The Canadian Advantage- Why So Many French Students Opt For Canada


Walk around any one of Montreal’s four university campuses and you can hear them. Even in one of the largest Francophone cities in the world, the accents of French university students cannot be ignored, not only because of the notable contrast to the familiar Quebec accent, but due to the sheer frequency one can hear them. What’s more, Montreal is not alone as this trend extends across the province. According to the Quebec ministry of Education, nearly 9,000 French nationals were in enrolled in Quebec universities in the fall of 2010.

Studying in Quebec offers many advantages for international students, with specific incentives geared toward French students in particular. Most notably, due to the 1978 France-Quebec Agreement French nationals are entitled to enjoy the same tuition rates as their Quebec-born counterparts.

For many students, the francophone province is viewed as the ideal fusion between North America and Europe, awarding students a North American education in a location with a European flare, which the Europhile province is known for. As many French students opt for the bilingual city of Montreal, it seems as though they are seeking to expose themselves to more of the language of Shakespeare while maintaining the option to speak the language of Molière. The flexibility of bilingualism can be found both within academic life, as students in Quebec can submit their work and write in exams in English or French, as well as outside of academic life as both official languages are spoken in most areas of the city.

While Quebec is the most popular destination, it is not the only province hosting large cohorts of French students. The more flexible and pragmatic program structures found in Canadian universities, both in and outside of Quebec, often motivate French students to leave home and journey across the Atlantic. Additionally, the high calibre of education offered by Canadian universities attracts French students who view Canada as a less expensive yet comparable alternative to the United States.

Canadian tuition rates vary by province but are generally viewed as being less expensive than the tuition rates charged by academic institutions in other English-speaking countries. Full-time international students also have the possibility of working on campus without a Canadian work permit and off-campus with a Canadian work permit, to help offset their costs.

International students who wish to stay in Canada after the completion of their studies, have many options available to them which are not available to those who have completed their education outside the country. French-speaking students have an additional advantage as Citizenship and Immigration Canada has recently increased the language proficiency standards required of all Canadian immigration applicants, making any foreign national with a high proficiency in either official language a strong candidate.  

With so many added benefits of completing their studies at a Canadian university, especially in the province of Quebec, French students ought to follow the lead of their older compatriots and consider studying abroad in Canada.

For more information on studying in Canada or for any inquiries concerning Canadian immigration Canada please contact FWCanada and consult with our range of infographics at

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