The Benefits of Speaking French
French may be known as a beautiful language, but really, is it worth learning?
In a word…. ABSO—f***ing—LUTELY
So you started learning a little French and can’t master the accent? Has someone possibly told you that there’s no point in speaking French as it’s “really only in Quebec and France”?
Well, this is a tough language to learn, there’s no doubt about it… but don’t give up on it just yet. If you head out travelling you will find many places where it comes in useful.
French speaking nations
Now, it must be stated that France is a phenomenal country itself, mixing chic modern culture, with interesting medieval history and some relics that date all the way back to the dawn of man. And one little tidbit, you’re not getting by in France by speaking English. Oh you’ll get by in Paris just fine… but after that, you’re going to be shocked how the country with the most tourism in the world (yes, it’s #1 for tourism) doesn’t cater too well to English (or sleeping on bike paths).
There are a few other countries in Europe, and obviously Canada that speak it as well… but stepping away from that let’s look at the true adventure.
The Adventurous French-Speaking Nations
There’s French in Africa?
Well yes, this huge continent of wonder and intrigue that is the motherland of us all is packed with countries that list French as an official language. If you head down the west coast you’re basically going from country to country to country that all speak French, the list is exhausting and includes: both Congos, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Senegal, Mali, etc.
Africa not your style? Maybe you prefer island nations. Well the French have foreseen such a demand and thus have installed little outposts circling the globe. Start in Madagascar, hit Reunion, and then the Comoros before heading to the Seychelles. From there find your way to New Caledonia, hit French Polynesia, up to Haiti… you get the point.
There’s always Corsica to hit in the mediterranean and even a little French outpost in the Antarctic. Oh yes, the French have gotten around, so don’t blindly accept that notion that French is really ‘only in France and Quebec’
Now here’s something funny that you’ll realize travelling around the world… even where the French don’t claim to be, they are! French (who don’t claim to travel much) seem to somehow or another have a presence in almost every country in the world.
You’ll find that your French will come in handy in odd places such as Portugal or Spain, but after all they’re close to France so what’s the surprise? Well how about places like Thailand, yep, you’ll find it there… and even India, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras and Ecuador will provide you with opportunities to practice it and even provide certain opportunities where it’s of much use.
In your travels you are going to find 5 languages incredibly useful for speaking to other tourists: English, French, German, Spanish, Russian (in that order).
French is tough… I won’t lie, I still struggle quite a bit and my accent is laughable. But keep persevering. One of the most amazing things that you’ll find is that when you speak French, 95% of French stereotypes just fall off the map. (Check out to see how 5 of the most common stereotypes hold up).
You will find the French incredibly friendly, hospitable and humble… but you have to be able to communicate with them.
If you’re looking to learn a second language, I would have to suggest Spanish before French for the reasons I listed here and if you’re wondering about how to go about learning a new language, here’s the 5 step process that I use.
But after you pick up some Spanish, come back to French. Learning to speak French will certainly help you in your worldwide travels.
If you’ve already learned to speak both Spanish and French, take a look at how to choose which language to learn next.