Saint Louis University

Why Study French?

French in Today's World:

  • Over 274 million people across the continents speak French.
  • French is the world's second most frequently studied language.
  • French is the second most widely used "working" language in the EU.
  • Thousands of corporations have invested in France. In the U.S., French companies employ over 650,000 workers.
  • French is a key language to connecting with other peoples, other cultures, other ways of seeing and thinking.

French is Part of the Global Heritage:

  • French is a stepping-stone to other Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. In English alone, thousands of words are derived from French.
  • French is a global language linking the arts: from painting, sculpture, and architecture to music, opera, theatre, cuisine, and fashion.
  • French is the language of world-renowned masterpieces of literature: Hugo's Les Misérables, L'Étranger by Camus, La Fontaine's Fables, Voltaire's Candide, Molière's Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, George Sand's Indiana, and many others.
  • The foundations of modern science and politics were largely shaped by French thinkers.
  • Missouri and the Mississippi Valley were settled by the French as early as the 17th Century. St. Louis was founded by a French businessman, Pierre Laclède.

Testimonial from student Margaret Veale (2016), "Why I chose to pursue majors in both French and Physical Therapy"

"I was accepted to Saint Louis University's entry-level physical therapy doctorate program as a freshman and I was informed that I needed to have a minor with my degree so as to remain a well-rounded student. Many students picked psychology or special education, as they often have applications in the various fields of health care. However, I was the only person to pick French as my minor. I did this because I had always loved French and I was very active in the French club at my high school, and I figured I would always find pleasure in French whether it applied directly to my degree or not.

"At this point in time French has become a second major thanks to credits I attained while studying abroad and I could not be more pleased to have kept a personal interest of mine so central in my academic career. I would often be bogged down by the mandatory prerequisites like Biology and Chemistry where I was one of 400 students in the lecture hall. I enjoy science classes, but it's different in college where it verges on the impersonal and systematic. However, I always had my dear French class to look forward to during the week every semester. Each French course I was enrolled in had no more than about 12 students, was very personal, and every day had something new to teach me that I would probably never learn in a general education class. There was something special about this environment where I could briefly escape from my rigorous program and talk about something other than labs and data.

"I've always had a wide range of interests and majoring in French allowed me to remain well-rounded and learn a lot about myself and the world as a whole. Fortunately I had the opportunity to take a semester abroad in Poitiers, France. I learned a lot about how people in different cultures may think differently than I do in similar situations, a very applicable skill for physical therapy. I took only French culture and language classes which allowed for a pause in my PT program curriculum. I am so grateful for this experience because while I love my PT courses, it gave me a different educational dimension that helped prevent getting too burnt out before the professional phase of the program began. Now I have returned from France and I am pursuing my PT degree with energy and excitement!

"Vital characteristics of a health care professional include the ability to be open-minded, flexible, and notably for PT, creative. My experience with the French program here at SLU has truly helped me develop these aspects in myself and to apply them to other parts of my education. By becoming involved in a substantially different major I was able to keep a fresh perspective as I continued with my studies. I was never too caught up solely by my Core courses because I was always able to come up for air in my French classes and be able to pursue my other interests. For this I am exceptionally thrilled with my decision to Major in a field that at first did not seem to apply to my profession. Fortunately it does apply and will certainly continue to apply in an area where openness to others and the ability to see from different perspectives are crucial skills."


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