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Ari G.

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What's the most challenging part about choosing a foreign language as a major?

I am considering majoring in French because I love the culture and I wish to learn more about it while studying abroad. I would just like to know what to expect for when I begin studying for it. #france #bilingual #academic-advising #language #foreign-languages #language-skills

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The most challenging part about majoring in a foreign language is simply learning the language and hitting a fluency level that will qualify you for jobs after you graduate. First, I would strongly recommend studying abroad for a minimum of one year in a French-speaking country. While you can learn the basics of grammar and a little bit of French literature and culture, if you want to truly learn the language and understand the culture, immersion through a study abroad program is the way to go. I learned more from one year of studying abroad than I did in my entire college and high school education combined. By the end, I could speak the language in more than just an academic environment, understood the culture, and gained a high-level of confidence with the language. Second, if you're majoring in a language, you may want to consider double-majoring in something like International Business, International Law, a technology-related field, etc. Language skills are a HUGE plus in today's job market, but they're not as powerful if you don't have the relevant education or job experience to back it up. It is possible to get a job where they'll teach you the skills, but it's harder. A couple of things to keep in mind if you want to major in French: - The tech industry is always in need of people fluent in major languages - If you're willing to work and learn, you'll rocket up the ladder. - The most difficult thing you'll run into besides actually achieving professional fluency is probably taking Gen. Ed courses that you have no interest in or taking courses like French literature if you're only interested in the practical reasons for learning a language.
Last updated Oct 06 '17 at 18:10

Great question. I minored in Chinese while a college student and it was a great choice as it afforded me opportunities that most weren't able to enjoy. I was able to work in China for 2 summers and studied abroad for a semester during my time as an undergrad and they were by far the best parts of my time as an undergraduate student. That withstanding, it was not easy and you should be prepared to seriously work if you plan on studying and mastering the French language. While French may not be as hard as Chinese, to master the reading, writing, listening, and speaking of French you will have to work everyday on it. You may be stronger in one area than another so be aware that you may have to focus more of your time on one skill compared to another. I was really good at speaking and expressing myself in the language as well as reading, but listening comprehension was the hardest for me and I had to really focus most of my time and attention to that skill.


I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck in your study of French!!


Best,

Austin

Last updated May 02 at 08:49

<span style="color: rgb(57, 57, 52);">French is considered one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn. The grammar and sentence structure are different from English, but simpler. Because both languages have Latin roots, they also share thousands of cognates – words that sound the same and have the same meanings.</span>

Last updated May 02 at 07:53
If you have a passion for language study like I do and a aptitude for learning language then you will find that studying French in college a delight. However, you have to be prepared to put in the work. Many sometimes believe languages are an easy A but remember you are aiming to gain fluency in the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Not everyone acquire these skills at the same level. I remember listening was not easy for me and language labs sessions were the most challenging part of my undergraduate course. The lower level courses may be manageable but when you get to your junior and senior years that's when you really start the advance courses towards your major. Most of these classes are conducted in the target language by the professors; in this case French so you have to be able to keep up. You will be expected to respond in class in the target language as well so it is best for you to practice conversing outside of class. Many colleges and universities have French clubs and other programs that provide opportunities for practice and contact with the language and culture outside the structured classroom and there are study abroad programs as well. I would suggest you get involved and take advantages of these programs and activities as much as you can. Best if luck to you.
Last updated May 02 at 07:53
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