The French program is designed to help students develop practical language skills while they learn about the literature, culture and people of France and the French-speaking world. Knowing French opens the door to all the other cultures of the world where French is spoken-in Africa (where more people speak French than people speak Spanish in all of South America), the Middle East, Europe, Indochina, etc.
The Value of French Studies
French is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. Indeed French and English are the only two global languages. French is the first or second language in over 40 countries, France is the world's sixth largest economy, and is the official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee and many more similar important world organizations. According to the most recent U.S. Census, 1.9 million Americans speak French in the home.
In recent years, the U.S. was the second largest direct investor in France, and in 2002, France was the second largest foreign investor in the U.S. French is the foreign language spoken by our largest trading partner (Canada). In 2000, the United States exported more to countries having French as a national language than to countries having any other foreign language. Exports to Canada alone in that year were greater than the combined exports to all countries south of the United States. Among foreign countries doing business in the US, France employs the third largest number of Americans.
The world invests in France: in 2003, France was the second largest destination of foreign investment in the world. France is a leader in science and technology (nuclear physics, AIDS research, automobiles, electronics, aerospace, transportation, telecommunications and more. More tourists visit France than any other country in the world.
The broad training that is part of a program in French studies (including written and oral communication skills, reading and analyzing texts, history, geography and social studies) is an excellent means to personal growth and intellectual enrichment. It is also a fine preparation for entrance into the professional world. In addition to teaching and graduate studies, French majors have developed successful careers in many areas of business, the service professions and government.