The study of foreign languages is a vital part of a liberal arts education. Students studying new languages gain direct experience of foreign cultures that deepens their understanding of the world as they learn to read, write, and speak that new language. Students learning French language and culture gain access to a language spoken in many countries, a language spoken by Europeans, Africans, and diplomats in every country. Students learn about The French culture, a world view ,and people who have walked the international city of Paris, the food of legend, as well as film and art admired worldwide.
What opportunities are available for students?
Phi Sigma Iota is the international honors society for students in a foreign language. It recognizes outstanding ability and high standards of students of foreign languages, literatures, and cultures. To be considered for membership students must maintain a minimum GPA within their chosen language and as a part of their class.
Students in the elementary and intermediate courses are required to utilize the superbly equipped language laboratory. This laboratory provides access to a wide variety of foreign language learning technologies, including special computer programs (word processing, self-paced tutorials, vocabulary and grammar references, testing, and full access to the World Wide Web), audio-cassette and video recorders, foreign satellite broadcasts, compact discs, and laser disk technology.
Students choosing to major in French are strongly encouraged to spend on semester or more immersed in a French-speaking culture. The experience is used to put classroom learning into context. French faculty have led students in BreakAways. The most recent was Strasbourg, France. Helen White '06 recalls her study abroad experience in France: “It taught me greater independence than I had ever known and gave me a stronger appreciation for travel.”
The French Honors Program, available to French majors, contains three parts:
:: A structured study abroad experience
:: High academic standing
:: Completion of the departmental honors course (French 480)
Parts one and two are monitored by the student’s advisor and will constitute the prerequisites for the honors course. French 480 consists of an honors thesis written in the second semester of senior year to be presented (in English) to the Illinois College Community.
What opportunities are available after graduation?
Courses in French will help prepare students seeking careers in international business and industry, social service involving foreign language communities, U.S. government missions abroad, and teaching modern languages in elementary or high schools.