They say your school years are the best years of your life – but why?

Though it may seem boring even at the best of times, school is full of opportunity – but it’s up to you to make the most of it!

Whether it’s meeting new people, joining a sports team or learning a new skill, when it comes to finding out who you really are, school is a great place to discover your strengths and weaknesses.

Being able to learn a foreign language is, without a doubt, one of the most important parts of the national curriculum but surprisingly few students are passionate about learning to speak a new language.

In the UK, schools typically offer lessons in French, German or Spanish with French being the most widely-taught language GCSE in the classroom.

But as native speakers of English, aren’t UK schoolchildren wasting their time when everyone speaks English? So why learn French anyway?

Unfortunately, the stereotypical British attitude when it comes to learning languages does have a degree of truth to it – and as numbers of students taking a language at university plummet, the problem is getting worse.

Languages are a valuable asset for anyone. Whether you’re a beginner student or businessperson – but why is it so important to learn them while you’re at school? And why should French be your language of choice?

If you’re a school pupil trying to decide whether learning French is for you, Superprof has ten fantastic reasons to convince you to take up a language course.

1.      Learn Useful New Language Skills

No one can deny the usefulness of knowing how to speak a foreign language which is as widely-spoken as French.

Did you know that there are over 220 million French speakers worldwide?

With France just next door, maintaining good neighbourly relations can only be a good thing!

The skill of being able to speak French can be most useful when you least expect it.

Learning how to speak French is more than a school subject: it's a life skill
Your French conversational skills can turn into negotiating skills ¦ source: Visualhunt

For instance, if you work in a café and some French customers arrive, being able to take their order in French can make their visit all the more pleasant and even reflect well on you as a member of staff.

French is an international language which has made its mark on the world in many ways.

From the technical terms of ballet to borrowed words such as rapport and ensemble, being able to understand the true meaning of words at their origin will only enrich your experience of life.

2.      A Level French is a Valuable Qualification

As your teachers will tell you, languages look great on a CV.

The unique opportunity to gain a GCSE and A level qualification in French for free which is only available at school is not to be passed up.

Even if you’re not 100% fluent, having a French qualification on your job applications will demonstrate a level of self-discipline to employers that is highly prized in the world of work.

A level French is particularly useful when it comes to applying for university, as it gives you the option to take a joint-honours course in your area of interest alongside studying French. This means that once you graduate, you will be fluent - and that makes you a highly attractive employee.

3.      Language Proficiency Helps You Have an International Career

With Brexit on the horizon and the UK soon to be going it alone in the global economy, languages are now more important than ever before.

As a non-native speaker of French, not only will you be able to work for French companies, but you’ll also be incredibly useful to those looking to expand and strengthen their trade links.

So, if you like the sound of a job that lets you travel, learn French could open the door for you!

Our capital city being so global, it's no wonder so many Londoners search for French courses London!

4.      Make New French-Speaking Friends All Over the World

We all know that school is a great place to make new friends – but have you thought about making friends that don’t live in the UK?

Most schools offer language exchange programmes where students a paired with French pupils of the same age and host each other for a week.

Not only do French exchanges give you a good excuse to travel, they also put you in touch with someone in the same situation as you: a school pupil learning a second language.

Make friends with native French speakers
If you ever need a hand with your grammar exercises or oral tests, you’ll have someone to call ¦ source: Pixabay - Melanie Schwolert

By the end of your French exchange, not only will you have improved your language skills, you will also have befriended a native French speaker!

Making new friends isn’t limited to school exchange programmes, either. With knowledge of such a widely-spoken language, you can meet new French-speaking people wherever you go!

5.      Travel Happy and Learn French in France

It goes without saying that knowing how to speak French makes traveling a lot easier – especially if you’re traveling in Europe.

Whether you’re confused about the metro system in Paris or you need directions to the piscine, speaking any level of French will make you a far more confident traveler.

6.      Immerse Yourself in Francophone Culture

France and French-speaking countries have an incredibly rich culture.

The history, architecture, art, and cuisine of the cultures associated with the French language are known all over the world for their prowess.

But can’t you enjoy all of these things without knowing the language?

The answer to this question is yes, of course – except you won’t know what you’re missing out on until you experience French culture in its own language.

Being able to communicate with people who make up a culture in their own language removes the risk of anything being lost in translation.

So, whether you’re talking to locals in French, taking city tours with a French-speaking guide or reading the French descriptions in art galleries, learning about a culture in its own language is always the best way to fully immerse yourself within it.

7.      Make the Most of Your Young Brain

When you’re at school, you’re constantly reminded of the importance of core subjects such as maths and English – so, why worry about learning a second language? Haven’t you got enough on your plate?

Countless studies have shown that the best time to take on a second language is in early adolescence.

People who learn a language before the age of 15 are more likely to be better at pronunciation in their second language than those who learn in adulthood.

There are two main reasons as to why youngsters are more successful at picking up languages:

  • Their brains are wired to do so – children and teens are more inclined to soak up information around them than adults
  • Classrooms provide the optimum environment for learning, with few distractions and plenty of other students to practice with

If you want to reap the rewards of learning a language, the trick is to start early and take advantage of the opportunities at school!

8.      Improve Your Cognitive Function

If you’re interested in studying art or creative writing, studying a language could give you a boost! This is because learning a second language has been shown to increase levels of creativity and even slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Learning French will have far more benefits than you can imagine
Unlock your full potential by learning French ¦ source: Pixabay - Seanbatty

So, learning a language is a bit like a workout for your brain: it makes it stronger, keeps it healthy and it has also been shown to make the brain physically grow in size!

9.      Improve Your Understanding of English and Language Skills

One little-known benefit of learning how to speak French is that it can help you get to know English.

But surely if English is your first language, there is nothing left to understand?

This is another point which you won’t be able to appreciate until you experience it for yourself.

Here are just a couple of ways that learning French can help your English language skills:

  • Vocabulary: As English and French are so closely related thanks to the Norman conquest of 1066, many of our words are rooted in French. This nearly always when you come across an unfamiliar English word – all you have to do is look at it closely for any French roots which might help you to decipher the meaning. For example, let’s take the word ‘pulmonary’. If you’ve never come across this adjective before, but you know that the French word for ‘lung’ is ‘poumon’, you’ll likely be able to figure it out with some context.
  • Grammar: English grammar can be difficult at the best of times but getting to grips with grammatical terms and learning about verb agreements and tenses can be useful whenever you find yourself stuck on the correct way to write a sentence. Your new knowledge of the meaning of noun, adverb and subordinate clause will make understanding grammar rules far easier.

10. Develop Your Communication and Comprehension Skills

Learning to speak French demands a lot of practice, not only in the classroom but in the real world, too.

As daunting as it may be in the beginning to order your first meal in French, throwing yourself in the deep end will work wonders for your self-confidence in any language.

Being able to communicate effectively and confidently is a highly-sought quality by employers which will enable you to find opportunities and make the most of them.

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