1. Learning one language is not enough
In today’s world, speaking one foreign language is not enough. Students who speak several languages will increase their chances of finding a job, whether at home or abroad. Learning another language enriches the mind and opens up new horizons, both personal and professional.
2. French is, along with English, the only language spoken on all five continents
More than 220 million people speak French on all the five continents. French is a major language of international communication. It is the second most widely learned language after English and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the second most widely taught language after English, and is taught on every continent. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, is made up of 77 member States and governments. France also operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language course for close on a million learners.
3. French is a career asset
The ability to speak both French and English is an advantage for finding a job with the many multinational companies using French as their working language, in a wide range of sectors (retailing, automotive, luxury goods, aeronautics, etc.). France, as the world’s fifth biggest economy, attracts entrepreneurs, researchers and the cream of foreign students.
4. French is an introduction to an incomparable cultural universe
France is often considered the language of culture. A French lesson is a cultural journey into the worlds of fashion, gastronomy, the arts, architecture and science. Learning French also offers access to the works of great French writers such as Victor Hugo or Marcel Proust and famous poets like Charles Baudelaire or Jacques Prévert, in the original text. It means being able to hear the voices of actors Alain Delon or Juliette Binoche, and the pleasure of being able to understand the words of French songs sung by an Édith Piaf or a Charles Aznavour and even sing them yourself.
5. French is an advantage for studying in France
Speaking French opens up opportunities for higher education at some of France’s best-known universities (the Sorbonne, Pierre Marie Curie University, etc.) or elite grandes écoles (HEC, Polytechnique, ESSEC), often on very favourable financial terms. Students with a good level of French may be eligible to apply for a French government grant to enrol on a postgraduate course of their choice in France, leading to an internationally recognised postgraduate degree.
6. French is the language of international relations
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
7. French is a language that opens up the world
After English and German, French is the third most widely used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all over the world and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).
8. French is a language of reasoning and debate
French is an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking. It is the language of great philosophers (Descartes, Sartre and Derrida, among others) and eminent scientists (Pierre and Marie Curie, Pasteur, Georges Charpak, etc.). In learning French, children also learn how to argue a case and present different points of view, valuable skills for discussions and negotiations.
9. French is the language of the enlightenment
French is the language of the universal ideals advocated by the philosophers of the 18th century Enlightenment, who helped to spread the idea of human rights throughout the world.
10. French is a language that is fun to learn
Contrary to popular belief, French is not a difficult language to learn. It is a language that requires a certain precision but is also capable of expressing great subtlety. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable, starting with the first years of school. French also appeals to students because it is a soft, melodious, romantic language.
11. French is a language for learning other languages
French is a good grounding for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) and even English, since over half of modern-day English vocabulary is derived from French.
12. French is a high standard of teaching
French teachers are renowned for their dynamic, inventive approach and high expectations. Since French has a reputation for excellence, students tend to be highly motivated and attain a high level of proficiency. France also plays an active role in providing in-service training for French teachers abroad so that the courses delivered are always of a high standard.
13. French is a creative language
French is often heard on the stage. Teachers like to put on plays in French and involve their students in French-language theatre festivals. Learning French helps children to express themselves and gain self-confidence in front of others. Students also learn French through songs, thanks to the vast repertoire of singers past and present.