Stikkordarkiv: #EFEducationFirst

2015 mai 25: USA elever – EF sender ut innkreving av valutapåslag inntil kr 18.500,-

I slutten av mai mottok USA elevene en faktura fra EF datert 25. mai. Denne hadde i tillegg til det forventede kravet et beløp stort kr. 16.406,00 som skulle innbetales samtidig med kr. 43.340. Årsaken til dette tillegget var, ifølge EF:

… Prisene for utvekslingsprogrammet 2015/16 baserer foseg på valuta fra når brosjyren ble printet, den 18. februar 2014. Dette er en tydelig feilprint siden Allmenne Bestemmelser viser til en valutadato 1 år etter programmets priser er fastsatt.

I Allmenne Bestemmelser forbeholder EF seg retten til å forandre disse allmenne bestemmelsene gjennom året. Det tas også forbehold om skrivefeil. Dette er punkter du opplyser om og på spørsmål om dette holder juridisk så har vi fått avklarert dette. …

EF ga sin begrunnelse for økningen og tilbød foreldrene betalingsavtale, bytting til SB/IR eller kansellering om man mente dette ikke dugde.

Naturlig nok klaget flere foreldre skriftlig til EF og begrunnet klagene sine med:

  1. Kort beslutningsfrist.
  2. Kontraktens ordlyd «Alle programpriser er basert på transportkostnader, flyavgifter (inkl. skatter og avgifter) og valutakurser per 31.januar 2015«.

Ole Kristian Nyhus ga svar på klagene på en lite tilfredsstillende måte. Kjøperne ble da nødt til å ta for seg EFs lettvinte svar.

  • Foreldrene burde ha forstått selv at datoen som stod oppført i kontrakten var feil siden den var etter tidspunktet for kontraktsunderskrivelse.
    • Det er urimelig å forvente at datoen for en eventuell valutaendring skulle være en annen en den som stod i kontrakten når vanlig praksis er at man inngår kontrakter frem i tid basert på en antatt valutakurs.  Den 31. januar 2015 er en rimelig dato når kontrakten er inngått høsten 2014.
      • Avtalelovens §89 første ledd: (1) En parts utsagn eller handlemåte tolkes i samsvar med hans mening når den annen part forsto eller måtte forstå hva meningen var. Ellers legger en til grunn den forståelse som en fornuftig person i samme stilling som den annen part rimeligvis ville ha hatt under tilsvarende forhold.

    • Man har hatt betalingsfrist på ulike beløp før og etter 31. januar 2015.
    • I tillegg er det slik at kronen har styrket seg etter 31.01.2015.
  • Kontraktens punkt «Vilkår» tar forbehold om skrivefeil.
    • Datoer er særdeles viktige elementer av en kontrakt. Minimumskravet burde være at man hadde gode kontrollrutiner på noe som kan påvirke framtidige innbetalinger. Kunden burde rimeligvis kunne forvente at en såpass stor bedrift som EF hadde gode rutiner og visste hvordan hvilke punkter man skulle være nøye med å dobbeltsjekke.
    • I dette tilfellet medførte endringen fra EFs side en økning på 18% i kundens disfavør.
  • EF hadde sett at dato for valutakursen var feil men kunne ikke opplyse om når de hadde oppdaget feilen.
    • Kunden burde kunne forvente at EF informerer kunden om såpass viktige feil umiddelbart. I stedet sendes informasjon såpass sent at man kan spørre seg om dette er med hensikt for at kunden skal føle seg presset av omstendighetene til å betale.
  • Sammen med fakturaen fulgte det et skriv som informerte om at «våre katalogpriser baserer seg på valutakursen pr. 18.02.2014». Denne datoen samsvarte ikke med datoen for kontraktsinngåelse.

EFs svar kan beskrives slik: BETAL ELLER TREKK DERE. Ikke hør på CSFES for vi regner dem som useriøse.

Reklamer

EF Education First AS (EF in Norway)

EF Education First/Signum International SARL

  • Universal Care SARL: B83591

History

My previous articles about the Hult empire were about Signum and Erika. In this post I thought I would let you know more about the Norwegian corner of the firm.

