How to give your child a global education
A modern education means a global education
The internet, affordable travel and the popularity in remote, flexible working means the world is getting smaller. We, as a nation, are more culturally diverse than ever before and children will benefit from being raised with an international outlook.
Whatever your budget, and whether your child is at the local school, boarding in a different country or being home-schooled, you can help them achieve a global education:
1. Expose them to different cultures as early in life as possible
The best way to adapt a global mind-set is to be exposed to different cultures from a young age. Nurseries and classrooms are full of children from a range of backgrounds and learning about them can be fun.
Encourage your child to be curious about other people and embrace any differences. Organise playdates with children of other nationalities so they can mix. Make diversity normal rather than scary or strange.
If you feel your child’s school doesn’t embrace cultural diversity as much as it could, speak to teachers and other parents about organising events. This could be as simple as children bringing in food from their heritage for everyone to share or talking to the classroom about their family’s background.
2. Access resources that are readily available to you
Achieving a global education doesn’t have to be expensive and it can be woven into everyday life. Trips to free museums, introducing children to foreign authors at libraries, watching foreign films, listening to international music and eating food from different countries all contribute to becoming more globally aware and accepting of different cultures.
If you do have the budget, foreign travel broadens the mind. If you’re booked for a fortnight’s sea and sun in a resort, take a few hours to visit a part of the country where the tourists don’t go, just to give children an idea of ‘real life’.
If you have a foreign work trip booked and have the budget to take your child, plus a tutor, it’s a great way of combining it with an educational trip.
3. Ensure your child’s teaching involves learning about different cultures
If your child is home-schooled, ensure that a portion of your teaching is devoted to learning about different cultures. If you do use occasional teachers or tutors, consider employing those from different nationalities, especially if they speak a language your child is trying to learn.
If your child is at boarding school and out of your sight day to day, check the curriculum and extra-curricular activities on offer and don’t be afraid to speak to the school if you’re not satisfied.
Make learning a second language a priority. This is essential when it comes to applying for jobs as British candidates compete with foreign applicants who speak their native language as well as fluent English.
As well as the usual qualifications, some schools offer enrichment programmes, with the opportunity to learn the basics of languages such as Mandarin. It’s not just about communication, it’s about appreciating and understanding difference.
If you do employ a private tutor, consider learning a subject not taught at school, such as Spanish or Classics.
4. When they are old enough, encourage your child to study abroad
Studying abroad, even for a few months, can offer lifelong benefits. Not only does a child based overseas experience an international lifestyle and often learn a language, they also discover a global network of friendships.
If this isn’t an option, maybe sign up to an exchange programme so your child stays with a family abroad and their child comes to stay with you. This can be a richly rewarding experience for the whole family.
Consider applying to a university overseas or for a four-year-degree that has a year abroad. Foreign study enhances job prospects with international companies and enables you to make contacts around the world. Gap years with some time spent abroad are also worthwhile.
Encourage young people to work to fund their trip as they’ll appreciate its value more. All international work experience is valid and can be valuable on UCAS or job applications.
Raising a child to have a global education is essential in modern society
Not only is diversity progressive but when it comes to applying for jobs, the person who is familiar with other cultures and speaks more than one language, will be more appealing than someone who has not set foot outside the M25. It’s never too early to start!
If you’d like more information about this or how our consultants can support them on their educational roadmap, contact us today.