Europe in the Foothills

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The more mired down the Brexit issue gets in the arguments of immigration, the more we should realise how important it is that we have open borders, the freedom to travel and live abroad and education to help us understand foreign cultures. Even in our tucked away and rural region of France, there are people from all over the world from a great variety of cultures and religions speaking any number of languages. Today I collected my nine-year old son and his friend from tennis. Together the boys speak French, at home my son speaks English, his friend speaks Russian to his mother and Danish to his father. Another of his friends speaks French at school and Spanish at home and there are many Dutch people living here who speak at least three or four languages. The market stall where I buy our goat’s cheese is run by a German who speaks five languages fluently and has lived and worked all over the world and he is not unusual. And what’s more, we all live here happily, side by side in our adopted country along with the locals who welcome us with interest. This lovely melting pot is, to my mind, a perfect example of all that is good about the European project and open borders and our best chance of keeping this world safe from those who want to narrow our outlook, our understanding and our lives.

For anyone interested in the advantages of speaking more than one language or raising bilingual children, this is a great article from the Economist: http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2013/10/multilingualism-0?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/bringingupbaby

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