French & Francophone Studies
Make the French connection.
When you study French and Francophone Studies at Whitman College, you don’t just learn a language. You discover the depth and influence of the French-speaking world on global literature, history, technology, environment and culture. As a French major, you’ll learn to express complex ideas clearly in both French and English. Whitman’s classes are small and highly interactive, so you’ll get personal attention from professors and make meaningful connections with peers. Whitman French majors leave college with a versatile skill set that can lead to careers in creative writing, education, international relations, business, communications, social work, the arts and much more.
3 Reasons to Study French & Francophone Studies at Whitman
Interested in French & Francophone Studies?
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“It's so fun! There is such a vibrant community of French speakers at Whitman. It's the perfect way to meet new people, develop a second language and learn about the world.”Our Whitman Student Voices Blog
Courses in French & Francophone Studies
See just a few of the fascinating courses you might take.
Hone your French language skills while you make sense of recent cultural and political events in France and the Francophone world. In this course, you’ll explore the latest headlines through a broad range of news media platforms. Then you’ll put your knowledge into practice in real-world conversations.
Improv(ing) in French
Develop your French-speaking speed, fluency and range through theatrical improv. In-class exercises blend traditional theater sports games with scene work and text-based improvisation. It’s a fun and unforgettable way to build your vocabulary and confidence in speaking French.
Cuisine et gastronomie
Explore the flavors and words of French cooking. In this course, you’ll investigate the role culinary traditions have played in Francophone national identity—and examine the relationship between food and class. With cultural touchstones from television shows like Qui sera le prochain grand pâtissier to the Guide Michelin, you’ll definitely want a seat at this table.
Translation: Theory and Practice
Translation is both a creative practice and a global necessity. In this course, you’ll learn what goes into the process of translation and explore the many contexts in which it takes place, from film subtitles to official documents to machine translation. In class, through readings, films, discussion and games, you’ll experience what it’s really like to translate between English and French.
French Beyond France
Did you know the majority of the world’s 300 million French speakers live outside France? From the Caribbean to Quebec, Senegal to Switzerland, in this course you’ll examine the widely varying roles French plays globally and explore how the language varies as it appears in other settings and coexists with other languages.
The Franco-Belge “bande dessinée” or “ninth art” is the third largest comic market in the world after the U.S. and Japan. This course will take you on a journey through the poetics of French-language graphic narratives. You’ll dive into recent works from multiple sub-genres, including fiction, documentary, adventure, autobiography and social commentary.
Amazing Experiences You Can Pursue
Explore your world. Through Whitman’s off-campus studies program, you could be a teaching assistant in France, study economics in Switzerland, or explore the French diaspora in places like Morocco or Cameroon. Many programs offer international internship opportunities that can give you an edge as you prepare to launch your career.
Get relevant work-study experience. French and Francophone Studies majors have worked in local public schools teaching French language and Francophone culture to students in after-school programs. They’ve been French tutors for the Academic Resource Center. And they’ve contributed to on-campus inclusion efforts through the Intercultural Center.
Immerse yourself on campus. Get together with other French majors and professors every Friday for lunchtime conversation practice. Live in La Maison with French students and a native French speaker. Or just enjoy La Maison’s calendar of fun events all year long, like French film screenings and off-campus study info sessions.
Your Questions Answered
French and Francophone Studies majors gain in-depth knowledge of the French language as well as learning about the history, literature, art and culture of the Francophone (French-speaking) world. More than just learning a language, a bachelor’s degree in French and Francophone Studies prepares you to understand the links between diverse cultures connected by a common language, as well as how language itself shapes our perspective on the world.
A degree in French is very versatile. It can prepare you for jobs in education, business, diplomacy, translation, nonprofits, science or the arts, for instance. Speaking a second language is also a valuable skill to have if you want to work internationally. And whatever career you pursue, a French major can teach you in-demand skills like writing, speaking, problem solving and cultural competency.