French is one of the Romance languages and has historical roots in old prominent languages in Europe such as Latin and the language of ancient Romans.
In today’s era, there are over 275 million French speakers in the world. In the US, one in five people speaks it. In Canada, 22.8% of its population speak it (as of 2016), especially in Quebec.
Aside from its native speakers, many students in different parts of the world prefer to study French. After English, it is the second most studied language in the world. In fact, there are around 120 million students worldwide learning it.
Aside from the big number of people speaking and learning French, here are more reasons why you should study French.
It is Useful for Business
Imagine having a possible market of 275 million people worldwide.
ABC News listed French as one of the most useful languages for business after English and Mandarin Chinese. This is due to the number of French speakers in the world, and the number of countries listing it as an official language.
Because of this, it is also more likely that students who can speak French have higher chances of getting employed in many multinational companies and countries that list French as an official language.
Language of Diplomacy
French is a language of diplomacy. Thus, for students who are planning to work in humanitarian organizations, the government, and other international organizations, learning French is a good way to boost their potential in future careers.
In Switzerland, home to many international organization headquarters such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and many UN offices, French is an official language, along with German, Italian, and Romansh.
Moreover, other organizations aside from the UN such as NATO, UNESCO, and the European Union recognize French as an official language.
With 275 million people speaking it, and 29 countries listing it as an official language, you are sure to meet other French-speaking individuals when traveling around the world. Plus, those people are not limited to Europe and Canada. In fact, many people in Africa speak French, albeit being predominantly a second language. In Asia, you can also hear some traces of French in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
Why Study it in France?
In today’s world, studying a new language, wherever you are, is easier due to the internet and technology. But despite these advancements, one of the best ways to learn a new language is still by going to the language’s country of origin and hearing it spoken by native speakers.
When you hear French spoken more often, and talk to the native speakers regularly, it makes learning faster and more efficient. Surely, this beats studying it on your own or with the help of books or apps.
Also, by talking with native French speakers and experiencing the culture itself, it is easier to understand some nuances of the language.
Aside from the chance to study French, international students also have the chance to experience a lot of activities in France, especially in the summer. To learn more, check out MSM Unify’s article on An International Student’s Guide to Summer in France.