Basic business structure of EF Education in Europe
Basic business structure of EF Education in Europe

 

1965: Ef Education Aktiebolag (987 380 780) was established and registered in 2004. Its official address is in Stockholm, Sweden.

1975: Ef Education Den Europeiske Ferieskolen AS (919 782 463) was established in Norway and registered in 1989. In 2011 its name was changed to EF Education First AS. EF Education First AS is considered a subsidiary of EF Education BV (who is a subsidiary of EF Colleges Ltd.).

  • EF Education Bv holds 100% of its stock.
  • Kirsti Kollenborg has followed the company for a very long time.
  • The Board of Directors per 2014 consists of:
  • –    Björn Daniel Bengtsson (Zurich) – Chairman*
  • –    Per Jonas Kjerfve – Member **
  • –    Reserve: Kirsti Kollenborg (kirsti.kollenborg@ef.com)
  • –    Manager: Lena Sjøttem (lena.sjottem@ef.no)
  • In 2011 Kirsti Kollenborg was made CEO of the company.
  • EF Education First AS employs 19 people. It is the largest for-profit exchange firm in Norway.

2004: Ef Education Aktiebolag (987 380 772) was established in Norway with Kirsti Kollenborg as contact person with c/o EF Education AS. Its official address is in Stockholm, Sweden.


* Björn Daniel Bengtsson: In addition to his position in Ef Education First AS NO, Mr. Bengtsson also holds senior positions in the following firms:

  • Ef International Language Schools Limited,
  • EF Servicios de Suporto SA,
  • EF Education (Deutschland) GmbH,
  • EF Education First A/S DK,
  • EF Education OY,
  • Cultural Care Germany GmbH,
  • EF Online Learning Ltd.,
  • EF Escuela Internacional de Espanõl SA
  • Acne Norway AS (owned by Acne Studios AB),
  • Rutistrasse AB – 56 Rutistrasse Zurich

** Per Jonas Kjerfve additional positions are in the following firms:


2001: Gratis skole koster flesk

2005: De kalte meg hore

2005: Utvekslingsmareritt

2006: Kvalitetskontrollen god nok

2007: Selskaper tilknyttet Reisegarantifondet

2009: When a foreign exchange year goes bad

2010: Hostage in America

2010: Barn på fylleturer, eller …?

2010: Språkreise var partyferie for mindreårige

2010: Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbman for Minnesota interviewed re problems with the exchange industry

2011: 10/487: Avslag på søknad om å delta på utvekslingsprogram var i strid med diskriminerings- og tilgjengelighetsloven

2011: Diabetes stoppet studiedrømmen

2012: Tilbakeviser kritikken

2012: Complaint to the US Department of State against EF and their representative Nettie Lowery

2012: EFs svar på høringsutkastet fra Kunnskapsdepartementet

2012: Ble sendt hjem etter at vertsfamilien leste hennes private SMS

2013: 15-åring plassert hos kjederøykende vertsmor

2013: Morten Davidsen (morten.davidsen@ef.com) previous country manager for Norway now works for the Hong Kong branch of EF

2013: USA drømmen ble et mareritt for Trude (17)

2014: All Nippon Airways (ANA) partnered with EF Education

2014: Bertil Hult NOK 26 milliarder

2014: Reiste hjem til Norge

EF Education First / Signum International S.a r.l.

Signum International SARL/EF Education First

  • Universal Care SARL: B83591

History

2004Signum International S.a r.l (a company of EF Education First Group).

2009: Assignment No. 6638: from EF Colleges Ltd., Haldenstrasse 4, CH-6006 Luzern, Switzerland to Signum International Sarl Luxembourg, Zug Branch, Zeughausgasse 9a, CH-6301 Zug, Switzerland, by virtue of a Deed of Assignment dated 09/11/2009.

