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French Major and Minor

Why study French at Lake Forest College?

Engaging faculty and student-centered classes

Our faculty in French have areas of expertise in teaching and research which range from francophone literature, cultural studies, music and cinema, to business French, translation, creative writing and pedagogy. Our faculty consider excellence in teaching their primary focus. We adopt an approach that centers on effective communication, and most classes have fewer than twelve students, an ideal size for highly interactive learning. We tie research to teaching, and work with students individually to mentor them for internships, successful graduate study or professional work, and to obtain prestigious grants such as the Fulbright award or to qualify them to participate in the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France).

Strong and diverse curriculum

Lake Forest College provides a strong curriculum designed to address students’ interests, including culturally contextualized writing and conversation courses at beginner to advanced levels, and a wide selection of interactive culture, literature, song and film courses dealing with socio-cultural issues in historical and contemporary France and francophone countries. Pre-professional courses  in  translation, creative writing, film and French for international affairs and business, also link well to a second academic area of interest. Students may acquire additional competency in applied linguistics through departmental offerings in English, e.g. second language acquisition and teaching, or descriptive linguistics.

Opportunities to practice abound

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures employs dedicated student tutors, for extra oral and written practice and assistance to students, and a weekly conversational French Table, as well as cultural events organized on and off campus (global speakers, musicians, cultural sites, films, food, etc.). Events are organized in collaboration with an on-campus Living-Learning Community, as well as student-run groups such as French Club and international language honor society Phi Sigma Iota. Check our Department News section on our webpage (click link above) for more information. While we highly encourage students to take advantage of a summer or semester immersion experience abroad, our ideal small size classes and connections to Chicago for academic excursions (e.g. Lyric Opera, Art Institute…) and internships (e.g. Délégation du Québec, Alliance Française, Consulat de France, among others) still allow students to maximize their competency even if they do not choose to go abroad.

Study internationally and locally

With our proximity to the global city of Chicago, and access to numerous study and internship  opportunities worldwide (e.g. France, Senegal, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada…), Lake Forest provides access to a wide range of study abroad programs and internship options for students to further develop their language and cultural competencies. Check the Internships and Study Abroad section on our website for more information or contact Director of Global Engagement Office Allie Olsen.

Combines well with other disciplines and career interests

Students who complete the major or minor in French often link their coursework to a second major or minor in another discipline, including Business, Economics, Finance, International Relations, Pre-Med and the Sciences, Psychology, Cinema Studies, Art, Education, Print and Digital Publishing, Sociology and Anthropology, Music, or Social Justice. Courses such as French for International Affairs and Business, Translation and Creative Writing, French cinema, Song and Society, or Immigration in France, can help students to combine their academic interests and facilitate new career pathways. Our department organizes a yearly Career Panel during which alumni share their post-graduate academic and work experiences; they note how studying French at the College has helped them develop personally and professionally. Check the department’s website section on Careers and Success Stories for more information on combining French with a variety of other interests.

French is a global language; it’s fun to connect!

French is ranked the fifth most widely spoken language in the world (after Mandarin Chinese). French is used in over 106 countries and territories(second only to English) and spoken across five continents. According to the OIF, more than 300 million people read, speak and write French and this number is growing; French is the second most studied language worldwide. France is the second leading investor in the U.S. with more than 3000 French subsidiaries generating some 700,000 jobs. According to a 2017 report on the U.S. Job Market,French is the third most requested language on the American labor market, particularly in sectors such as insurance, healthcare, finance, and humanitarian aid.

At Lake Forest College, we make classes fun; we connect to the College’s mission of preparing responsible global citizens, while also preparing students to connect to others worldwide for increasingly global careers. You will be able to think critically and communicate effectively regarding current global issues across the francophone world, understand the context of French films and songs, translate French news, prepare for graduate school programs, successfully interview in French for career opportunities in global businesses, and read Romantic poets aloud with perfect pronunciation!

The words of French poet Alphonse de Lamartine encourage us to embark on this journey:

“Le monde est un livre dont chaque pas nous ouvre une page”.

(The world is a book; each step opens a new page for us).

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