Experts from Preply, a renowned online language learning platform, have conducted a comprehensive analysis of 67 Polish towns to assess the availability of foreign language education for children. The results challenge conventional wisdom, as Poland’s capital, Warsaw, finds itself out of the top ten cities offering the best opportunities for multilingual children. This intriguing study has unveiled the surprising potential of smaller cities, revealing a unique educational landscape in the country.
The research, led by Preply, was designed to evaluate factors such as the presence of bilingual schools, the demand for foreign language learning, and the number of foreigners living in different regions of Poland. The goal was to identify the cities that provide the most favourable environment for children to acquire and thrive in multiple languages. The results, unveiled today, provide valuable insights into the multilingual education landscape in Poland.
Warsaw’s Surprising 18th Place
One of the most unexpected findings of the study is Warsaw’s 18th-place ranking. The capital city, often associated with abundant opportunities, falls short in terms of fostering multilingualism among its younger population. With only six multilingual or international schools for every 10,000 children, the city’s offerings are surprisingly limited. This is especially astonishing considering that the capital’s residents exhibit a strong appetite for language learning, with Google searches for “learn [foreign language]” exceeding 42,000 in 2022.
The research results challenge the perception that larger urban centres offer the best prospects for children’s language development. Sylvia Johnson, an expert in language and intercultural skills at Preply, commented on the findings, “This ranking may surprise those who believed that large urban agglomerations offer the greatest opportunities for the development of the youngest. Meanwhile, smaller towns have not only had a wider range of language schools per child but can also boast the best bilingual institutions in all of Poland.”
Top Three Cities for Multilingual Education
Taking the top spot as the best city for raising multilingual children is Koszalin. The city stands out with an impressive 35 bilingual schools per 10,000 children, each with an average rating of 4.67 out of 5 points. Koszalin’s success in multilingual education underlines the advantage of smaller cities in offering robust language education.
Leszno secured the second position in the ranking. The city attributes its high standing to the presence of 21 bilingual schools per 10,000 children, coupled with remarkable average ratings of 4.96 out of 5. Meanwhile, Radom claimed the third spot, with fewer bilingual schools (20 per 10,000 children) but a remarkable 3.13% of foreigners in the city.
The analysis also revealed that demand for language learning varies significantly among Polish cities. While Łódź and Warsaw residents prefer Spanish, Lublin, Opole, and Szczecin show a stronger inclination toward German. However, regardless of language preference, English remains the dominant choice for parents across all Polish cities, with nearly 92,000 Google searches related to learning English in 2022.
The study showcases the changing linguistic landscape of Poland, where speaking multiple languages is increasingly seen as an avenue to better earnings and establishing international connections. Despite smaller cities’ limited resources, online language learning has emerged as an alternative, proving to be just as effective as traditional in-person classes.
Preply’s research presents a paradigm shift in the perception of language education in Poland. While the largest cities may not necessarily offer the best opportunities for multilingual children, the commitment to language learning among Polish parents is undeniable.