This study investigates different ways of efficiently educating learners to become bi- or multilingual. In the introduction relevant background information concerning the definition of bilingualism is given and related issues are being discussed, such as language learning, language awareness, bilingual instruction and bilingual education models. Human beings are characterised by language, but also by social and cultural tradition. In the context of globalisation pluralism and multiculturalism are common factors affecting even previously isolated communities. Bi- and multilingualism are some of the strategies of adaptation to this reality. It can be assumed, that this development will continue rapidly as the inhabitants of the global village grow in and adapt to this realisation. In countries with a history and tradition of multilingual and bilingual education like South Africa, Canada, Luxembourg and Belgium and also in countries where immigration results in issues of multilingual and bilingual challenging society like in the USA one finds a great variety of answers to these problems posed. The situation in Germany is different, because bilingualism became an issue only fairly recently due to the actual demands brought by the European union. In South Africa the social context determines largely that people are inclined to bi- and multilingualism and the educational system tries to promote this predisposition by means of bi- or multilingual models in schools, so that the learners become efficient facing the bi- and multilingual challenges of their diverse and pluralistic society. In the USA on the other hand the need arises to provide for minority groups, so that they can retain their mother tongue (e.g. Spanish) while becoming fluent in the predominant language (i.e. American). Lastly the new development of the European Union has led Germany to actively promote bi- und multilingual education to aid the integration of Germans in the Union. The various models developed in these countries are studied in the wide variety of their different social and historical contexts. The main part of the study comprises a systematic overview of the various bilingual education models that are being implemented in different countries. These countries include the USA, Canada, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium and lastly and more detailed, South Africa. A number of different circumstances surrounding bi- or multilingualism in the various countries have given rise to a large variety of models attempting to address the challenges posed by the various issues. A number of different goals have been addressed and the results have been just as varied. This leads to a concluding comparison of the western and European models with those of the South African models. Much research has been done on bi- and multilingualism and specifically bilingual education, as humans since earliest times were concerned with this subject. For my study I have relied mainly on more recent sources (1990 to the present) from the USA, Canada and Germany. However as the academic study of this issue has been going on for quite a time in some countries like South Africa, I have also referred to older books and journals (1945<). Due to the overwhelming information about this subject a drastic limitation of sources was necessary.