2013: Change of name and address of proprietor from Signum International Sarl Luxembourg, Zug Branch, Zeughausgasse 9a, CH-6301 Zug, Switzerland to Signum International S.à.r.l. Luxembourg, Luzern Branch, Haldenstrasse 4, CH-6006 Luzern, Switzerland recorded on 08/10/13

2013: Year report for Signum

  • Upon creation, Signum International S.a.r.l. became EF Colleges Ltd’s assignee. Their job is the provision of management and human resources services and the acquisition, management and sale of investments.
  • Signum International owns and manages EF Trademarks, EF patents, EF domains and Brittin College B.V.

The head office in Luxembourg (B99785) has two addresses listed. The most recent address is Rue Michel Rodange 28, 2430 Luxembourg City. However, the only firms listed at that address are My Energy and Agence de l’Energie S.A.

The old address of 22 Rue Goethe, 1637 Luxembourg City is registered to EF Education First (Tel. : 26 48 27 48 1), but not Signum.

Signum International S.A.R.L. can be contacted at +01 212 813-5900 / 212-813-5995 ( Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C. – trademark, copyright, design patent and unfair competition law) in New York, USA) att: Attorney Susan Upton Douglass sdouglass@frosszelnick.com

Luzern Branch (CH-170.9.000.953-4)
Haldenstrasse 4 – 6006 Luzern
Switzerland
Telephone: +41 414174500 / Fax: +41 414174671 /
Email: info.lu@ef.com

  • Andreas Stjärnström
  • Asa E. Rangne Blendow (EF Colleges Ltd / EF Education First AG / EF Cultural Travel Ltd / Cultural Care Holding Ltd)
  • Stefan Arts (EF Cultural Tours S.a.r.l.)
  • Martin Hallander (GT Services Ltd. (CH-170.3.023.235-2) / EF Cultural Tours S.a.r.l.)
    • Tobias Jan Gunnar Sjöberg worked for both Signum International and GT Services Ltd. from 2012 until March 2014. Since then Sjöberg has worked for GT Services. Tobias Sjöberg has worked for both EF Cultural Tours Management GmbH / EF Cultural Tours GmbH in 2013 and 2014.
    • Kurt Bättig worked for Signum International until 2014. He now works with Toweroffice Ltd (c/o EF Cultural Tours GmbH) / Tetron AG (c/o Toweroffice Ltd.) / Marshfield Energy Switzerland AG (c/o Toweroffice Ltd) / AltoCumulus GmbH / Mercator Finance SA

Investments:

2004: Brittin College BV, Netherlands (30146268) / De Boelelaan 7 / 1083HJ Amsterdam / Principal place of business / (Trademark owner Signum 2012/2004): Financial holdings

2005: E F Brittin College Ltd / EF Brittin College Ltd / EF International Academy UK Ltd (aka: EF University Preparation) (05573713): General secondary education

2009: «As of August 2009 EF Brittin College will be known as EF University Preparation. EF University Preparation is a division of EF Education First»:

Review of EF Brittin College

Court cases:

2008: Signum International S.a.r.l. v. Education For Employment Foundation

2014: Signum International Sarl v. Eprize, Inc.

Patent rights:

2013: Owner of patent for «Computerized Learning Methods and Systems for Use in Group-Learning Settings» (Developers: Madeleine Thun (Bromma, SE) Christopher Mccormick (Walchwil, CH) David William Bish (Adlsiwil, CH) Dmitry Makarenko (London, GB) Pedro David Cardoso Gomes (London, GB))

Copyrights of EF written material belong to:

SIGNUM INTERNATIONAL S.a.r.1. Luxembourg Luzern Branch
Haldenstrasse 4
6006 Luzern Switzerland
© Signum International S.a.r.1. Luxemb ourg, Luzern Branch, Luzern, 2012

SIGNUM INTERNATIONAL S.a.r.1. Luxembourg Luzern Branch stands as registrar and owner of the following trademarks:

