Sweden was the birthplace of EF Education First as a small summer language program founded in 1965 by Swedish national, Bertil Hult. EF originally stood for "Europeiska Ferieskolan" (European School Holiday), but was officially changed to mean Education First to reflect the company’s evolution into a global education company. Sweden is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. At 450,295 km², Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.4 million. Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy of government and a highly developed economy. It ranks first in the world in The Economist's Democracy Index.
Köttbullar, or Swedish meatballs, are traditionally served at Swedish smorgasbords and other festive occasions. They are served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and sometimes fresh pickled cucumber.
In Sweden, school is required between the ages of 6-18, and students can either attend public or private school (most attend public schools). There are two semesters in an academic year: the first starts in the middle of August and the second starts at the beginning of January. School is informal, and students often call their teachers by their first name. Students are used to discussing topics in class, and take a very active part in learning.
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- Because the sun does not set for several weeks in the summer months, Sweden is popularly known as "The Land of the Midnight Sun."
- The World Economic Forum ranks Sweden the #1 country in the world in gender equality.
- About 75% of the Sweden's mothers are gainfully employed.
- At school, classes scheduled to begin on the hour actually start 15 minutes later, because the quarter hour system dates back to when time was known only by the ringing of church bells.
- Local mail is often delivered by bicycle.
- During Easter in Sweden, children dress up and go from home to home asking for candy, similar to Halloween in America.