Cross-cultural programmes good

Undoubtedly, bilingualism is a distinct trait of Singaporeans (New video series to promote mother tongue languages; ST Online, Jan 4).

Being bilingual should be about understanding and being able to express oneself in both languages fluently and comfortably.

This will allow us to build bridges between generations, cultures or even races, and give us an edge both in our personal and work life.

Cross-cultural interaction - be it through overseas immersions, school buddy programmes or penpal programmes - is a great way to improve one's mother tongue, as students are put in a situation where they have to use the language.

Cross-cultural interaction also enables students to learn and interact with someone from a different education system and country and, who has different cultural practices. This allows them to widen their world view, improve their social skills and step out of their comfort zones.

It would be great if more students could take part in such cross-cultural activities. In this way, students will become not only more bilingual but also more globally aware.

Yeah Shi Min, 16

Junior College 1 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'Cross-cultural programmes good'. Print Edition | Subscribe