In our increasingly interconnected world, multilingualism has become more than just a skill – it’s a bridge fostering unity and understanding among diverse cultures.
At The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), this isn’t just a concept but a lived experience. As students, parents, faculty, and staff members from different backgrounds come together, they bring with them a myriad of languages and cultures. This linguistic and cultural diversity strengthens the bonds within the ISKL community, making it a true reflection of the world at large.
Let’s delve deeper into how multilingualism is shaping the fabric of this vibrant international school community.
EMBRACING MULTILINGUALISM: BRIDGING THE GAP
Language is the key that unlocks doors to different cultures and perspectives. ISKL’s commitment to multilingualism is more than just learning languages; it’s about cultivating empathy, cultural awareness, and effective communication. By embracing multilingualism, the school empowers students and families to connect with peers worldwide, break down language barriers, and build lasting relationships.
A high school student at ISKL, Iris A., shares how she enjoys studying multiple languages as it allows her to stay connected to her Swedish culture and communicate with a broader range of people. She adds, “Speaking more than one language has also improved my communication and public speaking skills, as I can interact with more new people daily.”
A parent from the ISKL community, Daisy Q., shares how she met a Danish parent named Lise at the school’s Covid clinic, where they were both volunteers. “She’d lived in China, and we talked about food, cities, and the differences between Western and Chinese cultures,” says Daisy.
“We also ran a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) parent-led language workshop and became good friends. Many parents from China also met with other parents from various countries during the program, and we did fun things like hiking, learning to make Danish meatballs, DIY lanterns, celebrating the lantern festival, etc. We shared our language and cultures during every activity and had many laughs together!”
A TAPESTRY OF CULTURES: ENRICHING THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Imagine a school where students step into a classroom surrounded by classmates from various cultural backgrounds. At ISKL, this is a reality, with over 70 nationalities represented in its diverse community. The school’s community celebrates diversity and integrates it into the curriculum through shared experiences and stories, where students gain a profound understanding of different cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking.
This sentiment is echoed by ISKL alumni Oscar R. and current student Dev C., who both emphasize the benefits of acquiring a new language in high school. Oscar says, “Taking a new language in high school is a great way to expand your knowledge not only because you acquire a new language, but you also gain the ability to know ‘how to learn.’”
Dev adds how he appreciates the curriculum and faculty support in his own multilingualism experience, “High school is just an excellent time to learn a language as it’s still relatively early in our lives, and we have wonderful classes and teachers here to help support us along the journey – it’s an enjoyable experience.”
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP: PREPARING FOR A BORDERLESS WORLD
In an era where the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, navigating a global path is invaluable. ISKL’s commitment to multilingualism equips students with the tools they need to become actual global citizens.
For example, many events organized by the PTA celebrate diversity and connect the whole community, such as the International Fest, the Elementary School International Flag Parade, and Christmas Around the World, annual traditions held at the school. At the International Flag Parade, students, teachers, parents, and staff can be seen dressed in national costumes, proudly cheering, and waving their country’s flags.
Parent Corrine S.F. says, “What I love most about ISKL is that it’s a community of peers who come together. My travels around the world have developed a great appreciation for other cultures, and I feel so fortunate that our children get to enrich their schooling experience amongst such a diverse group of nationalities.”
By encouraging them to embrace diversity and communicate effectively across cultures, we empower our students to thrive in international environments, whether pursuing higher education, embarking on careers, or participating in global initiatives.
A COMMUNITY THAT CARES: NURTURING THE MIND, HEART, AND SPIRIT
ISKL understands that education goes beyond textbooks. The school’s holistic approach emphasizes academic excellence, personal growth, and character development. By promoting multilingualism and fostering a dynamic community, ISKL is able to nurture well-rounded individuals to thrive in a diverse and ever-evolving world while promoting a culture of care and empathy in the community.
Enya R., an ISKL alumnus, shares, “Language is the first thing we exchange when we encounter it, and I feel intense gratification when I can help someone feel a bit more at home when I can communicate with them in their native language.”
As parents, it is important to prepare our children for the challenges and opportunities of the future, and we play a part in ensuring that they are thriving in an environment where diversity is celebrated, connections are cherished, and boundaries are transcended.
If you wonder what parents can expect from a diverse school such as ISKL, we have the perfect guide for you! Download ISKL’s interactive e-book on the 10 most frequently asked questions about languages here.
Established in 1965, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) has become known as a center of excellence in the world of international education. ISKL is a co-educational, private, non-profit school responsible for the learning journey of over 1,600 students aged 3-18 years representing more than 70 nationalities at its campus in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
ISKL offers a robust international curriculum that combines leading North American educational frameworks with global best practices. The curriculum recognizes that students are on a lifelong learning journey and is driven by ISKL’s purpose to prepare our students for life itself, as we believe in the importance of helping students to shape their own paths, supporting them in discovering their passions, developing their competencies, and having an ethical impact on the world.
ISKL is accredited internationally through the Council of International Schools (CIS), and in the United States through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). ISKL has a strong focus on service and sustainability across its divisions and is a member of the Eco-Schools organization and the Green Schools Alliance.
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