Foreign Language Learning Options at GEMS

Dec 13,2023

‘One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way’ - Frank Smith, linguist. Open doors for your children by allowing them to learn at least one other language apart from your native tongue. Our thriving foreign language education programme at GEMS offers your children this precious opportunity.

The Benefits of Bilingual Education

Foreign language education has a profound  impact on children’s education, and it goes beyond knowing how to communicate in another language. >Learning a new language offers the following benefits:

  • Teaches diligence

  • Increases the likelihood of a successful university application

  • Helps children attain academic success

  • Improves cognitive performance

Many studies underscore the benefits of a bilingual education. For instance, a 2020 study (Tsimpli et al.) assessed the impact of knowing more than one language on the performance of disadvantaged children in India. It found that multilingualism improves children’s:

  • Working memory, or their ability to retain information for use in the short-term and store such information for the long-term

  • Fluid intelligence, or their ability to reason and absorb new information

The linguistic environment also matters. Even if children do not speak two languages, just being in an environment with diverse social and language groups can improve fluid intelligence.

GEMS Education: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

We are a world-class private education provider, so if you're looking for foreign language learning options in the UAE, consider a GEMS school

We have over 40 international schools in the United Arab Emirates and even more in other countries. Our international scope and multicultural student body mean GEMS has a thriving multilingual environment.

English Language Education

English is the primary language of instruction at GEMS schools.  However, we  provide ample support for students whose first language is not English, as illustrated by these examples:

  • GEMS Royal Dubai School

GEMS Royal Dubai School offers the English Language Learning (ELL) programme for students who are not native English speakers.

The school creates an individual language plan (ILP) for students to identify specific language targets. These targets drive tailored English language instruction and support sessions.

  • GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail

GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail features a similar programme. The school’s age-appropriate English language learning support and instruction is available to students from the Early Years Foundation Stage until Year 13.

Indeed, at GEMS we embrace linguistic diversity. We tailor our language education approach to our students’ needs and abilities so we can empower them as they explore, learn and strive to achieve their dreams.

Arabic Language Education

Arabic language education is compulsory in the UAE and even children of expat parents studying in international private schools need to study Arabic. This is not as daunting as it sounds, because GEMS schools offer the necessary support to learn Arabic, whatever grade your child may be in.  Compulsory Arabic language education is a practical government initiative. Your children will be spending years in the UAE, so wouldn’t it be better if they can communicate in the country’s language? GEMS Schools offer two Arabic language programmes.


1. Arabic as a First Language Programme

Native Arabic speakers study Arabic as a first language. Students from the UAE and other Arab nations study Arabic for at least 12 years, beginning age six.

British schools typically teach Arabic as a first language from Year 2 until Year 13. That’s from Grade 1 to Grade 12 in American schools. At GEMS Metropole School, Arabic as a first language instruction begins from Reception (i.e., Foundation Stage 2) to Year 12.

2. Arabic as an Additional Language Programme

Non-native Arabic speakers study Arabic as an additional language. Students from non-Arab nations must study Arabic for at least nine years.

Arabic language education for non-Arabs usually spans Years 2-10 at British curriculum schools or grades 1-9 at American curriculum schools. After nine years, non-Arab students may continue to study Arabic if they want.

At GEMS National School Al Barsha, Arabic as an additional language is taught from Year 1 to Year 9. It’s the same at GEMS Metropole School, where Arabic becomes optional from Year 10 onwards.

Foreign Languages at GEMS Schools GEMS schools have comprehensive language programmes. We strive to cater to our students’ individual abilities and interests. Consequently, we offer a wide selection of foreign languages. Your children are sure to find an option that interests them from our extensive language portfolio. French and Spanish Most GEMS schools offer French and Spanish as foreign language options. They are particularly common among our International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum schools.

Refer to this list of schools in the UAE to find our IB curriculum schools that provide French and Spanish language education.

These are a couple of GEMS schools with French and Spanish language options:

  • GEMS International School Al Khail

GEMS International School Al Khail offers French, Spanish and 58 other languages!

  • GEMS First Point School

GEMS First Point School, one of our British curriculum schools in Dubai, offers French and Spanish language education structured the following way:

  • French from Year 3 until Year 6

  • Spanish from Year 6

  • Specialisation in either French or Spanish from 7 to Year 9

  • Further specialisation in French or Spanish in Years 10 and 11 and even until Year 13, or students may explore other language options.


GEMS First Point’s approach ensures students get excellent GCSE and A-Level grades in French and Spanish.

Mandarin, German and Hindi

Some GEMS schools offer Mandarin and German. Indian curriculum schools also offer Hindi and Malayalam.

GEMS Modern Academy Dubai, a dual Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and IB Curriculum school, offers French, Hindi, Spanish, German, and Malayalam as second language options.

Mother Tongue Language Programme

The preservation of the mother tongue is an integral part of each child’s identity, and therefore schools like  GEMS World Academy Dubai offer an extensive mother tongue language programme. One of the best language schools in the UAE, it has 16 mother-tongue language offerings, including:

  • Arabic
  • Mandarin
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Swedish
  • Hindi
  • German
  • Turkish
  • Korean
  • Dutch
  • Danish
  • Portuguese
  • Hebrew
  • Farsi

The rich language offering at GEMS World Academy reflects the school’s considerable cultural diversity. Specifically, GEMS World Academy has more than 92 nationalities, with no single ethnicity comprising more than 10% of the student population.

Moving Towards a Multilingual Education

The increasingly diverse global landscape and the clear benefits of a bilingual education mean proficiency in more than one language is necessary. At GEMS Education, we understand this even more clearly because of the highly diverse ethnicity of our students and school communities. We have evolved our methods and approach, tailoring our language education according to individual student needs and aligning it to the demands of an increasingly connected world. Consequently, we offer some of the most extensive foreign language options in the country. GEMS Education operates some of the best language schools in the UAE. We offer a richly multicultural and multilingual environment that makes foreign language learning accessible and easy for children from expat families.

Contact us to learn more about our range of foreign language options.