French or German: Which One Can Take Your Career Further?
So, you’ve finally found the time to take up a new language to boost your career opportunities, but you don’t know which one to study? Then, this article is just for you.
French and German are two of the most important languages in the world today, and they are both great options career-wise. But, which one is better for you specifically?
Below, you will find a detailed guide that will help you make up your mind on whether you should study French or German for business or educational purposes.
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In order to decide what language you should study, you have to consider a number of factors such as:
- What markets will French or German open for me?
- How many speakers do these languages have?
- How strong are the economies of the countries where French and German are spoken?
Otherwise, you would be choosing blindly. Want to make an informed choice that you won’t regret in the future? Then, let’s delve into these questions.
If you predominantly want to do business in Europe, of course it’s a no-brainer. With 110 million speakers, German is not only spoken in Germany but also in countries like Austria, parts of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, and South Tyrol in northern Italy.
When we see things from a global perspective, however, French seems to be the winner, as it is spoken in more countries both as a primary and a secondary language. An active language on 3 continents, French enjoys official status in Canada, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland, and parts of West and North Africa, which makes it one of the most widespread languages in the world.
In fact, its presence in Africa is so strong that French has become the main or only language of instruction in schools in Benin, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Togo, and Senegal.
So, which one is better for business, French or German? While East, West, and South Africa are all expected to show significant growth in the next few decades, if you’re looking for a language that will give you access to some of the most advanced economies in the world, German is an easy winner. Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland have much more powerful and stable economies than most French-speaking territories.
What is more, the German economy has a brighter outlook than France’s at the moment, something that our French teacher Léa admits to herself. “Although there are more French speakers worldwide,” she adds, “a lot of them are in developing nations,” admitting that German might be the best choice for investors and entrepreneurs.
When deciding whether to study French or German for business, you need to ask yourself a basic question: Can I get by without knowing the official language of the place where I’m going?
If you’re aiming at Germany, the answer is yes. German people are known for their great level of English. When it comes to France, on the other hand, the national foreign language curriculum is surprisingly poor, meaning that the French don’t usually speak or understand English in general.
Germans overall tend to speak English because of their strong national ESL curricula. So, if your choice between French or German is based on the need to use the target language at work, you should definitely go for French. Since only 20% of French people speak English, you’re facing an uphill battle when it comes to working in France unless you learn the official language.
Though we said we would focus on the usefulness of French and German, we can’t ignore the fact that some people will still make their choice based on the difficulties involved. After all, if you want to learn a language to boost your career, you need to weigh in how long it will take you to learn it. So, which one is easier, French or German?
Without a doubt, the short answer is that German is much more difficult. French is a highly structured language with predictable rules and verb tenses. Though there are indeed a number of exceptions to the rules, exceptions are an expected part of the process and they are quite easy to pick.
German, on the other hand, is a beast of a language, with more subjects, conjugations, tenses, and moods than French (or most other languages for that matter), whose rules are somewhat random.
So, all in all, which language is better for you? Let’s break down the answer below so you can choose the most suitable options for your needs.
|Access to international markets||Very strong in Europe.||More global than German
Present in three continents: North America, Europe and Africa.
|Access to strong markets||Allows you to do business in some of the most stable economies in Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, etc.||Allows you to do business in smaller but ever-growing markets like West Africa, plus some important European economies, like France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Switzerland.|
|Do you actually need French or German for business?||Knowing German is a great asset, but you can get by with English in most German companies.||The French are less willing to speak English at the workplace, so you must learn their language if you want to do business in France.|
|French or German: Which one is easier?||A complex case system, 3 grammatical genders and lots of conjugations make German very challenging.||French grammatical rules are more straightforward and predictable.|
If you want to take your career to the next level by studying in a prestigious foreign university, both France and Germany have a lot to offer. But which one is cheaper? Let’s take a look.
So, you want to pursue a Master’s degree but you’re still in debt from your Bachelor studies? Germany not only boasts one of the best education systems in the world but it also offers free tuition for international students. And we are not talking about small community colleges! We are talking about prestigious universities like Humboldt University, the Technical University, and the Free University of Berlin. Even in universities that do not offer free education to all students, outstanding candidates from different countries can still get a fully-funded or partially-funded scholarship.
For example, the Fully-Funded DAAD-ACEH International Scholarship of Excellence
offers support to young scientists and academics so that they can carry out research or work on a scientific project at a state-recognized German institution.
Similarly, in 2021, the Berlin Institute of Technology invited international aspirants to apply for grants for both undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
France may not be as welcoming with international candidates as Germany, but foreign students may be surprised to hear they can also study in France at a very low cost, regardless of their country of origin. While university fees do exist at public universities in France, they’re very affordable compared with those charged in other European countries, amounting to just US$190 per year at undergraduate level for EU/EEA/Swiss students and ~US$3,065 for students of other nationalities.
With more than 30 French universities ranked among the Top Universities by QS World Rankings, it is clear that the higher education system in France is one of the best in the world. But to be honest, that is true for both France and Germany. While Fashion Design, Management, Natural & Pure Sciences, and Fine Arts are some of the best programs to be studied in France, German universities are known for their courses on Engineering, Humanities, and Maths, and Computer Science.
In fact, according to the QS World Rankings, Germany has 46 of its universities featured among the top institutions in the world, a remarkable position for its higher education sector. The two hot spots of academic excellence are Munich and Berlin, while the best French universities are situated in Paris and Lyon.
While both countries provide great opportunities for international students, let us not forget that this article is supposed to help you choose whether to study French or German for business purposes. So, is it possible to study and work at the same time?
Yes. Both France and Germany allow foreign students to work for 20 hours a week during term-time, and full time between semesters. However, the idea is that students should only work in order to finance their studies, and that academic achievement remains their priority.
You still can’t decide whether to study French or German? Well, we are here to make things even harder for you. As it happens, both countries offer networking opportunities for international students. In Germany, you are allowed to stay up to 24 months after graduation, the exact period being determined by the level of your studies. In France, you can stay up to 18 months based on the same criteria.
|Price of universities||Free tuition||Low cost tuition|
|Academic reputation||46 Institutions among the Top Universities by QS World Rankings||30 Institutions among the Top Universities by QS World Rankings|
|Part-time work opportunities||20 hours a week||20 hours a week|
|Stay after graduation||Up to 24 months||Up to 18 months|
As you can see, when it comes to furthering your career, both German and French have advantages and disadvantages. In the end, which one you choose will depend on where you want to go and what you want to do. If you plan to study abroad, however, it is evident that learning German offers slightly better opportunities than French.
Luckily, you don’t have to make up your mind just yet. If you contact us now, we can offer you a free trial lesson in either French or German so you can get a taste of the language first and see how you feel. Bear in mind that we’re not talking about pre-recorded video lessons here, we are talking about live classes with native teachers! Reach out to us now and discover for yourself whether German is really better for you than French!
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