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French is the world’s 5th most popular language by the number of speakers after Mandarin, English, Spanish and Arabic. Along with English, French is the only language spoken across the world’s five continents. In 2018, 300 million people worldwide (1) were able to express themselves in French. With the projected population increase in Africa in the future, the French language can expect to further strengthen its standing on the international stage.

Our previous article on the Benefits of Bilingualism for Kids (insert link) demonstrated how learning a second language has a positive impact on children’s cognitive and intellectual development. But the benefits of bilingualism are even more far-reaching than your child’s early development. By providing your child the opportunity to learn French at a young age, you are also strengthening and widening their professional opportunities.

Learning French as a child puts you at an advantage in the business world:

  1. The language of international organizations: French and English ​​are consistently listed as official languages ​​of the world’s most influential international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO and the International Court of Justice, and the International Red Cross.
  2. A language for business: Although many large companies adopt English or another language for everyday operations, these same companies often seek French-speaking staff in order to pursue business opportunities in French-speaking countries. Candidates who speak French are therefore at an advantage because of their ability to communicate in French and advance corporate pursuits in French-speaking markets. This being so, a French-speaking candidate will be at a significant advantage in terms of their career choice and salary (2).
  3. A language spoken across 5 continents: The French language is spoken across the world’s five continents. In addition, French is the official language of no less than 75 different countries. In our increasingly globalized world, speaking French is an asset for your child’s future career and professional mobility.

Learning French gives your child more than a second language…
Learning French opens your child not only to a new language but also a new culture. Your child will learn the French language through spelling, vocabulary and the French rules of grammar (and their many exceptions). In addition, your child will discover France’s history, values, traditions, artists and the many other fascinating elements that make up France’s rich culture. Around the world, French is the lingua franca for many sectors such as gastronomy, philosophy, literature, painting, dance, architecture, poetry and more. In this way, knowledge of the French language provides your child with a head-start and deeper understanding of many of the world’s artistic disciplines.

Learning French facilitates study in France
France is one of the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations. Understandably, it is also a very popular destination for international students. With knowledge and understanding of the French language, your child would have the ability to study at reputable French universities such as La Sorbonne, Pierre et Marie Curie University and more. Not as well known outside of France are the country’s “grandes écoles” such as HEC, Polytechnique and ESSEC. These business schools often accept international students at significantly reduced tuition rates. Students who are fluent in French may also, under certain conditions, benefit from French government scholarships to pursue Master’s-level studies in France, obtaining an internationally recognized diploma on completion.

In the 2020 school year, there were 358,000 international students studying in France, making it one of the most popular destinations in the world (3). However, to be able to study in France, international students are required to have a very good existing knowledge of the French language. Knowledge of the language puts students in good standing and mitigates academic difficulties caused by language. When processing international student applications, higher education institutions very often require proof that the student has the language proficiency to enable them to complete courses successfully.

Learning French allows your child to see the world differently!
After English and German, French is the third most commonly used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. Understanding French allows your child a different view of the world. French is an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking. By learning French, children also learn to present arguments and different points of view, skills very useful in analysis and debate. French was the language spoken by some of the world’s greatest philosophers including Descartes, Sartre and Derrida as well as world-renowned scientists Pierre and Marie Curie, Pasteur and Georges Charpak.

Studying French will open up many possibilities for your child. Students who speak several languages ​​will increase their chances in the job market in their own country and internationally. Learning another language leads to a richer life full of new horizons, both personally and professionally.

(1): Observatory of the French language of the International Organization of La Francophonie. 2018
(2): Review of economics and statistics 87. 2015
(3): Source: Project Atlas, 2020