French as a Second Language, or FSL, is a great reason for international students to study in Canada. French is one of Canada's two official languages and is particularly important for any student who wishes to study in the French-speaking province of Québec. In addition, French language skills are a great advantage anywhere else in Canada, as well as around the world. French is commonly spoken in over thirty countries on five continents, and a knowledge of French therefore opens doors to global travel, education and professional development.
In the province of Québec (including major cities like Montreal and Quebec City), French, rather than English, is the everyday language. From renting an apartment to buying groceries to speaking to a doctor, French is a day-to-day tool. There are many FSL programs and courses available in Quebec that will enable an international student to enjoy the fullest participation in French-speaking Canadian culture. Due to Québec's unique status as the only majority Francophone province in Canada, the provincial government actively promotes and encourages French programs in local colleges, called CEGEPs. These provide FSL services to local students and immigrants, offering both full and part-time studies, as well as specialized instruction to meet specific needs (for instance, speaking, reading, writing, conversation, business French, etc.).
In English-speaking Canada FSL is taught in private language academies and colleges or universities mostly in the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island) and the Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta). Both of these regions have Francophone populations, although smaller than Quebec's.
At the secondary level, French classes are part of the required curriculum across Canada, and in Québec, FSL (called FLS, or Français langue seconde) is offered to students on an individualized basis, with the goal of allowing the student to achieve the highest possible success in their classes.
As a country with two working official languages, Canada is the perfect place for international students to study French as a second language.