  • Brittin
  • Brittin College
  • Destination Go
  • EF
  • EF America
  • EFCELT
  • Efekta
  • Efekta Insurance
  • EF Baby Genius
  • EF Class Trips
  • EF Class Tours
  • EF Colleges Ltd.
  • EF College Study Tours
  • EF Cultural Tours Sarl
  • EF Cultural Tours Sarl, Zug Branch
  • EF Education First
  • EF Educational Tours
  • EF English First
  • EF English First B.v.
  • EF ENGLISH FIRST & Device
  • EF EPI English Proficiency Index
  • EF Explore Amercia
  • EF Global Classrom Foundation
  • EF HELLO WORLD
  • EF High School Exchange Year
  • EF Journeys
  • EFSet
  • EF Smart School
  • EF Teachers and Students Exploring America
  • EF Tours
  • EF World Journeys
  • EF Worldwide Journeys
  • eLab
  • Englishtown
  • ETrav: Educational Travel Alliance (eTrav) Inc.: EF Educational Tours
  • GoAhead
  • GoAhead Tours
  • Go Ahead Vacations
  • GoED
  • GoEF
  • Hult
  • Hult International Business School
  • Hult International Business School established 1964 Hult
  • HULT PRIZE
  • Hult University
  • iStory
  • Live the Language
  • Talk to the World
  • The Global Classroom
  • Trifekta
  • World Town
  • You Should Go

I’m not sure how Signum International Ltd fits in, or if they fit in at all, but I found this advertisement in The Royal Gazette:

1998: CPC Consultancy Ltd (03501558) was established in England. Its name was changed to Signum International Ltd. in 1998.*

MJM Limited Barristers & Attorneys “Thistle House” 4 Burnaby Street Hamilton, HM 11 Attorney for the Intended Administrators Assignment without Goodwill Trade Marks Nos. 27639, 27751 and 27752 Application was filed on 21 January 2014 to record the assignment of trade marks nos. 27639 “EF ENGLISH FIRST & Device“ in class 9, 27751 “EF ENGLISH FIRST & Device“ in class 41, and 27752 “EF ENGLISH FIRST & Device“ in class 16 from Signum International Ltd. to Signum International S.à.r.l. Luxembourg, Luzern Branch of Haldenstrasse 7, CH-6006 Luzern, Switzerland, without the goodwill of the business concerned in the goods for which the trade marks are registered. (p. 38 The Royal Gazette, 2014-02-21)

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2012 Mar 13: EF Education First EF Tours RACKET

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SOURCES:

EF Education: Erika Travel Insurance / Efekta Insurance

Please note the potential conflict of interest as Erika/Efekta are part of the EF/Hult empire.

EF Education First/Signum International SARL

  • Universal Care SARL: B83591

History

EF has this to say about Erika Insurance:

EF offers you a travel insurance coverage specially designed for exchange programs abroad. With this comprehensive insurance coverage you may feel totally secure. … This travel insurance coverage is tailor-made for an EF student … Moreover, EF staff recognises the Erika product and can assist you while abroad. (Erika)

Erika Försäkringsaktiebolag was established in 1995 in Stockholm, Sweden. The usual EF people sit on its board: Åsa Elisabeth S Rangne Blendow and Bill Erling Andreasson. Its head office in Sweden shares address with EF Corporation, Sweden:

In the US students are asked to

Remember that Erika Insurance and Aetna insurance are separate companies; however, Erika works with Aetna and Aetna is the name that healthcare providers will recognize!

Erika Insurance buyers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria or Holland are asked to go through AXA Assistance. Italian students go through Inter Partner Assistance and All other nationalities are to use contact Falck TravelCare.

At the top of the page you will see how Erika Insurance fits into the EF empire.

Hult International Business School also uses Erika. Once again the rules are the same

Insurance plans are provided by AETNA for US locations, Erika Medical insurance for London, Dubai, and Shanghai.

Efekta Insurance International, Ltd. is another EF company that is linked to Erika. For tax purposes it is located in Hamilton, Bermuda (Reg.no: 35879). Tobias Sjöberg is its Director of Operations. US head offices are the same as the rest of the EF corporation in the US: One Education St, Cambridge MA 02141. Repeat performances are by board members Martha Doyle, Peter Nilsson, Jens Appelkvist and Rosa Gyllenhaal.

