Tips and tricks on how to live gracefully as a bilingual, global citizen in a rapidly changing world

Empowering International School Students & Teachers

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10 Tips and Tricks

Language is culture


Identity is a choice


Maintain your heritage identit


Benefits of cultivating a dual, cultural identity

Emergence of a global awareness - Neoterism

Foster cross-cultural interpersonal relations


Balance Individual and social selves


Find a mentor


TOM: Think, Opinion, Manifest


Harvard theory: Third to Fourth Order transition


Acknowledge your inner guidance


Explanation of the 10 Keys

1. Language is culture


Communication is not the only reason for acquiring a second language. When one acquires a language, that person is concurrently acquiring the culture. Thus, language is culture. Culture is language. These are the words of Brazilian educator and philosopher, Paulo Freire. Hence, a bilingual learner launches on a path of potentially developing two cultural identities. 



2. Identity is a choice


Development of an identity is not a stupefied operation, instead, bilingual learners are imparted with the choice of developing one cultural identity or developing two cultural identities. Whether the individual chooses to become the identity of the heritage culture or of the secondary culture is up to the individual. Development of a cultural identity is a choice. Bilingual learners have the upper hand when it comes to identity development. 



3. Maintain heritage identity


Being lost in two cultures is fatiguing, let alone woeful. However, there is a way to overcome the daunting sense of incompleteness. The answer is to consider maintaining one’s heritage identity. A Japanese person sustains a Japanese identity. A Korean person sustains a Korean identity. This is because, when push comes to shove, the heritage country or the country you have citizenship is liable to protect you. 



4. Benefits of cultivating a dual cultural identity


Bilingual learners are tolerant, cognitively-flexible, and empathetic. Bilingual learners are adroit listeners and highly skilled observers. Bilingual learners can become highly autonomous.



5. Emergence of a global awareness: Neoterism


When two cultural identities are concinnated we see the emergence of a global awareness. This term coined by Yujiro Shimogori implies a new, modern awareness that harnesses two cultural consciousness as well as a third awareness or a global awareness. When neoterism emerges, the bilingual learner can accept, live and function in two antithetical cultures, yet find balance. 



6. Fostering cross-cultural interpersonal relations


Knowing two cultures, the bilingual learner now is an expert go-between of two cultures. They become liaisons of two cultures who are well-versed in fostering cross-cultural interpersonal relationships.



7. Find a mentor


It’s worth everything to spend three years finding a mentor than trying to solve it yourself. This statement extracted from a budo (Japanese martial arts) teaching suggests that connecting with a mentor is essential in cultivating a successful life. For a bilingual learner, the mentor should be a successful multicultural leader. 



8. TOM:  Think, Opinion, Manifest


Think, opinion, and manifest (or shortly TOM) is translated and reworded from the Buddhist teaching shin ku I (身口意).  When one creates a world, this individual begins by thinking about the creation (Think).  As the creation takes form in the mind, this person gradually articulates about the creation (Opinion).  In the process of communicating with multitude of people, the creation eventually takes form as a physical manifestation (Manifest). For instance, an architect thinks about developing a building. Subsequently, shares his or her idea to colleagues and stakeholders. The ultimate product is the actual manifestation of the building.  While this concept is simple, it epitomizes how the world is constructed. The mind is a powerful tool in the construction of the world. For this reason, it is imperative that one’s mind maintains positive intentions. 



9. Harvard Theory: Third to Fourth Order transition


Living requires the balance of individual and social awareness.  It is pertinent to realize that cultivation of ones individual needs and desires is as paramount as the cultivation of the needs and desires of the community. We need to be aware of what makes us to grow as individuals as well as consistently striving to improve and offer ways to improve the society. 



10. Acknowledging your inner guidance


The ultimate guide is within yourself.  This is the most difficult concept to grasp as it is rarely discussed in the academic arena.  The inner guidance is shared amongst voluminous discipline and stretches even to the outskirts of both East and West epistemology.  This inner guidance in Hinduism is known as Atman. Buddhism is referred to as busshin. Carl Jung called it the ego. And Tolstoy named it the light. The inner guidance is invisible, has no smell, nor can we touch it. It is a concept inaccessible to our senses, but indubitably an essential element of our existence.  Knowing or not knowing the existence of the inner guidance is a matter of urgency.