French is an official language in 29 countries of the world. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and many international organizations. According to France’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 77 million people in Europe are native French speakers. Outside of France, the highest numbers of French speakers are found in Belgium, Switzerland Luxembourg, and Francophone Africa. In North America, French is spoken by some peoples in the Quebec province of Canada, the state of Maine, and the Acadiana region of Louisiana.
In the College of Arts & Sciences, French is one of 12 foreign languages taught by faculty in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Undergraduates learn from native speakers, benefit from innovative Web-based programs where they interact directly with fellow students in other countries, and study with professors who have written some of the books that are used in the courses.
The Department sponsors active student exchange programs in France; a French Club; a Summer Abroad program in Mulhouse and Tours, France; numerous French conferences, film festivals, plays, and other activities. Students may even apply to live in the French House on campus, where upperclassmen can participate in a cultural immersion experience without having to leave the country. Numerous scholarships are available for study in France or other French-speaking countries.
Successful completion of the French language program leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree in French.
Good jobs are available for French speakers in many governmental and nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and numerous international organizations, such as the UN, the World Health Organization, and Doctors without Borders, to name a few. There are also employment opportunities in teaching, translating, editing/proofreading, travel/tourism/hospitality, and the Foreign Service.
For additional information, contact: