Travelling abroad to a country where no one can speak your language is intimidating at the best of times, but when you’re travelling to get a potentially life-changing procedure, the ability to communicate is a comforting factor. Well, there’s good news for French speakers, there are four great countries with fantastic healthcare that have a huge French-speaking population to help you get around pre and post-procedure.
Canada has the biggest population of French speakers outside France itself, with 60 million native speakers it would be hard to be lost in translation. France was the first country to colonise areas of Northern America and wasn’t cooperative with the British colonisers that joined them later. Even with the British arriving, the population of the French vastly outnumbered the British, causing language confusion and conflict. At this time, depending on where you went or who you spoke to, the national language of the country would differ. Because of this, The Quebec Act was created to ensure the French retained their language and culture in Quebec, leading to the province having the official language still to this day as French.
The Jewish General Hospital has recently been voted the best hospital in Quebec due to being “tireless in its efforts to provide patient-centred care that is instilled with compassion and attention to the emotional needs of patients and their families1.
Unsurprisingly, Belgium has a good portion of its population speaking French when it is so close to the country. Belgium has an unfortunate position of being surrounded by invading countries that claimed their official language several times in modern history. While Dutch/Flemish is the most widely spoken, there are still an approximated 4 million native French speakers to be found in the country.
The hospital UZ Leuven - Campus Gasthuisberg managed to reach the top 100 World's Best Smart Hospitals in 2021 due to its specialised care and innovative treatments.
Much like Belgium, Luxembourg has had a turbulent history with invasions leading to the language frequently changing between German and French until achieving independence in 1890. However, during the World Wars, it was re-occupied by the Germans which meant Luxembourg’s official languages were initially German and French. It’s only in modern history that Luxembourgish became the official national language leading the country to have three sanctioned languages of Luxembourgish, German and French. An impressive 98% of the population speaks French as it is the one language the majority of the population have in common.
Those with sports injuries often visit the Luxembourg Institute of Research in Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine and Science due to its advanced research centres and Olympic athletes they’ve treated in the past.
Luckily for Switzerland, their French language doesn’t come from invasions or wars, just from its proximity to France. French literature also brought about this linguistic change in the country, it was much easier to learn the language rather than find a translation in the 15th century! Switzerland is easy to travel to from most countries and provides luxury five-star hotels and hundreds of spas. You will find that a lot of the top hospitals and clinics will have relationships with these hotels and spas and offer discounts when booking there.
Switzerland is known for their superb medical research and the multitude of specialist clinics all over the country. The Swiss Hospital Association holds around 300 different hospitals and enthusiastically supports medical tourists coming into the country.
So, if you’re communication preference is French, you have a large selection of where to go to get your treatment done as comfortably as possible.