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Learning French abroad

With over 220 million people speaking and learning the language, French shares with English the enormous advantage of being spoken on all five continents. French is unusual in that it often exists alongside other languages, even in France, in multilingual contexts.

The French network abroad

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs(French Ministry of Foreign Affairs) promotes the French language abroad through a vast network of cultural and school bodies, under the responsibility of the Cooperation and Cultural Action Services of French Embassies abroad.

Cultural institutions, including the Instituts Français and French Cultural Centres, offer general and specialist French courses for those wishing to learn French.

The Alliance Française schools, which serve the same purpose, are non-profit organisations established under local laws, with articles of association subject to the approval of the Alliance Française Foundation in Paris. They may be run by a director appointed by France, or by a local director.

Schools belonging either to the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) network or that of the Mission Laïque Française (MLF) enable French children living abroad to continue their education in primary, secondary and high school establishments offering the French national curriculum.

University departments of French studies

Departments of French studies engage in four main disciplinary fields in the training of researchers and teachers: linguistics, literature, teaching theory and translation studies. They are responsible for the training of most French teachers abroad.

Illust: Teaching Economics, 118.9 kb, 350x233
Teaching Economics and Political Science (PSPA) in French at the University of Cairo (Photo: MAE / F. de La Mure)

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is well aware of the important role these departments play in disseminating French language and culture, and monitors their development with great care.

Training for the teaching of French around the world

Language and teacher training

The 900,000 French teachers around the world play a key role in promoting and spreading the French language beyond our borders.

Grants for teacher training enable thousands of French teachers to train in France every year.

Internships abroad for teachers

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs also offers qualified and trainee teachers the opportunity to round out their training with foreign exchanges and internships. The programme of foreign language assistant exchanges enables students to gain experience of teaching their language and culture and to gain fluency in the language of their host country.

Long-term internships, open to those studying for a Master’s in French as a foreign language (FFL), also provide an opportunity to gain first-hand professional experience.

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update : september 2012