STS Founder turns 90

Mon Nov 28 2022

Today, November 28, 2022, the founder of STS, Lars Magnusson, celebrates his 90th birthday.

Giving young people the opportunity to learn has been Lars' passion throughout his life.

Already in his 20s, Lars organized extra classes in languages and mathematics for those who had difficulties at school. The small apartment of Ethel, his fiancé, and later his wife, was used as a classroom. It was temporarily refurnished to accommodate the blackboard and the students. Later, lessons were moved to classrooms in schools after regular school days.

"At that time, it was popular to send students for private tuition, but I realized that it works just as well if you are a small group where you have good contact with your teacher. Then you can learn from each other as well. We, who were a bit older, taught the younger ones."

But Lars wanted more and saw the potential of learning languages in an international world. And he realized that you learn a language most efficiently where it is spoken. Said and done, almost 65 years ago, in the summer of 1958, Lars traveled with his first language travel students to Austria to practice their German. He had now created the first language trip! This quickly became a success, and the following year as many as 600 students went on language trips to England. Just a few years later, over 2000 students traveled on Lars' language trips every summer. Lars was a pioneer and became the world's first organizer of group language trips.

"I was lucky enough to come up with a good business idea, being able to work with what I enjoy the most."

After having worked with language travel for some years, Lars continued the same path. In 1971, he began organizing high school exchange programs, allowing students to attend American high schools. This was a great opportunity for young people at the time and still is today. Later Lars added au pair programs, language courses for adults, and programs for academic studies all over the world to his product portfolio.

Alongside his language and education business, Lars also got into the charter business by founding STS Alpresor in 1976 and STS Solresor in 1989. In 1997 he founded City Airline with direct flights from Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, to a range of destinations to make the city more competitive and accessible. Being born and raised in Gothenburg, Lars has always had the city in his heart and has worked with determination to develop Gothenburg and its region. In 1999, he received an honorary award for his work, the Merit Badge of the City of Gothenburg.

STS Education and STS Alpresor are now continued within the family. Lars and Ethel, who worked together all years, are retired since 2016. Ethel, who has turned 92, sweeps the leaves in front of the house where they have lived since 1964 and then walks down the hill to the mailbox to pick up the daily mail and newspapers. Lars still thoroughly reads his newspapers every day. He swims regularly and enjoys listening to music. He plays both the piano and the accordion. But he doesn’t play by notes: "I play by ear. That way I can play whatever I want", Lars says with a smile.