If you are committed to learning French, there are ways to make it happen without spending money if you are a Canadian citizen. You might even get paid for learning French while delivering a service like teaching English. There are free courses for newly arrived immigrants by the Quebec government but as a citizen who was born in Canada or landed more than five years ago, you can’t apply for those programs or take advantage of the financial aid. For the methods we go over in this article you don’t need to be an immigrant.
The methods we will be introducing here for learning French are
Some of these would require you to be physically present in Quebec and some of them not. Most of the methods have requirements you need to meet. Read the short description here, and if you find them interesting, follow the links to their official website to learn more about them.
If you live in Montreal, you should definitely visit CSDM in your neighborhood. Such an excellent organization, offering lots of services to Montrealers. Visit them as soon as possible to see which activities they have for you. Sometimes, they even have free services like French conversation classes. These services are different from center to center. You should call them or visit them in person to learn about the details. Here’s a list of the CSDM centers. They also have high quality paid French courses. Here’s the link to CSDM official website.
For those who are working in an office, learning French could be funded by Emploi Quebec. There are a couple of prerequisites to be eligible but the partner language schools help you with that. Normally more than four employees should be participating in each class and the ratio of presence for each student during the semester is very important. Your employer provides the space so the classes take place at your workplace during working hours.
What if I told you that you can live in some part of Quebec or New Brunswick, teach English as a language teacher assistant and learn French doing so. This is a teaching job that helps you start your career in teaching and it gives you the opportunity to learn French from your colleagues and locals.
This nine month program is called Odyssey and is a paid job. You help a teacher 25 hours per week as an English language assistant. Check out the eligibility criteria, application process and more here on this blog post about the Odyssey program where Charmaine explains the details.
Explore is a French-immersion bursary program for Canadian Citizens and permanent residents who are still student or recently graduated. Their is an application and a selection process. If selected, you’ll explore a region of Quebec or New Brunswick and learn French. All the expenses including French class tuition, accommodation, and food are covered by a government bursary. Read more about Explore Bursary Program or visit official Explore website.
Not all free ways of learning French is initiated and organized by the government. There are many language exchange events in Montreal and Quebec happening frequently. Some events like Mundo Lingo happen in bars around the city and some other, organize an event in a different arena every week. Find them on EventBrite, Facebook or Meetup websites and participate as frequently as possible.
Sometimes Montreal and Quebec City language schools organize free or very cheap weekly events you can attend without being their student. For example CLC Montreal, located in downtown area, has a French speaking Tea Time event that is free if you bring cookies to share with everyone.
Giving back is important, helping others is fulfilling. Why not spend our free time helping others and immerse ourselves in a French speaking environment. This method might work better for those who already speak a little bit French and want to gain more fluency and self confidence. It also gives you a valuable edge if you are looking for integrating in the job market in Quebec because you could add the volunteer work on your resume and also you build a network if you’re new here.
Apart from event websites I mentioned earlier in this blog post, there are other websites you could use for language learning. Using apps and YouTube channels are very popular today. You don’t even need to leave the bed to learn a new language. Other great websites like The French Experiment and eLearning French are also offering a range of French lessons for free.
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I am very interested in learning to comfortably speak and read French as a second language
We are naturalized citizens (20 years) and moving to a small city between Gatineau and Montreal. Can you please advise of the ways learning French? Thank you
My husband and I would like to learn communicative French. Could you advise where we could partake in night classes while residing in Halifax NS. Thank you.
At the moment we are not working with any language schools in Halifax. You can always learn French using YouTube channels, apps and other online resources. If you are looking for classes, we recommend that you continue your search on other websites that cover Halifax. Sorry for the inconvenience.