At St. John’s International School, we offer a variety of language programmes to stimulate multilingualism and empower international students to stay connected with their heritage, language, and culture.



Language Programmes

Acquiring another language allows our students to interact with different people and understand the nuances of another culture. 

In the Early Years and in Primary we offer our Dual Language Programme (DLP) French and English, so the majority of our students becomes bilingual and biliterate. In grades 9 and 10, we have an extensive Mother Tongue Programme, and during the IB diploma years, we offer Self-Taught Literature as a key course. 

Dual Language Programme

The goal of our Dual Language Programme (DLP) is for most students to become bilingual and biliterate. 

We highly recommend that students complete the full programme (7 years), which is the average time needed to become truly bilingual and biliterate. We encourage the DLP students to enrol in activities outside school in the ‘second language’. This will ensure they are receiving authentic practice in this language in addition to the academic instruction provided at school.

Generally, bilingual students can focus and perform better in problem-solving tasks and are better at identifying basic language sounds and patterns. As a result, adults who are bilingual find it easier to pick up a third language than their monolingual peers. 

download DLP brochure

Mother Tongue Programme

At St. John’s International School, the Mother Tongue Programme is a key activity, which keeps international students connected with their heritage, language, and culture, thus celebrating each individual student’s identity in a global setting.

The programme is aimed at students in Grades 9 and 10 who want to continue with their mother tongue instead of taking one of the other languages (Dutch, French, German, and Spanish) offered at the school as language acquisition and language and literature studies.

St. John’s is proud to teach eight languages as part of the Mother Tongue programme, these are currently: Portuguese, Italian, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Korean, Japanese, and Turkish. We have teachers for many others available and pro-actively work with families to add more, as students with other mother tongues join our school.

We offer this programme in close collaboration with external tutors. The students meet with the tutor once a week and they work in in close partnership with the parents and the Mother Tongue Coordinator of the school. Moreover, this programme prepares students for the IB Diploma, specifically for the subject “Self-Taught Literature (SL)”.

"I chose to take the Mother Tongue course as it will offer me additional opportunities to live and work abroad. On a personal level, it helps me in my understanding of my own culture and in developing my identity."

10th Grade Student – Portuguese

Self-taught Literature - IB Diploma

At St. John’s International School, the Self-Taught Literature is a key course in the IB Diploma.

This course is aimed at students following the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12 who want to continue with their Mother Tongue instead of taking one of the other languages (Dutch, French, German, and Spanish) that we offer at St. John’s as Group 1 or Group 2 courses.

We offer this course in close collaboration with external tutors.  

Being a Self-Taught student offers a unique opportunity to study the literature of a language that we may not offer as a taught subject. 

As a result, a certain level of autonomy is expected. In this course, the central concepts are culture, communication, transformation, perspective, creativity, representation, and identity. When reading and studying a literary work, the student should explore how it relates to these concepts. 

"I jumped on the opportunity to take the Self-Taught Korean course. It allows me to practice and develop my Korean skills. I do intend to return to Korea and apply to a university there, so it truly is an essential skill for me to have."

10th Grade Student – Korean

"The Self-Taught course will be something I will carry with me for life. Even though I currently live outside of my home country, I can keep my native language skills up and connect with my family’s history. It also means that I keep myself the option open to study something in my native language."

11th Grade Student – Swedish

"In 10th grade, I had only taken English classes. Since it still is a foreign language for me, that was hard at times. Taking Korean classes also boosted my confidence. It felt comfortable, and I was happy that St. John’s offers it. It will also allow me to take it into my IB in Group A, which is a huge benefit."

11th Grade Student – Korean