Language Schools

The Ultimate Guide to Learning French Abroad

Immerse yourself in a French-speaking country to level-up your language skills!

Whether you’re a beginner or have been studying for several years, the best way to learn French is by immersing yourself in the language and culture. French language courses abroad help you do just that!

French is the official language of 29 countries. Not only does speaking French open many doors to meaningful travel worldwide, but it also means you’ll have tons of destinations to choose from to start your language learning journey. Read on to get the lowdown on how to learn to speak French overseas!

Benefits of learning French abroad

Aside from getting to see an exciting new country and crossing living abroad off your bucket list, what are the benefits of learning French abroad? Here are some of the advantages to consider:

  • Learn through total immersion. Sometimes learners need a little push to engage in their target language. Living in a French-speaking country means you’ll be interacting with the language on a daily basis and you likely won’t be able to fall back on an English safety net. Some experts claim total immersion is the easiest way to learn French. Why not give it a try and see for yourself?
  • Experience and better understand French-speaking cultures. Knowing more about the culture will help your language learning, believe it or not! Culture influences language and understanding cultural references will make it easier to enjoy books and TV in your target language.
  • Meet French-speaking friends. Making new friends is always great and when those friends are French-speaking, it’s an added bonus. Friends who speak the language will not only help you practice but will give you insight into the culture, history, and local events. It will also help you learn conversational French in a natural setting!
  • Improve your accent. French pronunciation can be tricky but hearing French spoken all around you will definitely help you improve your accent. What better way to soak it all in than having a coffee on a sunny terrace surrounded by chatty native speakers?

"Spent almost 2 months in Paris with EF and it was a time well spent during my Gap Year! My French prior to arriving was so basic and I knew almost nothing. At the end, I left Paris being able to have a full convo with any French local. I came back with more knowledge than just the French language."

Karla, EF

Best places to learn French

People sit outside a cafe in Paris.

When you think about learning French abroad, only France may come to mind. While France is certainly a fabulous destination, there are tons of countries to choose from where French is the majority language. Check out some of the best!

  • Paris, France: The City of Lights is an appealing destination for French language students all over the world. A hub of history, culture, and art, Paris has plenty of exciting venues to practice your French while enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of this enchanting city.
  • Nice, France: Located on the French Riviera, Nice is a glamorous destination to level-up your French. If you love beaches, Nice has some of the best in France. Spend your days practicing conversational French lessons that you can put into action over dinner in a restaurant by the sea.
  • Brussels, Belgium: Belgium is an interesting country linguistically, with Flemish predominantly spoken in the north and French in the south. Brussels is officially bilingual, with many speaking both French and Flemish (though the majority lean toward French as the lingua franca). Considered the de facto capital of the EU, you’ll find an international flavor in Brussels with plenty of cool markets where you can grab a hot and delicious Brussels waffle.
  • Montreal, Canada: If you don’t want to go too far from home, the Québec region of Canada has French as an official language. The variety of French spoken here, known as Quebecois, has a distinct rhythm and pronunciation. In Montreal, the province’s largest city, you’ll find gorgeous French colonial architecture and countless parks and gardens to relax in while you study verb conjugations.
  • Geneva, Switzerland: Switzerland is another fascinating multilingual country with 4 official languages: German, Italian, Romansh, and of course, French! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast with a particular interest in hiking or skiing, Switzerland is a great choice for your French learning. Geneva is a particularly breathtaking city set on Lake Geneva that boasts a mountainous backdrop and easy access to nature.
  • Rabat, Morocco: While French is not an official language (those are Arabic and Berber), it is still widely spoken, particularly among academics and professionals and in Rabat, the capital city. There are several immersive French schools in Rabat that are infused with Moroccan culture, and provide a diverse environment to learn about North African politics, art, and history.

Cost of learning French abroad

The cost of learning French abroad varies – the destination, length of time, and number of hours you study a week, and what’s included (housing, meals, excursions) will all factor into the price. That said, some locations will be more affordable than others. For example, language classes in Rabat, Morocco are more cost-effective than doing French lessons abroad in Paris, France.

All things considered, you can expect to spend between $350-$950 USD a week learning French abroad.

How to choose a French language program

Choosing the right French language program abroad doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Follow these steps to break the process down.

1. Identify your needs

Before you start looking for programs, it’s important to know what you need. This will help you narrow down your options which will make it easier to find the perfect one.

Length: How much time do you have to study French abroad? How many classes do you want to attend a week? Length will also impact the overall cost. While you may think longer durations will logically cost more, some language schools and programs give discounts for additional weeks.
📍 Location: The location you choose can be based on many factors. You’ll want to consider things like geography (beaches vs. mountains), cultural interests (French films vs. North African art), and future goals (living in France vs. attending university in Belgium) when narrowing down your options.
🗣️ Level of French: If you’re learning French as a beginner, you’ll probably need a more intensive experience introducing basic grammar and vocabulary to get the most out of your program. Those with more advanced fluency may want to skip the grammar and focus on conversation classes focusing on culture, art, history, and other interesting topics.
📝 Goals: Are you a serious French learner or is language learning more of a hobby? Are you studying French to pass an exam or get into university? What level of fluency do you hope to achieve? Knowing what you want from your program will guide your choice and help you set learning intentions.

2. Search for programs

Lucky for you, GO is a one-stop-shop for all things French language learning abroad! You can search by location, compare programs, and read reviews from real students. Being able to browse programs all in one place will take away a lot of the stress from the overall process.

Improve your French abroad

A woman holding a bag stands on a street in France.

Sure, you can use one of the many language apps for French on your couch or on the bus during your daily commute, but wouldn’t it be much more fun to learn French abroad? Combine immersion study, help from native teachers, and priceless travel opportunities all in one go. Take your French to the next level overseas!