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The Boston Globe


Education First aims to bridge barriers with exchange

Struggling with dyslexia while growing up in Sweden, Bertil Hult quit school after junior high and eventually went to work making coffee and running errands for a ship broker in London. Six months later, without ever stepping foot in a classroom, Hult could speak English.

The time he spent in England showed Hult how everyday, real-world experiences could accelerate learning a language and understanding a culture — and planted the seeds for the company he would found when he dropped out of school for a second time as a 20-year-old college student. Nearly 50 years later, the company Hult started with just 5,000 Swedish kronor, or about $700, employs 34,000 people in 55 countries, organizing student trips and teaching English around the world.

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