Efekta has lists as their customers:

  • Go Ahead Tours
  • EF Educational Tours – US
  • EF Educational Tours – Canada
  • EF College Break and
  • EF College Study Tours

2004: «Since the divestment of third party business in 2003, there has been a significant increase in the credit and liquidity risk associated with Erika as it cedes 85% of the gross premiums written to Efekta, (EF’s reinsurance captive based in Bermuda). Credit and liquidity risk is further exacerbated by a non-callable loan arrangement between Efekta and an EF group subsidiary.»

2010/2011: Vertsfar etterforsket, ned 5 kilo på 2,5 uker, overfylt og skittent

Anonym:

Jeg er en 20 år gammel jente, og det nærmer seg tre år siden jeg reiste over dammen. Jeg fikk tidlig tildelt familie. Allerede i februar 2010 fikk jeg meldinger på facebook av min kommende vertsmor. Vi fikk god kontakt, og jeg gledet meg om mulig enda mer til å reise. Dagen kom, og i slutten av juli 2010 reiste jeg til Alabama, USA. På flyplassen ble jeg møtt av hele storfamilien, og det var klemming og hilsing. Det var ikke før jeg hilste på vertsfar jeg fikk en litt ekkel følelse inni meg. Det første han spurte meg om etter «hei og hallo» var: «Do you shave?». Han hadde nemlig hørt at europeere ikke barberte seg… På grunn av omstendigheter vi (jeg og min tyske vertssøster) ikke fikk forklart, måtte vi bo hos en annen vertsfamilie de første ukene. Ikke før senere fikk vi vite hva de omstendighetene var. Jeg startet på skolen, og er en relativt utadvent jente, så fikk meg fort venner på skolen. Jeg trivdes utrolig godt både med de andre elevene og også med lærerne. Jeg begynte også på et fotballag like i nærheten.

Ukene gikk, og etter ca 2 uker kom den opprinnelige vertsmora for å ta en prat med meg. Vertsfamilie nr. 2 hadde nemlig gikk uttrykk for at jeg spiste for mye (!), og de ikke hadde råd til det. Jeg vil bare si at jeg alltid har vært tynn, og aldri særlig storspist. På grunn av mitt matinntak, bestemte de seg for å sette opp en matplan for meg. På en hel dag kunne jeg få f.eks. to bananer. Med skole og fotballtrening sier det seg selv at dette ble for lite. Jeg gikk ned 5 kilo på bare 2 1/2 uke. For en jente som allerede var tynn, var dette mye. En dag jeg og den tyske vertssøstra mi kom hjem fra skolen, var vi så sultne at vi fant noen frosne pannekaker i frysern som vi varmet i microen og spiste. Det var ikke populært når vertsmor kom hjem. Etter en lang skjennepreken, tvang hun oss til å betale henne for pannekakene.

Selv om vi bodde hos en «alternativ» vertsfamilie, var vi mye på besøk hos den egentlige familien vår. Den besto av vertsmor, vertsfar, vertsfars 2 barn, vertsmors 3 barn, deres to fosterbarn og også etterhvert oss to utvekslingsstudenter. De hadde i tillegg fire hunder, 2 katter og en krabbe i bur på kjøkkenbenken. Alle oss var fordelt på 3 soverom, der v-mor og v-far hadde det ene, jentene ett og guttene ett.

Etter ca tre uker i USA, fikk vi vite hvorfor vi var nødt til å bo hos en annen familie. Vertsfar var nemlig under etterforskning for seksuelt misbruk av mindreårige… Det var da vi begynte å forstå alle de slibrige kommentarene hans, og hvorfor familien ABSOLUTT ville ha jenter som utvekslingsstudenter. Da jeg fikk vite dette, nektet jeg å bo hos dem, og vi fortsatte å bo hos den alternative familien. Jeg hadde hele tiden tett kontakt både med mine foreldre og EF i Norge. Det virket ikke som EF i Norge og EF i USA samarbeidet i det hele tatt.

