With nearly 200 million speakers and learners, the French language shares with English the huge advantage of being spoken on the five continents.
French language abroad is actively promoted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development through an extensive network of cultural institutions and schools, under the responsibility of the Cooperation and Cultural Action sections of French embassies.
Cultural institutions, including the Instituts Français and Centres Culturels Français offer general and speciality French language courses to foreign people who would like to learn French.
Alliances Françaises, which have the same purpose, are associations under local law whose articles must be approved by the Fondation Alliance Française in Paris. These institutions are managed by either a centrally or locally appointed director.
French children abroad can pursue their schooling in the French curriculum thanks to primary, middle and high schools that are part of the networks of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) or the French Secular Mission (MLF).
French departments have four main areas of study: linguistics, literature, teaching methods and translation. They train most of the French-as-a-foreign-language teachers working abroad.
The Ministry is well aware of the important role these departments play in spreading the French language and culture, and extremely attentive to their evolution.
Teaching and language courses
The 900,000 French teachers around the world are very effective at promoting and spreading the French language abroad.
An ambitious teacher training grant programme has allowed thousands of them to train in France.
Student teacher traineeships abroad
The Ministry offers exchange programmes and student teacher internships abroad so that teachers and future teachers can round off their education. The exchange programme for language assistants helps students to gain experience in teaching their language and culture and to practice the foreign language spoken in the country where they are living.
Long-term internships for students in French-as-a-foreign-language master’s programmes also provide an opportunity to gain experience in their future profession.
Students and future French teachers can consult teaching job opportunities abroad in the Emplois, stages et concours on our website.
For more information:
- The French network across the world
- Fondation Alliance française
- Agence pour l’Enseignement français à l’étranger
- Mission laïque française
- Agence universitaire de la Francophonie
Update : March 2017