CM’s Guide to the French Major

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What if I told you there was a major that unlocked a door to an unlimited supply of girls, crepes and croissants? Would that major interest you? I bet it would. I suggest you mosey on down to the language department at your school and ask for directions to the French office. The French major is lowkey the best major you’ve never thought about. Check out why.

WHAT YOU’LL BE DOING

The French major isn’t all French fries and French kissing. As a French major, most of your time will be spent either speaking the language in class discussions or in the language lab doing audio recordings. Intensive critical reading sessions and analytic papers on major French novels like “Huis Clos,” “Madame Bovary” and “Le Petit Prince” will consume the majority of your course load outside the classroom. To fill the rest of the time, professors will engage you in (actually enjoyable) projects to help develop your knowledge of the French culture. You will learn how different French music practices, food and ideologies around the world relate to one another. Most importantly, the time you spend outside the classroom eating croissants and crepes and drinking wine at French themed parties with your classmates will be the best blurry memories you have from college.

UPSIDES

1. “Together with English, French is the only language spoken in all the continents, so it is a ‘must have’ for people who love traveling and adventures.” – Nuria Murciego Rico, French Professor at Boston College

2. “In an unexpected turn of events, especially when I was working towards a Master’s in French translation, studying French deepened and honed my ability to express myself in English.” – Maureen Pearsall, Teacher at Delbarton School

3. “A French major allows students to not only study literature, but also film, philosophy, history and other disciplines.” – Kaitlyn Quaranta, Master’s Student and Teaching Fellow at Boston College

DOWNSIDES

1. “The toughest thing about the French major is probably that it is almost impossible to major in French without significant background in French.” –Kaitlyn Quaranta, Master’s Student and Teaching Fellow at Boston College

2. “Less relevance in the United States: While knowing French has proved useful to me in my career, I have undoubtedly had more opportunities to utilize my Spanish here in the United states given the influx of Hispanic immigrants.” -Maureen Pearsall, Teacher at Delbarton School

3. “The hardest thing is actually that it has both language and literature, and they are two very different disciplines. Usually people that are good/fast at learning a language are worse at learning the literature and vice versa.” –Nuria Murciego Rico, French Professor at Boston College

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

1. Lawyer

In an increasingly global and connected world, lawyers have to be able to argue in multiple languages. A French major develops critical reading and analytic skills not available to majors outside the language fields. In addition, the French major preaches understanding of different cultures and practices, which lawyers should definitely try to learn.

2. Business Manager

A second language is a valuable tool for those looking for a job in the business world. In particular, the French major focuses on how to interact in a global world with people of different customs. If you can understand how the world works—and if you know a ton about which French wine will get your clients drunk faster—you’ll return to the office after a client’s night out as a king.

3. Translator

A career as a translator is more broad and lucrative than you may think. As the world becomes smaller, a translator is a valuable asset to drug, insurance and even video game companies. Nintendo, for example, has a worldwide gamer base that calls for translators in every language, including French. The next time your video game addiction annoys your girlfriend, just shoot her a French proverb to return to her good graces.

4. Curator

Museums and art exhibitions crave curators with a cultural background in the pieces they show. The French major provides all that and more. With a French major background, you become well-versed in African, Asian and European art and in conjunction with your super-suave accent, it will help you stand out as an applicant.

5. Journalist

High-powered journalists travel the world to report. With a background in a foreign language, you’re already a step ahead of the competition with your cultural knowledge. You will be able to communicate with people on every continent, while also having a background in their cultural practices, making you invaluable to broadcasting agencies. Hop on a plane to Paris and get in front of the camera STAT.

Jack O'Reilly is a sophomore mathematics major at Boston College. He seeks to be a gentleman and a scholar in all walks of life: professionally, athletically, socially.

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