The Multilingual Advantage of International Schools
The world is rapidly globalizing, and national borders are gradually fading. Thanks in part to migration and multinational business trends, the boundaries between East and West is quickly disappearing. A few decades ago, just traveling to a Western country was seen as a milestone and successfully integrating into Western culture a great achievement for many Asians. Today this has become much more common and the cross-fertilization between cultures has increased with many Westerners turning to Asian culture, food (sushi anyone?) and studying the ancient disciplines of the East like yoga. During this period, alongside rapid globalization, education and schools have continued to evolve to keep pace with this change.
In some of the most reputable European universities, students and scholars study the languages of the East. Increasingly, small children are encouraged to speak to their grandmothers in their mother tongue, to their friends in English and foreigners in at least one foreign language. Even science now claims that learning multiple languages provides a serious cognitive advantage over the unilingual.
Research shows that languages are best learned before the age of 10-years-old1 and highlight the advantage of both constant practice and academic immersion. Students who learn words early in their lives soon master them and speak as fluently as their parents for as long as they continue using the language. With a vibrant mix of students from various countries; exposure to foreign languages and diverse cultures, international schools have helped play an essential role in shaping the personality of students around the world. This prepares them to face the growing demand for evolving international standards. At SIS BV we are proud of this linguistic and cultural diversity and the small role we have played, and indeed all SIS Group of Schools have played, in this global cross-cultural pollination.
Language is not only a powerful means of communication; it has the power to change the world. Learning a second or third language is a significant boost to confidence and a doorway to becoming a global citizen. For children who dream big, international schools provide the environment that is needed to make big dreams come true.
1 Gander, Kashmira. Scientists pinpoint best age to learn a second language, Newsweek, https://www.newsweek.com/scientists-pinpoint-best-age-learn-second-language-907505