Learning French abroad is not only an opportunity to spread your charm pour le monde. This is one of the leading languages for communication and international relations around the world – to the Olympic Committee, United Nations, UNESCO and FIFA, French is crucial – and the second most widely learned language after English.
From Asterix and Napoleon to Marie Curie and Zidane... who doesn't have a French-speaking idol? French is spoken as a first or second language by over 200 million people, spread over all five continents.
Who never dreamed of skiing in the Canadian mountains or crossing the Seine to the sound of La Vie en Rose? Edu-Inter, French school in Quebec City, Canada, gives you ten reasons to make a French course abroad.
1. You can communicate with French speakers around the world
Official language in 32 countries and governments worldwide, French is taught as a foreign language in every country, a status only shared with English. To learn French is to have the chance to communicate with over 200 million speakers from five continents who have it as their first or second language, and to practice your Français with almost 10 million people in Canada and around 2 million in the United States. Online, French is often classified among the top five languages in terms of number of webpages.
2. You can boost your academic skills
By learning French, you are also improving your English. How? Because a great part of the English vocabulary actually derives, not directly from Latin, but from French. Besides enriching language usage in English in many domains, e.g., legal, political, artistic, culinary and engineering terms, studying French also stimulates brain function and memory, improving creative and critical thinking thanks to its Cartesian logic.
3. You can become proficient more quickly than with most world languages
The French is among the languages requiring the least amount of instructional hours in order for an English speaker to reach a high level of speaking proficiency, according to the Defense Language Institute: for a mature learner, it takes about 720 hours to achieve an advanced level, against 1000 hours for a basic level of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Moreover, if you have any knowledge in Portuguese, Spanish or Italian, French is a clever step due to their common roots in the Latin language.
4. You can increase options for undergraduate and graduate studies
Knowing French, we tend to learn other languages more easily, but not only that: this is another open door for further studies in other areas in a country official French language, which is indeed what many learners of French end up doing.
5. You can connect your future to cutting-edge fields in science and technology
From video games and high-speed rail services to HIV virus research and reconstructive surgery, French-speaking countries have been at the forefront of technology, science, medicine and even business. Have you ever got stuck accessing an essay, written in French, because there was no proper English translation available? Here is another reason to learn French: to access good content from important Francophone researchers. Plus, most graduate schools require knowledge of at least one foreign language, and French is a common choice for many fields of study.
6. You can invest in your career
Look at the amount of areas in which French speakers are in constant demand: banking and finance, international market analysis, diplomacy, hotel management, international trade, journalism and media, aviation, national security, education, translation and interpretation, health care, customer service, tourism, and law enforcement. Because English is increasingly widespread in society, knowing French can be a great bonus on your resume when applying for a job. You don’t even have to think a lot to find possible employers and well-known French-owned companies: L'Oreal, BIC, Atari, Chanel, Lacoste, Michelin...
7. You can enjoy special leisure-time activities
Canadian and French film production – which ranks number 2 in the world - have been recognized worldwide and, actually, half of the foreign films watched and 30% of the foreign books published in the United States are in French. Watching the Olympics, surely you have noticed that the results and competitions are also announced in French, right? French is an official language of the event and, if you are a sports lover, knowing French is an advantage to follow your favorite athletes and competitions: Tour de France’ cyclists, Roland Garros’ tennis players or even the Canadian teams on their baseball and hockey matches.
8. You can benefit more from travel experiences
Only in the Americas, more than 33 million people know French - some of the most popular destinations include Quebec, New Brunswick, St. Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Guyana and Louisiana. France is indeed the most visited country in the world, with 75 million visitors a year, but every continent offers French-speaking destinations, and everything can be enjoyed more when we can communicate with the natives in their own language, don’t you agree?
9. You can enrich your appreciation of influential cultural contributions of the French-speaking world
There are worldly known and successful Francophone people of which most of us have heard (at least), especially artistically speaking - music, painting, sculpture, film, photography, theater, dance, architecture and, of course, cooking and fashion. From Tintin and Asterix’ comics to football stars like Zidane and notable medical researchers like Marie Curie, who has never had a sudden desire to go abroad and learn French after that movie with Marion Cotillard, that song that played on the radio, that show from Cirque du Soleil? You were not the only one...
10. You can understand a variety of world perspectives
French is spoken in more than 56 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Knowing French enables you to understand cultural diversity which will enhance your competitive advantage abroad. If you want to study international affairs, volunteer or work in social causes, know that many humanitarian agencies and international organizations also use French as an official or working language, including United Nations, NATO, European Union, Doctors without Borders and Amnesty International, among many others.
So, have you decided when you'll be saying au revoir to your country and study a French course in Canada?
If you already know French and prefer to study a different course abroad, check out these options: