overseas office opens, in Helsingborg, Sweden. We work exceptionally hard to ensure that the same standards are maintained in other markets as at home in Switzerland.

2003
ESL offers its services internationally. Again, everything is managed to the same exacting standards as in Switzerland.
ESL opens a year-round adult school of French as a foreign language by the lakeside in Montreux.

2004
ESL launches its Gap Year product line, specialized in internship placements abroad or job placements as part of the language study experience.

2006
Opening of new drop-in offices in Milan, Zurich, Widnau, Lugano, Prague and Panama.
On the ESL schools division side, a new language school for Adults in Lyon, France.

2007
Opening of a new office in Geneva.
ESL is nominated by language schools as one of the five leading language travel agencies in Europe at the annual LTM Awards.

2008
A policy of Sustainable Development is written into the company code of ethics.
Opening of new drop-in offices in Basel, Bern, Locarno, St Gallen and Paris.
A new head office at 50 Grand Rue, Montreux, looking out over Lake Geneva.
Another “Star Agency” nomination at the LTM awards.

2009
Opening of new drop-in offices in Bellinzona, Lausanne, Lucerne, Nice, Munich and Rome.
Another “Star Agency” nomination at the LTM awards.
ESL advertising campaign wins the prize “Grand Prix Romand de la Création”

2010
New drop-in offices in Madrid, Vienna, Lyon, Bologna, Brussels, Luxemburg, Strasbourg and Cologne.
Swedish office moves from Helsingborg to Stockholm.
ESL offers the largest selection of programmes for juniors, adults, professionals or 50 plus as well as the widest selection of languages, totalling more than 20 foreign languages in full immersion.
ESL is the first agency to offer English programmes in more than 13 countries including India and the Philippines.

Winner of "Star Agency in Western Europe" at the LTM Awards.

2011
Opening of new drop-in offices in Barcelona, Berlin and Bogotá.
ESL launches its Family product line.
ESL launches its Teacher Training product line.

Winner of "Star Agency in Western Europe" at the LTM Awards for the second year in a row.

2012
Opening of new drop-in offices in Amsterdam, London, Hamburg, Antwerp, Verona, Valencia, Winterthur and Nouméa.
ESL launches its CSR self-assessment tool and assists language schools with developing their own sustainable development action plans.
Another “Star Agency” nomination at the STM awards.
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