Honestly, does any language sound cooler, more romantic, or more sophisticated than French? Okay, maybe Italian. But beyond sounding cool, French is also a great college major.
Undergraduate programs in French are primarily designed to ensure that you gain a substantial degree of competence in speaking and writing the language (advanced courses are often conducted in French), so be prepared to spend a lot of time studying the nuts and bolts of grammar and translation. In addition, you’ll learn about French culture, history, and literature, and the throng of exotic locales where French is spoken. Majoring in French also offers abundant opportunities to take classes in other departments like history, English and literature, philosophy, international studies, film, and art history. What can you do with a French major besides teach? A lot. French speakers are in demand in banking and finance, foreign market analysis, diplomacy, and hotel management, just to name a few fields. But if you don’t think corporations hire language majors, take note of what BP-Amoco (one of the most monolithic and powerful multinational corporations in the world) has to say: “It took us far too long to realize that ‘business’ in parts of the world outside North America is about ‘relationships.’ While many will tell you that the language of business is English, relationships are forged through common experiences and respect, and in a common language (typically not English). Even the most basic efforts to understand and communicate in the language of the host are greatly appreciated, and often form the basis for a business deal to be struck.” In case you were wondering, France boasts the world’s fourth largest economy, and its gross domestic product (GDP) growth is one of the highest among European economies.
The more high school French you take, the better, because taking foreign language placement tests is one of the first things you will probably do when you embark on your college career. The farther you can place yourself above French 101, the more time and money you will save.