Study Abroad Student Handbook
Canada Canada
Center for Global Education

Why Learn a Language?

Historically, French has had an enormous influence over American society. France was the United States' first ally. French thought played a dominant role among the founders of the United States in the 18th century, and it continues to shape America today through the influence of such intellectual currents as post-structuralism and post-modernism.

In the humanities and the social sciences, many of the most important writings have been written in French. Students and researchers who know French had access to these works for several years before they were translated into English. Many significant works are never translated and remain accessible only to those who know the language.

The U.S. and French speaking countries like Canada share many trade similarities, particularly their global standing as the world's top 2 exporters in 3 very important sectors: defense products, agricultural goods, and services.

Although many languages will be useful in job-hunting, it is important to note that French is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. French, along with English and Spanish is one of the most useful languages in the world.

French is one of the official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the 31-member Council of Europe, the International Red Cross. One example of the importance of French can be seen in a recent listing of international jobs distributed by the U.S. State Department: 111 required or preferred French. Of the various types of professional positions for which international organizations recruit, most required French.

*Please note: The official languages of Canada are English and French. Approximately 60% of the country speaks English, while 23% prefer French. French is most widely spoken in the province of Quebec. Another 17% of Canadians speak languages other than English or French.

Read on – Why Study Abroad and find answers how study abroad can affect your personal growth and career path.

Country Specific
Student Handbooks
TerraDotta logo