Foreldrene mine var frustrerte over å ikke kunne gjøre noe, og jeg var frustrert over hele situasjonen. Jeg prøvde å kontakte områderepresentanten min, som jeg aldri hadde møtt eller snakket med. Det viste seg at det var bestevenninna til v-mor, og hun visste om hele historien til v-far… Hun kalte meg en dramaqueen, og sa at hun ikke ville gjøre noe for å hjelpe meg å finne en ny familie. Jeg var nødt til å gjøre noe mer, og kontaktet EF på høyere nivå. Jeg sa jeg ville skifte familie, men det ble jeg nektet. De forklarte at det ikke var mulig. Da jeg sa at jeg kjente flere som hadde vært nødt til å få ny familie, nektet de. De hadde ALDRI hørt om noen som hadde fått ny familie. Jeg ble mer og mer frustrert. Jeg har et søskenbarn i Chicago som jeg gjerne ville reise til, for å føle meg trygg. Det ble jeg også nektet. Som 17-åring er man ganske usikker, og jeg ser at hvis det hadde vært i dag hadde jeg funnet meg ny familie blant vennene mine på skolen selv, eventuelt bare reist.

Til slutt fikk både jeg og foreldrene mine nok, så vi sa til EF at enten fant de ny familie til meg innen en uke, eller få meg hjem. Det endte med at jeg reiste hjem. Etter 5 uker i USA var eventyret over. Men ikke historien.

Etter jeg var kommet hjem, begynte anklagene. Fikk mailer og brev fra EF der de ba om at jeg måtte levere tilbake alt jeg hadde stjålet fra vertsfamilien. De anklaget meg for å ha stjålet masse penger, verdisaker og klær. Det hele ble til slutt ganske ubehagelig, da de begynte å skrive både til meg og til vennene mine på facebook. De skrev så masse ubehagelig at jeg var nødt til å blokke dem på facebook, og be vennene mine gjøre det samme. Jeg går ut i fra at de var ute etter penger, ettersom de var relativt fattige. Ikke skjønner jeg hvordan jeg skulle ha greid få med meg hverken penger eller verdisaker, for så vidt jeg vet hadde de lite av begge delene.

Vi prøvde etterhvert å kreve penger tilbake fra EF, noe som ble en lang kamp. Foreldrene mine ville at jeg skulle gå til media, men jeg var rett og slett ikke klar til å stå frem med historien min. Vi fikk til slutt tilbake ca 20 000 av ca 75 000…

Så det ble en dyr lærepenge.

2012 Dec 04: USA: EF and their representative Nettie Lowery

Complaint to the US Department of State against EF and their representative Nettie Lowery
Dato: Tue, 04 Dec 2012 20:50:33 +0100
Fra: L
Til: DOS
CC: Diverse

U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20522

Attention:Div

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I remind you of the story of my own M’s meeting with Forte International Exchange Association and their representative Becky Sanderson. Below is the story from a mother of the treatment of her daughter by another representative, this time from EF. It is clear that the representatives of the various organisations are getting away with traumatizing exchange students coming into your country for «the adventure of a life-time». Instead they leave the US with the impression that they are not taken seriously and that adults are free to treat teen-agers as they like. This is something that the Department of State needs to take seriously.

To whom it may concern,

Complaint about the treatment of my daughter, XXXX, by EF USA/Norway and their Fayetteville, North-Carolina representative Nettie Lowery.

Early on XXXX was given the XXXX family in Fayetteville, North-Carolina as her host-family. They were a young military family consisting of mom, dad and a one-year-old son. The dad also has a daughter from a previous relationship. She does not live with the family.

The family had planned a vacation to Tennessee before school-start and wanted XXXX to join them. EF advised XXXX to leave ahead of time so she could be part of this vacation and that way get to know the family. XXXX left four weeks ahead of time – August 1, 2012.
In spite of being afraid of flying, XXXX was booked for four flights. She also had to travel on her own. At the airport XXXX and her mom were met by an inexperienced representative from EF. XXXX got her tickets and it turned out there were only two of them. The EF-representative was not able to give an answer as to why there were only two tickets. Neither could she tell XXXX at which airport XXXX needed to pick up her luggage and where it continued on its own. XXXX was told to ask at Information in New York and ask about the tickets there.

