Sunday, January 21 , 2018, 8:58 am | Fair 41º


Education First International School in Santa Barbara Welcomes New Students

Local businesses set up for Welcome Fair event catering to new students from around the world

T-Mobile was a popular booth Monday at the EF International Welcome Fair for new students.
T-Mobile was a popular booth Monday at the EF International Welcome Fair for new students.      (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Students from around the globe gathered Monday in the outdoor courtyard of the EF International Language Center, where new school-year arrivals attended a Welcome Fair at the downtown Santa Barbara school.

Many were getting their first glimpse of the Santa Barbara community and of the learning institution under the “EF” banner, which stands for Education First and teaches students from other countries to better speak English.

Most of EF’s 200 local students age 16 and older enroll for the regular nine-month academic year, with others opting into six- to 12-week classes at the center across the street from South Coast Deli on Chapala Street. 

“Students come here to improve their English,” said EF school director Kristen Reilly, noting it can help prepare them to take exams needed to get into universities or graduate school or to get jobs.

Of 42 centers across the country, Santa Barbara EF International is the third largest and was recently voted as the No. 1 choice for students who live with local host families while they study, Reilly said.

It requires all students to participate in community service projects within the first eight weeks.

Students attended orientation and the Welcome Fair, which gave businesses a chance to introduce themselves, too.

McDonald’s locations in Santa Barbara and Goleta gave away free coffee and cookies, Eat This, Shoot That! offered discounted food and wine tours, banks like Wells Fargo and Union Bank set up accounts and gyms sold memberships.

Expedition America was one of several booths on hand Monday for the Welcome Fair for EF International students in downtown Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Expedition America was one of several booths on hand Monday for the Welcome Fair for EF International students in downtown Santa Barbara.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

For the student inspired to travel, rental car companies provided applications on the spot and Expedition America outlined upcoming trips to destinations in and outside California.

T-Mobile was another popular booth set up in the courtyard of the 1421 Chapala St. school. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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