So you want to learn French, eh? Why not study abroad closer to home than you think? The main trading partner of the U.S. is Canada, so why not go to Quebec to learn French? If you are worried about budgeting for Europe, Quebec is a cheaper option for language study as well as a new cultural experience close to home. Quebec offers the ritual heritage of the original French settlers of Canada who still have close ties to France.
Read the guide on this page written by Go Overseas experts, just for you! Then choose a French language program in Canada from the list below. You'll be well on your way to French fluency!
Because Canada has universities similar to the U.S. the semesters run very similarly and it also offers the opportunity for credits to transfer more easily. The diversity of the programs can run as regular language programs for college credit, certification for language study, certification to teach French as a foreign language, cultural classes, and many more options!
University Program Types
- ILSC-Montreal is a school that offers many different types of French programs. Want to learn French for business? They have a class for that as well as specific skills training. They have options for homestays, evening/night courses, and internships. ILSC offers many teacher-led activities in which you can participate in such as outdoor weekend excursions such as camping, skiing, or weekday movie nights or a trip to see a hockey game. Students can begin any Monday they choose and end their program whenever they like, leaving lots of flexibility to these programs. For Full-time intensive schedules, classes range from $360 per week. The longer you study, the cheaper the fee is per week. Students must be 16 years of age or older.
- The Université du Québec à Chicoutimi’s school for French language and Québécoise culture offer semester and summer programs for learning French as a second language. For a 12-week French immersion program from September to November, the cost is around $7,127 (USD) and is worth about 12 credit hours. This is an option for many. Housing on campus or with a Francophone family is possible. For off the beaten path francophone immersion, this would be a good choice.
- The University of Montreal offers French as a second language and a certificate in French as a Second Language. They offer a variety of different classes that are accredited, making university credit more easily transferable. Students have the option of on-campus accommodations.
- McGill University in Montreal offers French as a Second Language course for independent students outside of their university. They offer a variety of courses in the summer and during the school year.
If you're not enrolled in a university or are just interested in taking a few weeks or months to dive deeper into the French language, taking courses at a language school in Canada may be a better option. Language centers can be more intimate and provide more personalized attention to improve your French abilities.
If you plan to intern, teach, or volunteer in Canada at the same time as learning French, language schools also offer more flexible options such as afternoon or evening lessons. This is a great way to immerse yourself fully into Canadian life. Many times these programs also coordinate cultural activities, providing opportunities to practice your newly acquired French skills with fellow students, make new friends, and experience what makes Canada unique.
Where to Learn French in Canada
- Quebec City is the capital of the province and houses the former citadel of the British when they occupied the city.
- Montreal is the largest city in Quebec and was named “Canada’s Cultural Capital” by Monocle. It is also a UNESCO City of Design.
- Practice French in the second most populated province in Canada.
- The word Québec is from an Algonquin word, which means "it narrows" referring to the narrowing of the St. Lawrence river near Québec City.
- The people of this province are referred to as the “Québécois.” Pronounced ka-bec-kwa.
Cultural Immersions & Extracurricular Activities
Montreal is known as the “capital of festivals” with the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal International Fireworks Competition, Just for Laughs festival, and the World Film Festival. Quebec City’s Winter Carnival and Mardi Gras bring the James’ Bond Ice Hotel to life being constructed anew each year. The carnival also includes canoe races in the iced-over St. Lawrence River.
Cost of Living in Canada
Depending on the city you choose and whether you live in the downtown or in the suburbs will help determine your living costs in Canada while studying French. A one-bedroom apartment in a Canadian city center will cost about $900 - $1,000 per month. You can bring down the housing costs by having a roommate--for example, a classmate from your French language course. Because Canada is such an expansive country, costs can change between cities and provinces.
Why Learn French in Canada?
There are many benefits to studying French in Canada over another Francophone destination. If you are tight on a budget for flying overseas, Canada might be a more affordable option for studying French. It still provides the opportunity for French language immersion and opportunities to explore the beautiful cities and natural landscapes of Canada outside of the classroom. Keep in mind that Québécois French, like any dialect, does have some differences between European French. Quebec also has two great metropolitan cities as well as Toronto not far away.
French Language Programs in Canada
Can I learn French in Canada?
Yes! 80% of people speak French in Quebec, which makes this Canadian province a great place to study French in one of its renowned universities or language schools.
Is Quebec a good place to learn French?
Yes! Quebec is an excellent place to immerse yourself in the French language. It's the official language of the province and has many opportunities for university and language school courses for all levels of French learners.