The flight information the family had received from EF included four destinations, but the reservation confimation only had three destinations. When we aired this with the representative, she had no clue and felt XXXX should get an answer in New York. The phone card we had been given had been filled and registered by the family, but it did not work. The representative was not able to address this problem either.

After 36 hours of travel, XXXX was met at the next to last airport by host mom. Worn out, XXXX arrived at a home that stank, where it was dark and filthy and where noone greeted her. In addition there were more people living in the home than we had been told. In addition to the family XXXX had been told of, the host-mom’s sister, the host-mom’s mother and three dogs lived in the house. XXXX is afraid of dogs and had not been told about the pets.

It turns out the courts had refused visitation rights to host-dad and that the family were going to court the week after XXXX’s arrival. This was the alleged vacation to Tennesse.

XXXX’s representative, Nettie, told XXXX that she had not wanted to approve the family, but that EF higher up had overruled her.
August 12, 2012 XXXX was removed from the home of the XXXX family. She was then placed with with XXXX. XXXX stayed with XXXX a few days until EF had approved the next temporary home. This time XXXX moved in with XXXX. XXXX  could only stay with XXXX a couple of days as XXXX was awaiting her own exchange student and therefore would not be able to fit another exchange-student into her home.

After a couple of days XXXX with XXXX, XXXX was then moved to Nettie, her own representative. XXXX’s experience with the XXXX’s had been traumatic. Having to move into three temporary homes did not help the matter any.

Nettie turned out to be an awful host-mom. She threatened and bullied XXXX. In the end XXXX became so afraid of Nettie that she was unable to tell her how she really felt. Nettie had threatened XXXX with dire consequences if XXXX was troublesome. XXXX was told in no uncertain terms that Nettie could make serious trouble for XXXX. She would make sure that XXXX would never be herself again. XXXX was also told that Nettie’s salary was based on how many exchange-students Nettie was able to place and that XXXX would be held responsible if she did not stay with the next family. Nettie told XXXX that she could care less what happened to XXXX and coerced XXXX to sign a «Contract of Behavior» where among other things XXXX had to promise to stop crying, to love and respect her «mother» and to speak English at all times (see below).

It gets worse. Nettie brought XXXX along to an acceptance-interview with her supposed next permanent family, the XXXX. At the XXXX’ home XXXX was displayed and «interviewed». Still present, XXXX was discussed and evaluated. This was how she was approved by the XXXX. This is illegal! The students aren’t supposed to be presented with name or picture to a potential host-family ahead of time. It is extremely difficult for young girl to experience this kind of evaluation, especially considering what had passed previously. Their representative is supposed to be a «safe» person, someone the exchange student can turn to in difficult situations.
Before the papers were in order, XXXX was placed with the XXXX. They stated that they did not dare ask EF about this because they saw how terribly Nettie treated XXXX, and they were afraid that Nettie would remove XXXX from the family if they dared question anything.

Conversation started September 15: 7:56am

Host mother

  • I am sorry to bother the two of you, but I am hoping that maybe somebody would be willing to tell me what happened. XXXX was adjusting nicely, doing better in school, getting more comfortable with the family, or we thought so anyway. I knew she had not made a final decision whether to stay or leave, but she was finally smiling, seeming to settle in, I know she was sleeping, I could see it in her face. We had all been making plans for the fair this weekend, and for making some trips to Washington DC, going down the coast and maybe new york in the spring. I went to work on Monday, while I was gone she decided to go home. She has never spoken to me again. She never told me she was going home, she never said a word abut why all this happened. I know her start in the States was not good, but my family and I opened our home and our lives to her. While we are not perfect we are decent people in a decent home. I don’t mind so much that she went home, I just wish someone would tell me what happened. XXXX is a lovely young lady with a wonderful spirit, which is why is suprises me so much that she simply never said a thing. She has also removed both my daughter and I from her FB account, which is her right, I simply find that I would really like to know what it was that we did to her that was so horrible that she simply will not speak after staying in our home and being a part of our family. If either of you would be willing to explain that, I would truly appreciate it. On another note, I intend to call EF now that I know XXXX is back home and settled and discuss her contact here in the states. She had placed XXXX with us before all of the paperwork was done, and her treatment of the child was completely unpleasant and unprofessional. Unless either of you has a great objection I intend to speak to the people in Boston about it. I had told XXXX that I would do that, I just did not want to do it while she was with us for fear that they would move her again.

