Study French Language and Literature (in Language Schools), French Language and Literature (in Language Schools) Schools
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Studying French language and literature is a superb way to learn about the French people and their culture. Whether it's the philosophically complex novels of Camus, the romantic poetry of Victor Hugo, or the revolutionary political writings of Frantz Fanon, some of the world's best literature and philosophy has been written in French. Those who know and love these works know that they can only truly be understood by someone who speaks the language in which they were originally written.
It is also worth remembering that there are numerous places in the world outside of France where French is spoken. Someone with expertise in the French language can find work anywhere in the Francophone world, from Dakar on Africa's west coast to the sunny French-speaking islands of the Mediterranean.
- Passion for France or other French-speaking regions
- Strong knowledge of grammar in English or another language
- Desire for foreign travel
- Curiosity and respect towards different cultures
- Love of reading
French language courses are usually available from the high school level up to the graduate school level. In college, most programs require a full 4 years of French language instruction, so if you think you'll want to major in French language and literature, it is advisable to start early. If possible, it's even better to start in high school.
While programs leading to a degree in French language and literature may seem the same from the outside, they often differ quite widely in terms of their focus and philosophy. Some concentrate on applied language skills, and are designed for those who hope to work in industries such as international business and finance. Others may spend more time thinking and talking about the culture of French-speaking countries, and less on memorizing vocabulary. Depending on your specific goals and needs, some programs will be more helpful than others, so be sure to do your research ahead of time.
A wide variety of careers are available for graduates from French language and literature programs. One of the most common is to work as a translator or interpreter, bridging the language gap between English-speaking individuals and institutions and those in the French-speaking world. This can be extremely enjoyable work for those with a love of language, and can provide opportunities for exciting foreign travel. Of course, a variety of jobs in the business, finance, and retail sectors can be found in French-speaking countries, and careers of this nature typically require several years of instruction in French.
Another option is to work in the nonprofit sector in one of the world's many underdeveloped French-speaking nations. Many of the world's poorest countries, including Haiti, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, all have French as an official language. Students with a passion for service and travel will find these careers particularly exciting and rewarding.