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Languages at UWCSEA

Although the learning programme is delivered in English, the College values and celebrates linguistic diversity. Our community is drawn from around 90 countries, and more than 60 other languages are spoken by community members as their first language.

Our language offerings are designed to provide our students with exposure to other cultures as well as to acquire skill in a language other than English—and to support students whose first language is not English in retaining and developing skills in their mother tongue wherever possible. 

Academic courses

In addition to English (or English as an Additional Language) lessons, almost all students take a Language other than English (LOTE) class. Depending on the grade and campus 

Foreign languages

Beginner courses: for those with little or no prior exposure to learning the language. In the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP), these are the ab initio courses.

Continuation courses: foreign language courses that require the student to have had at least a year of prior study in the language. Students are generally tested to ensure they are in a course that matches their attainment.

English as an Additional Language (EAL): we accept EAL learners from K1 to Grade 11 on both campuses, although the programme differs by campus.  

First languages

To support our multilingual students, we offer a range of advanced and home language (also called mother tongue) courses. When they are part of the academic programme we call them ‘advanced’ courses and classes generally take place during the school day.

Advanced courses: for first or near-first language (includes native or near-native,) students who also have prior study of the language. These are usually part of the timetable and delivered during the school day.

Home languages: offered through an after school programme. The aim is to help students maintain a language they speak at home.

School Supported Self-Taught (SSST) courses: offered in both the Grade 9 and 10 academic programmes, the SSST course is for home language (mother tongue) learners who would like to continue studies of their language in the IBDP. Students need to have had previous study of the language. More information can be found on our Languages at UWCSEA factsheet.

Home language (mother tongue) programme

The Home Language programme is offered for students who want to maintain a language spoken at home but who do not study this language as part of the academic curriculum during the school day. Some home languages are offered until a 'home language' level course becomes available as part of the academic programme. However, other languages are offered in small group classes as part of a coordinated after school Home Languages programme.

Delivered by a qualified teacher in small group classes after school, the lessons support students to maintain and develop their home language skills at age appropriate levels. In  K1 to Grade 1 the focus in on maintaining or expanding a students exposure to their home language in an environment other than home. A particular focus on developing the literacy skills of reading and writing is introduced from Grade 2.

For older students, the programme is intended to assist them maintain a level of proficiency that may allow them to move into advanced classes in Middle School or the SSST course in High School at either Grade 9 or Grade 11. It may also assist students who aim to study for a bilingual IB Diploma to maintain a level of language learning to access a relevant IBDP course.

The classes are scheduled subject to demand, and are an additional cost. For information which languages may be offered as part of the home language programme, and when some of these languages then become available as part of the academic programme, please refer to our Languages at UWCSEA factsheet or contact Admissions.

Note: Mandarin Chinese is offered at home language (mother tongue) level through the academic curriculum from Grade 1.

Example languages 2018/2019 academic year

Dover Campus

  • Bahasa Indonesian
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

East Campus

  • Bahasa Indonesian
  • Bengali
  • Cantonese
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Malay
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tamil
  • Thai
  • Urdu