Celebrate today the International Francophonie Day!
While the word “Francophonie” may sound like the name of a knock-off Gothic novel monster, it’s actually a term that refers to the diverse geographic regions in which millions of people around the world speak French. Whether you’re part of this French-speaking collective or aspire to learn this beautiful and significant language, take a moment today — International Francophonie Day — to join in celebrating the historic French language.
What is the Francophonie?
French is spoken by 220 million people world-wide, and takes second only to English as the official language of the most countries — 33, to be exact. In the late 1880s, French writer Onésime Reclus first used the term “Francophonie” in reference to the global aggregation of French speakers. The International Agency of Francophony was established in 1970 to promote the French language; 35 years later, it became The International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF). Today, this organization continues to advocate for the unique value of the linguistic and humanist French language across the globe.
What is International Francophonie Day?
International Francophonie Day is celebrated every March 20th in commemoration of the 1970 Niamey Convention, where French-speaking states signed to align their mutual interest. Today, this important occasion celebrates the significance of French in helping diverse people come together toward global peace, understanding and respect between cultures. A staggering half a billion Francophones celebrate their common bond every year on this date.
In 2010, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), established UN French Language Day on the same date in an effort to join in raising awareness about the value of French — and other languages like it — in furthering the UN’s work.
Top 5 Reasons to Study in a Francophone Country
1. You can travel to the 5 continents and speak French.
There’s a reason why French is the world’s second most popularly studied foreign language with 120 million students and half a million instructors. French is one of just two languages spoken on all five continents, with over 220 millions speakers, the planet’s sixth most widely spoken language, and the official language of many international organizations. And because of population growth, French is expected to become even more prevalent; it is predicated to surpass German as Europe’s predominant language by 2025.
2. You will boost your career.
Job prospects across all industries are strong for French speakers. As an international lingua franca, French is a widely used language of international business from trade to global communications. French also boasts a rich history at the forefront of international relations. In addition to learning a new language, French students also gain a new cultural perspective which is highly valued by employers in the 21st century marketplace.
3. You can get a scholarship to study.
An abundance of scholarship opportunities exist for students seeking study opportunities in French-speaking countries. Students with international degrees are in great demand, and funding opportunities from government, institutional and corporate entities support this enterprise. Read more about studying in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, and France.
4. You willl part of some of the world’s best educational institutions.
Some of the world’s best educational institutions can be found in French speaking countries and/or offer a French curriculum. These high academic standards translate to better educational prospects and marketability following graduation. Universities in French-speaking countries garner high world rankings from agriculture to computer technology and everything in between.
5. You will immerse yourself in dozens of various cultures with just one language.
Part of learning a new language is immersing yourself in the culture of a new and exciting region. French-speaking countries offer a variety of flavors of culture — from bustling cities with world-class arts, entertainment, dining and shopping to some of the world’s most magnificent natural scenery.