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In French and Francophone Studies, students take language, literature and culture courses at all levels and complete an Earlham degree with a major or minor in French. Beginning classes emphasize student interaction, communicative competence, and the link between language and culture. Students in upper-level courses acquire substantial background in the literature, history and culture of communities that use French, with a particular focus on these communities in France, the Caribbean and Africa. At all levels, students acquire strategies of reading, listening and research that enable autonomous learning.
Central to French and Francophone Studies are two off-campus programs — one in France offered by Earlham, and another in Senegal offered by the Great Lakes Colleges Association. On-campus opportunities include La Maison Française where students live with a native-speaking teaching assistant. Additionally, students and faculty collaborate on in-depth research projects. Recent projects include studying Chinese immigrants in the Caribbean and 1950s France.
Graduates have used their French proficiency to pursue advanced degrees in various fields, teaching and careers in international trade, law, linguistics and administration. Almost annually, graduates are awarded English Teaching Assistant opportunities by the French government.