EF – Education First vs. Vistas in Education

Not many travel companies stand the test of time, but Vistas In Education and EF have been promoting world travel for students for decades now. Both companies are passionate about cross-cultural learning, world language learning, and that students are our future. But there are some distinct differences between the two companies.

EF – Education First is not only a student tour company, but also has language schools around the world, and au pair program, an adult travel program, and an international year abroad program with employees all over the world employing hundreds of people.

Vistas In Education is primarily a student travel company organizing programs ONLY in France and the United States. The two offices in Minneapolis and Paris are staffed year-round by a small staff whose primary focus is our travelers. Vistas In Education started with Michel Wolf in 1976 and who still is very much involved in the day to day tasks in the Minneapolis and Paris offices. Should you need some assistance while in France, it’s Michel Wolf you would call.

What’s one key difference between VIE and EF (Education First) Travel Programs to France?

Vistas In Education’s signature program is a Family Stay program which is very unique in the industry. Traveling students are immersed in a French family who has students the same age as the American teen with similar interests, allowing the American students to live the life of a French student and immerse themselves in French culture. We have found over the years, having an American teen matched not only by age but by interests as well with a French teen facilitates immersion and opens the door to life-long friendships.

Pre-requisites for VIE, in contrast with EF

Vistas In Education also employs top quality tour guides for our programs. All guides on touring programs are certified by the French national government, which is distinctive since most companies such as EF or Education First do not hold similar prerequisites for their guides.

If you wanted to take an EF trip to france, EF states that they are the lowest price program, guaranteed. Whereas VIE promotes quality. VIE uses only 2 star and 3 star tourist class hotels, never a youth hostel. Bus companies are top of the line, airlines are major airlines, and restaurants are excellent quality providing local fare.

VIE prides themselves on having all-inclusive upfront prices so travelers can plan appropriately with no surprise extra costs.  

Most EF programs are standard and dates are chosen by EF. VIE allows flexible dates and allows customization of all programs.

Upon arrival at the Paris airport, you are always met by a member of our permanent staff in Paris, and most likely by the President of VIE himself to be sure your group arrived safely, to help you to your transportation and welcome you to France. This is also a very unique feature of VIE.

EF Reviews, EF Complaints, Other Resources related to EF – Education First

  1. “Are EF Tours a Good Choice? ” on Fodors  – You can search this forum for the negative reviews on EF, Explorica and other low end student tour companies.
  2. Education First – Reviews on Yelp – Many from the host point of view, the lower end travel companies attract many students looking just to party, rather than a real educational experience.
  3. EF Tours Beware – A rough review by a student who took a trip on EF – Clearly still happy they went on a tour of France, but wishes they had done it with another company.