Department of Foreign Languages & Philosophy

French Program

Why Study French

Besides enhancing future travel and enjoyment of the arts, there are many professional reasons to learn French while at the university. To hear what students around the world think about studying French, watch this video made by the French government.

According to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "Throughout the world today, there are a little over 180 million French speakers (whose native or second language is French) and 82.5 million people learn French as a foreign language in their national educational systems, and 650,000 of them, through networks of French cultural and educational overseas bodies."

An excerpt from the Website of the Modern Language Association:

Did you know that studying a second language can improve your skills and grades in math and English and can improve entrance exam scores -- SATs, ACTs, GREs, MCATs, and LSATs? Research has shown that math and verbal SAT scores climb higher with each additional year of foreign language study, which means that the longer you study a foreign language, the stronger your skills become to succeed in school. Studying a foreign language can improve your analytic and interpretive capacities.

From the Website of the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages

Today as a classical singer of over 25 years, I can usefully sing in a number of foreign languages -- Italian, French, German, Russian, Czech, even Ajerbaijani -- but oh, to dream in another language! That would be the fullest measure of language mastery. Bravissimo, ACTFL! Here's my standing ovation for your dedication as "parents" of this big, beautiful, polylinguistic world in fostering not only the sounds of other languages but also the sense, the very soul of them, and all the cultural wonders they bestow upon us as human beings."

While many people maintain that English is the language of choice for conducting international business, it is nevertheless true that learning the language and culture of international business partners is seen as going the extra mile, as making an effort to meet people halfway, and often these little gestures help to strike a business deal or win out over others who haven't made that effort. Knowledge of French in fact prepares students to compete in the global economy and enhances career opportunities in many fields. Without being exhaustive, here are some examples of potential careers and future employers. Pairing a French major with a second major such as Art History, Political Science, English, History, Biology, Business, and Economics makes students more marketable.

French

  • High School French teacher
  • Translator/ Interpreter
  • Linguist
  • Military Translator/Interpreter
  • College Professor
  • Diplomat/ Attach/ Foreign Service Officer, Officer Intelligence Specialist
  • Non Governmental Organization (abroad)
  • Peace Corps

French/English

  • English Instructor Abroad
  • Editor/ Proofreader
  • Book Publishing Professional
  • Journalist: Official Foreign correspondent

French/Arts

  • Opera singer
  • Curator
  • Film/ subtitles writer
  • Organizations in the art & fashion worlds

French/Business

  • Banking and Finance
  • Public Relations
  • Foreign Exchange Trader
  • International Business in Sales & Marketing

French/Legal Studies

  • Court translator/Interpreter
  • International Law
  • Court translator / interpreter

French/Travel & Hospitality

  • Travel agent
  • Hotel positions

French/ Sciences

  • Nurses, Doctors working in emerging countries
  • Parks & Recreation