Approximately 200 million people around the world speak French. Daniel Fuerst is one of them. Not only does he have a passion for the language and the culture, he’s found tremendous support for that interest at the College. Whether or not he ends up teaching French after he graduates, he is confident that it will play a role in his professional life.
Daniel studied French all the way through high school. When he came to the College, he wasn’t certain that he’d major in the language, but he knew he wanted to continue studying it. So, he enrolled in French classes right away.
“I think the most important course I took was a semester abroad in La Rochelle, France. That was the best thing that could have happened to me. La Rochelle is a beautiful, historic seaport, like a French version of Charleston. I had just turned 18, and I was getting launched into the real world. It was a bit of a culture shock, but I adjusted pretty easily and my language skills just exploded. That experience really prepared me for the rest of the courses that I’ve taken in this major.”
One thing that characterizes the department, says Daniel, is flexibility. “I took a class on Haiti, which was focused on literature. For the final paper, we had to take one of the pieces we had read and analyze it. I actually wanted to do something different. I found a documentary film about Haiti’s gay population, and I asked the professor if I could substitute that for the reading. He was very accommodating because he knows that I’m interested in film. That allowed me to write a sociologically based paper, which I find more interesting than analyzing literature.”
When he’s not studying, Daniel tutors other students in French at the Center for Student Learning on campus. In addition, he is president of the French Club. After graduating, he plans to attend law school. “You can get into law school with a major in almost any discipline, but I think having a French major will set me apart from other applicants. And beyond that, it can only help that I’m proficient in the language and have that degree on my résumé.”
From Bora Bora to Burundi and from Switzerland to the Seychelles, French is spoken all over the world. French majors at the College develop high levels of competency in a program recognized as one of the best in the country. The language skills that they acquire and refine give them a decisive edge in competing for jobs in a variety of interesting careers as well as for spots in graduate programs.
- The College offers a semester study-abroad program in La Rochelle and a summer program in Paris and Morocco.
- Our professors represent a wide array of backgrounds and research interests. They’re accessible and work closely with students to develop their interests.
- Small sized upper level classes.
- The Department of French, Francophone and Italian Studies sponsors a French film festival each September.
- French majors occasionally intern with companies and organizations in the U.S. and Europe.
- La Table Ronde is a weekly get together for students interested in French and French culture.
- La Maison Francaise is an historic home on campus that houses students (coed) for an immersion experience.
Interim Department Chair