According to a report by Le Monde on June 2, data from the French Higher Education Agency shows that Canada has surpassed Belgium to become the most popular study destination for French young people. In the past 13 years, the number of French students studying in Canadian universities has increased by 3.56 times. A total of 17,030 French students were enrolled in Canadian higher education institutions in 2018.
Most French students studying in Canada go to universities in Quebec. French students at Université de Québec-Montreal and Université de Montréal each make up half of the total foreign students at both universities. France is also McGill University’s third largest source of international students, after the United States and China.
Proximity, vice-chancellor of the University of Québec-Montreal, said that language and cultural proximity are the main factors behind French students’ willingness to move to North America for a different study environment. In addition, tuition fees at universities in Quebec are very attractive compared to North American or British universities: French students at undergraduate level pay the same tuition fees as students in other Canadian provinces. Good job prospects are also one of the reasons that attract young French people to study in Quebec. In April 2022, the unemployment rate in Quebec was 3.9 per cent, the lowest since 1976, compared with 5.2 per cent in Canada. Some universities also have consultants to help foreign students with the legal procedures to stay in the country after graduation.