Saint Louis University

Why Study French?

French Covers the World

  • French is spoken on five continents. Over 200 million people in 45 countries speak French.
  • In the U.S.A., more than 1.5 million people speak French at home.
  • French is the second language on the Internet.
  • Thousands of industrial corporations have invested in France. French companies employ 400,000 workers throughout the U.S.
  • Speaking French is a necessity to operate and communicate well in a rapidly evolving global economy.

French is Part of Your Heritage

  • An understanding of the French language is a stepping stone to other romance languages, such as Spanish and Italian, as well as to a better grasp of English, in which thousands of words are derived from French.
  • French is the world language of theatre, arts, dance, architecture, as well as cuisine and fashion.
  • Masterpieces of literature and opera were written in French: Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, The Little Prince, Candide, Madame Bovary, The Stranger, 20,00 Leagues Under the Sea, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Carmen, Pelleas and Melisande, etc.
  • The foundations of today's world in science and politics were largely shaped by French philosophers and thinkers.
  • Missouri and the Mississippi Valley were settled by the French as early as the 17th century. St. Louis was founded by a Frenchman, Pierre Laclede.

Testimonial from alumna Jessica Reuther (2004)

"I graduated in 2004 with degrees in French and International Studies. As an alumnus, I just wanted to let you know how I am using both my degrees on a daily basis ten years later. I am currently a doctoral candidate at Emory University in the History Department. I specialize in modern African history with an emphasis in francophone West Africa. During AY 2013-2014, I am conducting my dissertation research in four francophone countries: Benin, Senegal, France, and Switzerland. My dissertation is tentatively entitled, Vulnerable Subjects: Child Protection, French Colonial Law and International Humanitarianism in Southern Dahomey, 1920s-1950s . I am thankful for the skills I learned while at SLU on a daily basis. Without advanced proficiency in French I would never be able to conduct research in Benin - my Fon-gbe skills are not very great! I use my French in the archives, during interviews, and just navigating daily life. Before pursuing a degree in international studies at SLU, I had never been abroad nor had I been particularly interested in the world at-large. I wanted to thank you for giving me the basis in French and my first experience living abroad that I needed to achieve my professional goals. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate my degrees and all of your (and other faculty members') dedication to mentor undergraduate students. Please pass along my gratitude to Drs. Smart, Perraudin, and Llewellyn. Ten years ago I had no idea what I planned to do with my degrees and it took me some time to decide, but I have found a career path I find challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling." 


Higher purpose. Greater good.
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