Why do the governments using language X of expatriates not subsidize/fund X language education for their expatriate's children?

If they want to make their expatriates and the children to return, they would make it feasible for their children to return without a language and resulting cultural barrier. If they do not return, this lack of subsidy would encourage a brain-drain?

  • 2
    Is there a reason to think countries care about expatriates returning?
    – Joe W
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 22:56
  • 3
    Your premise is that subsidizing people living abroad will prevent a brain-drain?
    – qwr
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 1:02
  • Why say the don't? Many countries hold language and culture courses abroad, with expectations that some expats would also attend. I studied Korean for free that way.
    – alamar
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 11:42

3 Answers 3


Why would a government want to fund the education of people living in another country?

If an expat has plans to return to their home country, they'll likely be making sure they teach their kids to speak the language. This likely won't require tutoring since it will be spoken at home anyway.

If they have no plans to return, so don't bother teaching their kids their native language, then why would the country waste the money on teaching them it? At that point, the question may as well become "Why don't countries fund the teaching of their language abroad?".

  • The Japanese has no 100% alphabetic and they can't be learned phonetically. No one runs in katakana.
    – Coo
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 1:11
  • In the specific case of Japan, the government does provide for language learning resources for parents to teach written Japanese to their children.
    – James K
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 7:23

First, the expats are not paying taxes, making that burden on residents of country X for uncertain returns (much as diasporas can often benefit countries).

Second, the difficulty and cost of delivering general education in a foreign country, across income levels. Would Ethiopian taxpayers be able to fund Ethiopian language schools in Sweden, for example? Would Sweden taxpayers have to set up Swedish-language schools in Ethiopia from scratch?

Third, there are cultural/promotional initiatives that are funded by, wealthy-enough, nations in foreign countries which could potentially be extended to language facilitation for their expats (but which are not intended for general education). France runs Alliance Francaise, Germany has Deutsches Haus(?). I believe China has something similar too. But those are usually only found in big cities.

  • The German institue is called Goethe-Institut, the Chinese one is called Confucius Institute. See here for a list of comparable organisations worldwide.
    – ccprog
    Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 13:02

Because they're unlikely to return. Rich people emmigrate due to high taxes, and poor people emmigrate dues to bad working conditions. In both cases, the country is unlikely to improve very soon. Because if it was, people would have hope and never leave it.

  • Unfortunately this was flagged as the correct answer, but it is utterly incorrect. There are a lot of employees of multinational companies who are sent abroad for temporary periods. Sometimes to train the local employees, sometimes to manage or organise the communication with remote subsidiaries. If they are citizens of a developed country they are very likely to send their children to a private school for foreigners. Mostly schools where the education is in French or English and their children are very likely to be educated alongside children of diplomatic personnel.
    – FluidCode
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 11:50
  • Hm... for me expat is a person choosing a better country. Not merely a corporate migrant worker that will abandon an otherwise good country for the reason that his boss wants that. You can easily train employees remotely. You can also hire a trainer locally if it's a must. It never occured to me that I could leave a country for years only to satisfy a boss. I would rather change a boss. Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 21:59

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