Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” This quote from the 32nd President of the United States represents what the United States is: a country built on the backs of immigrants.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports on the many ways in which immigrants contribute positively to the United States, from being an important part of the labor force to even caring for our elderly.
There are many high profile immigrants that have made significant contributions to the United States, such as Sundar Pichai from India, CEO of Alphabet, which owns Google and YouTube; Andrew Carnegie from Scotland, who not only revolutionized steel but gave most of his fortune away for creating libraries, schools (think Carnegie Mellon University), and helping the common people; and even Albert Einstein who immigrated from Germany.
What better way to welcome immigrants than to grant them a worthwhile education so they can continue to contribute incredible achievements to the United States?
The ability to incorporate newcomers from foreign countries into the society of a new country is one of the biggest advantages of bilingual education. It helps immigrant students develop confidence in their abilities in a new nation as well as succeeding later in the workplace. In addition, with bilingual education, foreign students can act as ambassadors to their mother country, communicating and making important relationships between these countries.
A foremost struggle for recent immigrants is grasping the language of their new country. Not only is being unable to understand others terrifying, but it is also jarring to have to switch languages quickly.
However, with bilingual education, foreign students can have a smoother transition into a new environment, and according to a working paper published on EconStor, The Effectiveness of Bilingual School Programs, this education in two languages helps “to ensure a favorable development of the personality, a positive self-image, and to give children a sense of security and well-being.”
Thus through the utilization of a bilingual education program, incoming foreign students can develop confidently in their new environment.
Bilingual education not only helps immigrant students integrate into their new country and community, but also helps the adopted country build bridges with the immigrants’ countries of origin.
Establishing working relationships with others has long been the goal of many countries. With bilingual education programs, these treaties are even more attainable as countries can have educated immigrants become social ambassadors.
In fact, the Dutch furthered this argument by stating, in the Effectiveness of Bilingual Programs, that having bilingually-educated students can help increase the economy of the country through the ability to communicate and form ties with other nations. Therefore, teaching students their native tongue can help the new home country build even stronger ties to the international community.
Although bilingual programs are not directly targeted at parents, parents can benefit as well. With bilingual education programs, there will be teachers who are capable of communicating in both the adopted country’s tongue and the tongue of a foreign country. By having such instructors, immigrant parents can utilize these teachers as translators or as guides to help with the transition into their new surroundings. This is echoed in Effectiveness of Bilingual Programs, when it states that this resource at school will help parents better fit into their new surroundings. With this kind of help, parents will definitely feel more at ease and better appreciated in the foreign country.
Because bilingual education can incorporate foreign students into society, make them ambassadors, and help their parents, bilingual education should be seriously considered by many countries as a premier way to welcome more immigrants and to also strengthen the countries internationally.
After all, with the benefits that a bilingual education can provide, who wouldn’t want one?