|Editor||Europe of Many Cultures, Alastair Ross Ed.|
In contemporary Latvia the development of students' cultural identity and receptivity is an issue in the implementation of a policy of multilingualism, which is closely connected to the fundamental economic and social changes in Latvia's active transition towards membership of the European Union and the single European market. Employees' requirements for academic qualifications and foreign language skills have changed considerably, and new standards have been set for learning foreign languages in Latvian schools. The need for individuals to acquire at least three European languages has been emphasised as a major task of education in an EU White Paper (1995). This reflects fundamental processes, such as the internationalisation of professions and work, the globalisation of technologies, and the rapid spread of information. Practical command of a foreign language as an instrument for exchanging information, is no longer sufficient: students need also to acquire cross-cultural communication skills. This paper analyses the acquisition of several languages as the interaction between cultural identity and cultural openness.