Why Study French?

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Why study French? Because if you do, you’ll be able to communicate with people all over the world, and communication is the key to understanding and to establishing better relations with other people, other cultures and other civilizations. Over 100 million people speak French fluently, not just on the Champs-Elysées in Paris but also throughout much of Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. French remains the international language, and is the official language of many of the major international organizations of diplomacy, politics, and trade; world health; courts and tribunals; the fashion industry; and commercial and financial institutions.

Long appreciated for being the language of Racine, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot, the French language has produced some of themost prestigious works in every domain of the artistic world: literature, philosophy, cinema, and art. In addition, groundbreaking work has come from French speakers from all corners of the globe in international business and every other academic discipline imaginable: engineering, mathematics, nursing, political science, and chemistry, to name just a few.

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French and Francophone Studies (FFS) at Villanova University

Whether or not you have already taken French, we have the courses for you! Our FFS faculty members are committed to providing students with a mastery of the French language and a solid grounding in French literature and culture, from its origins to the present day. Our areas of research span the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, and include literature (poetry, theater, and the novel), philosophy, cinema, and many aspects of contemporary French culture. In particular, we offer courses on a wide variety of subjects related to our research and to culture throughout the French-speaking world, and language instruction is integrated into all of our courses: from phonetics to business French, from the Tour de France to French contemporary music, from the Enlightenment to existentialism, from francophone writers to French savoir-vivre. Moreover, the Villanova community benefits greatly from its French stores, French restaurants and French companies that have flourished in its surroundings.

In order to take full advantage of the richness of “lafrancophonie”, the division of French and Francophone Studies strongly encourages its students to spend time living and studying in France orin other French-speaking parts of the world. To that goal, Villanova offers each summer a language and cultural program at the Université Catholique de Lille and in Paris. For semester- or year-long study, the FFS division works closely with the Office of International Studies and with individual students to help them meet their personal and educational goals while they are abroad. Whether they go to Lille and Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels, or Dakar, a student’s unforgettable experiences abroad are a crucial step in their growth as a student of French, and of a citizen of the world in the twenty-first century.

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Career Prospects for our Graduates

Our graduates obtain jobs in many sectors of the working world, in the United States and abroad. In addition to jobs in education, our recent graduates have pursued careers in corporate lobbying; law; accounting; public relations; and political science. Some find that they use French on a daily basis, even in a field that was not formally related to their major; others find that they use their French less than they thought that they would do. All of them appreciate the benefits of the skills that a French major provides them: experience in the world and an open mind to cultural awareness and difference; the ability to read, write, and speak clearly and eloquently, in two languages; and a critical eye that allows them to read between the lines and see beyond the page.

Marcel Proust once said, “Le véritable voyage de découverte neconsiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages mais à avoir de nouveauxyeux” ("The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes"). With a major in FFS, our students leave the Villanova campus if not with new eyes, then at least with new ways of seeing, and of looking at the world.