Why language? Why Canada? These two questions seem to go hand in hand in Brazil. In 2012, over 18,000 Brazilians chose Canada as the place to learn a second language. That’s two thirds of all Brazilians that travelled abroad to learn languages. Why are so many investing in language in Canada? Obviously, languages open doors, and English and French, Canada’s official languages, are considered to be among the most important languages in the business, education, research, and diplomatic and political spheres. Brazil will experience this bilingualism first hand as the host of the world’s most important sporting events, the World Cup and the Olympic Games, both of which count English and French as official languages.
Each time I travel to Brazil, the growth in the country is increasingly palpable, fuelled by an appetite to learn, to expand, and to contribute to the internationalization movement that is so important to both our countries. The growth in educational, research, business, and cultural exchanges between our countries is evident – and all of it supported by learning languages. So, one reason to learn English and French is to be part of, and contribute to that growth.
A second reason is more personal, because learning a second language supports your personal development. Learning a language is one of the best ways to stimulate your brain functions. Research has shown that people who speak more than one language score better in tests (especially in math, reading, and vocabulary), are better at multitasking, improve their memory, delay Alzheimer’s and dementia, improve decision-making, and become more perceptive. But perhaps one of the best reasons for learning another language is that research show it improves your mother tongue. That’s right – English Canadians who learn French (or another language) usually know their first language better than those that speak only English, and the same for French Canadians, and for Brazilians. In a way, learning another language is a way to honour our mother tongue.
I like to think of Canada as a language capital of the world. Language is so important to the country that it is part of our constitution and of our laws. Perhaps even more importantly, bilingualism and multiculturalism are so much a fabric of our country that we fight about language, we joke about language, and we invest in language. When you come to Canada, you are stepping into a country that honours language. One way of appreciating the quality of language education in Canada is through examining what the Canadian language education sector supports. Canada is renowned for research, has the highest score in education for English and French speaking nations (OECD), a solid economy, a high standard of living, and a stable political situation supported by one of the most respected legal systems in the world. The linguistic proficiency required to support and maintain such a successful system has to be of great quality. That is the reason why Canadian universities and colleges, considered among the top in the world, ask for such high English and French language level requirements.
So if you are ready to expand your horizons through language and see Canada as a great place to learn English and French, how do you find the best program for you? First of all, make sure you choose a Languages Canada member, the experts in language education who received over 145,000 students in 2012. These are the only programs that are accredited by an independent body and that are governed by the Languages Canada Quality Assurance Scheme – ensuring that all student tuitions are protected – and all programs are inspected regularly. With 204 member programs across Canada, you can choose what best suits you: Big city, small town, or countryside? English / French for academic purposes, for business, or for fun? Junior, youth, or adult programs? University, college, or private school? English? French? Both? Two weeks or 12 months or anything in between? It is even easier through the search engine on the Languages Canada website, just select your preferences and click on submit.
If you have any questions it’s easy to send them through our website at http://www.languagescanada.ca/en/contact-us. We look forward to responding and hope to see you in Canada!