Multilingual Ability as Driving Force behind Global Citizenship: A Preliminary Overview from East Asia

Monica Dwiyanti


Using globalisation as starting point, this writing sees that old conception about identity and in-group feelings have not disappeared despite increasing transnational relations. On the contrary, they often collide with new values and identities that come with globalisation. Amidst these problems, the notions of global citizenship and cultural understanding attempt to provide middle ground. However, global citizenship and cultural understanding are incomplete without multilingual ability. Thus, this writing argues that multilingual ability is an essential driving force behind global citizenship and intercultural understanding. Two reasons are presented to support this main argument: (1) multilingual ability enables people from different nations to interact and communicate; and (2) the process of learning second or third language provides opportunities for learners to understand cultures of the native speakers. The article is structured as follow: (1) introduction; (2) global citizenship and intercultural understanding; (3) the role of multilingual ability; and (4) conclusion. To enrich the discussion, I conducted interviews with 5 students with 4 different nationalities. The interviews highlight the role of multilingual ability to enable communication and to build cultural understanding.


Multilingual Ability; Global Citizenship; Cultural Understanding; Globalisation

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