If you're wondering whether you should study A-Level French, then this post provides a good overview of all the benefits of learning the language. It explores the skills you'll learn, the travel opportunities that will be available to you and the career options that you'll have from being able to speak the language.
If you have a talent for learning languages, then you might want to consider studying French at A-Level. With our world becoming more globalised by the day, the ability to speak another language, even if only to A-Level, can open up many doors in your career and academic life.
French is A Key Global Language
French is spoken by 74 million people across the world, notably in France and former French territories. Being able to speak French can provide you with travel and work opportunities. In fact, according to the British Council’s 2013 report ‘Languages for the Future’, 49% of UK businesses look for employees who can speak French, meaning studying the language will be a huge asset to your career. With a projected 750 million speakers by 2050, being able to speak the French language is a powerful skill to have.
Gap Year and Travel Opportunities With French
If you’re planning on continuing onto higher education after school, then your knowledge of French will give you the opportunity to take a gap year in various French-speaking countries across the world. Your language skills will also provide you with opportunities to work abroad in summer camps, where you can truly put your language skills to good use.
Studying French at A-Level, not only improves your language skills, but it provides you with insights into France’s history and culture. If you do plan on travelling after school, this knowledge will truly enhance your experience.
Business Advantages With The French Language
With France being one of the UK’s largest European trading partners, French can provide you with a number of career opportunities. As mentioned above, the British Council sees French to be a big asset to UK companies, and post-Brexit it’s likely to continue to grow in importance.
Many French-speaking countries lie in Africa, which is a burgeoning global marketplace. With countries such as Tanzania and Cote D’Ivoire being rich in natural resources, the ability to speak French could allow you to pursue careers related to resources such as gold and petroleum.
The Academic Benefits of Studying French
Besides the travel and work opportunities, studying French provides a range of academic benefits too.
If you’re interested in studying subjects such as Philosophy, Theatre or Literature at university level, then having knowledge of the French language can be beneficial, given its historical associations with these subjects.
What Skills Will I Get from Studying French?
When studying any language, there are four main skills that you will acquire. These are:
Speaking - Knowing how to speak French will allow you to communicate with people in many different countries, and will open up travel opportunities.
Listening – With French listening skills, you’ll be able to watch films and TV shows in the target language, and listen to podcasts. You’ll also be able to understand French speakers, and their style of speech.
Reading – Being able to read in French means that you’ll be able to read books in their original form, as well as newspapers, magazines and online news sites.
Writing – Studying A-Level French will give you the ability to write in the target language in different styles, e.g. essays, articles and emails. You’ll also expand your vocabulary in your native and target language, and be able to interpret road signs, alerts and notices.
What Other Subjects Go with French?
As a Modern Foreign Language, French pairs well with virtually any other European language, such as German or Spanish. If it’s your intention to pursue languages as a career, it would be wise to consider studying French with other languages at A-Level.
Given its cultural history, French also goes well with subjects such as Philosophy, Music and Theatre, and most arts-based study areas. Psychology and History are also subjects you could consider pairing with French.
Which Careers Use French?
The ability to speak another language can be very beneficial when it comes to career opportunities. While there are many jobs where you can use your language skills indirectly, if you want to actively employ it in your work, here are some careers you could consider:
French Teacher or Tutor
If you’re looking to work with young people, and want to pass on your linguistic knowledge, then teaching may be a rewarding career for you. In order to become a qualified French teacher, you’ll need to have a French degree and postgraduate teaching qualification, whereas these aren’t prerequisites for becoming a French tutor.
If you manage to reach a level of French where you can be considered bilingual, then becoming a French translator could be a very interesting career choice for you. As a translator you’ll typically be self-employed, or working on a contracted basis for different companies. You can also choose to specialise in different areas of translation, such as medical or legal translation.
Travel and Tourism
Travelling as part of your career can be an exciting prospect, and A-Level French can open up many opportunities in the travel and tourism sector. For example, you could work as a travel agent, part of airline crew or holiday representative, as all of these jobs look highly upon prospective employees who can speak more than one language.
Due to the rapid growth of the Internet, businesses are now able to sell their products and services to customers all over the world. As a result, there are many marketing and PR jobs that require applicants to be able to speak a second language, and therefore French can be a huge asset. Any career in the communications sector will see a language A-Level as a huge plus, thus French could open up career doors for jobs both at home and internationally.
For more information on why you should study French, take a look at this video from LanguagePod101: