What does one do with a degree in foreign languages like French? While most people believe that a degree in French is just about as useful as a degree in molecular engineering, there are actually numerous occupations where French, or any other foreign language, has proven to be extremely in demand. Being a French major means that you speak and write it with native or near-native proficiency, and that can be very valuable.
Interpreting is one occupation that goes with proficiency in French. And don’t think of it as merely a technical rote that you go through every day because a translator will typically work in an international institution such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and even the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in some cases. Travel opportunities go hand in hand with an interpreter’s job, by the way.
Translating is another field in which someone who speaks English and happens to be fluent in French is indispensable. The translator is the “written half” of the interpreter, the “verbal or oral half,” who translates documents from French to a mother tongue. These documents may be technical, legal, literary, scientific, financial or commercial in nature required by international organizations, translation agencies, multinational companies, and government agencies.
Teaching is yet another occupation which the French language will always have a place in. While French may be taught as an elective course in most U.S. schools, it can also be taught as a specialized course in language schools like Berlitz International. Many employers value linguistic skills, with French being one of the most sought after by export and import businesses.
It may sound far-fetched but banks, accountancy firms, insurance companies, and other financial institutions that have French clients who they wish to maintain good relations with hire French-speaking individuals. Additionally, the French-proficient job applicant can develop careers in the tourism, hospitality, and hotel and restaurant industries.
The holder of a French degree also has a bright future in sales and marketing of import and export products. Multinational companies are always on the lookout for French- speaking talents to handle the accounts of not only French clients and suppliers but of clients from French-speaking countries like Belgium, Switzerland, and Algeria and other Caribbean nations.
And then there is the Diplomatic Service where a consulship and an ambassadorship are the two coveted top positions, choices no translator or interpreter will pass up.
Schools with Excellent French Degree Programs
A French degree is not just a white elephant. There may be no Ivy League institutions that currently offer a French degree, but that doesn’t mean there are no schools that don’t offer quality French degree programs.
St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, the University of New Hampshire in Durham, Suffolk University in Boston, Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan have 78.7%, 77.8%, 82.5%, and 91.8% student acceptance rates, respectively, for a bachelor of arts majoring in French. If you are thinking of any of the earlier mentioned occupations as a future career, a French degree is your passport to it.