Host mother

  • Oh XXXX I can stand. Have no fear for me. Whatever you need of me just ask. I wish I had known. I just did not know what my family had done. I told XXXX I would say nothing about Nettie while she was here for fear they would take XXXX from me. I just did not know why XXXX was mad with us. We are a bit silly and unorganized but i thought we were normal. Whatever you need, I will send whatever you need and I am calling nettles american boss on Monday. If I have my way she will no longer have a job. Please know my family and I would have never participated in threats to your daughter and if our name was used we had nothing to do with it. I have never treated any child like that.

 

The XXXX lived way out in the country and were very religious. Mrs. XXXX was not interested in XXXX having contact with anyone outside the family. XXXX and the host-family were asked if they would like to visit another Norwegian (Sue) living in North-Carolina, but the XXXX would not allow this. XXXX was then invited to go with the same person to a Greek festival, but she was not allowed to do that either. After that conversation XXXX’s host-mom had pulled her into her room and yelled at her saying that she was not to have people call their house to convince XXXX to go out. After this XXXX was only allowed to speak with people in English.

Friends of Sue then offered to host XXXX for the rest of the year so she might experience a normal year. All of the information about that family was sent to EF. EF would not let XXXX move until mediation/councelling had been done with the XXXX.

XXXX had by this time become so broken in spirit that she and I decided that the best place for XXXX would be with her mother. After arrival in Norway XXXX was evaluated by the family-doctor and he concluded that the previously healthy young lady had come back to Norway with depression and anxiety problems. Even now XXXX struggles with nightmares of EF taking her back to the US.

We wish to accomplish several things with this complaint:

1. EF should refund the whole program fee of NOK 78 762.

2. In addition EF should refund all of the extra expenses that have been placed upon our family due to this avoidable situation. This includes all of the trips we have had to make, medical expenses and a vacation that was cut short: NOK 110 000,-

3. In addition, XXXX’s representative, Nettie Lowery should be held responsible for her actions and expelled from the EF system.

4. The State Department needs to make certain that all of the exchange organizations (including EF) are held responsible for their actions.

Sincerely

XXXX (mother)

Copy: Div


Behavioral agreement from EF

EF Education First: «Agreement»

Her har dere enda en såkalt «agreement». Denne ble skrevet på tross av at utvekslingseleven hadde gjort det hun kunne for å få ting til å funke. I avtalen står det «respect mother». Med det menes vertsmor.

Good Morning XXXX:

After discussion with XXXX, she has promised to stay here in America with the XXXX family to complete her high school exchange year. She has created a contract of actions which will be performed throughout her stay in the XXXX home.

CONTRACT

I, XXXX promise to do the following things on my list:

– Be social with the family and others

– Love and respect my mother

– do my homework and go to school

– keep myself busy after school

– eat the food they give me

– speak english

– be excited and learn

– stay with the family, and spend less time on the computer

– behave respectful and nice

– stop crying

– stop complaining

– stop acting like a spoiled brat

– give this opportunity and schoolyear a good try

I will do my very best to make this year a success. I will not just give the chance away. I will appreciate everything my mother have done for me.

XXXX is a very talented and sweet young lady. Her behavior reflects one who almost allowed fear to hold her back. Thank you for encouraging her and placing her back on the track of growth.

Nettie Lowery

 

XXXX