The Buzz about French

For information about careers, graduate studies, and alumni case studies, check out our Careers pages. But just as important, here's what current (or recent) students have to say about their experience in the department. (Click the students' quotes or photos to read their full remarks):


  • Amie SalemFunto Akindona“The French Department at Carleton is the best of the best!”

    • Funto: The French Department at Carleton is the best of the best! The professors are encouraging and are so eager to help students improve their French skills.

      Amie: I never thought I would spend as much time in the French Department as I do. This department is hands down one of the best, if not the best, at Carleton. The professors are super nice, encouraging and so supportive throughout the whole process. In fact, I may even minor in it because of the experience I have had so far.

  • Funto Akindona ’20 (left) and Amie Salem ’20 (right)

  • Moliang Jiang“I took courses that touched on controversial yet important issues and changed my way of thinking and how I view the world.”

    • Learning a new language from scratch is never easy, especially in Carleton’s demanding academic environment. However, French classes at Carleton are so interdisciplinary, fascinating, and eye-opening that I felt that my effort has been worth it. I took courses like Banned Books and Middle East and the French Connection that touched on controversial yet important issues and changed my way of thinking and how I view the world. I also found the French department to be extremely supportive. The professors are very encouraging in class and patient with any questions during office hours. French assistants and my fellow French friends also helped me to learn. Towards the end of my time at Carleton, I realized that I have gained much more than the language skills through studying French.

  • Moliang Jiang ’18

  • Nick Leeke“Studying French gives a student new perspectives from which to comprehend our complex world.”

    • Studying French gives a student new perspectives from which to comprehend our complex world. Through the study of French literature, film, poetry, art, song, and other media, one can foster an appreciation for the beauty of diversity. From the Caribbean to Indochina to West Africa and beyond, the study of French offers the curious mind a portal through which one can begin to appreciate the beauty of the diverse French diaspora. At Carleton, studying French goes beyond an understanding of basic verb conjugations and pictures of Paris. French professors at Carleton give students the ability to dive into francophone cultures around the globe ... not to mention the amazing study abroad opportunities in Paris and the francophone world as well as crêpe nights on campus!

  • Nick Leeke ’18

  • Chris Lee“French truly remains an incredibly important asset to future citizens and leaders of our globalized society.”

    • Wonderfully short-sighted and flat out unknowledgable, I first began my French journey at Carleton wanting to understand why ratatouille was called ratatouille and to learn how to make it. All chuckles aside, I am so glad this silly inclination led me to the French Department. A language that serves as the official tongue of thirty-some countries, French truly remains an incredibly important asset to future citizens and leaders of our globalized society. What really sticks with you is the global perspective the department instills in you. As you learn about French and Francophone cultures, you are invited to analyze more deeply the nuances of the French identity, the tensions between desire of societal progress and necessity of historical atonement, and the role Francophone nations play in the world today. You can count on the wonderful faculty to teach you something new every day and always with a bigger, worldly perspective in mind. Though I can’t say that my ratatouille looks anything like the one Remy made in the Pixar film, I can say that I’ve gained a tremendous respect and passion for the beautiful language that has the power to connect me with millions of people across the globe.

  • Chris Lee ’19

  • Eva Druskin“Studying French at Carleton has opened more doors for me than I had ever imagined possible.”

    • Studying French at Carleton has opened more doors for me than I had ever imagined possible. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with students from all over France, and a few of them have even become some of my closest friends at Carleton. The French department also offers incredible study abroad programs in Paris and Senegal. I went on the Paris trip during my sophomore year and in addition to improving my French and eating the tastiest food in the world, I stayed with the kindest, most wonderful host family. The department also has a new program in Senegal that I hope to attend next winter. There, I’ll get to explore the way countries rebuild themselves after colonization. Even better than the study abroad opportunities have been the relationships I’ve gotten to build with my French professors. My relationships with my professors mean the world to me — I’ve been out to lunch with them, had dinners at their houses, and count on them for personal and academic support as I continue at Carleton and beyond!

  • Eva Druskin ’19

  • Emma Hughes"I never expected to take as many French classes as I did, let alone study abroad in Paris. But I have loved studying French at Carleton!

    • I came to Carleton with no French skills, and I am now leaving Carleton able to speak and read French comfortably. The professors are all so wonderful, and the French table is a great place to practice speaking French on a regular basis. I also loved studying abroad in Paris and Morocco. I felt like I was able to immerse myself in the city, especially because we stayed with host families. Studying abroad in Paris was one of the highlights of my time at Carleton!

  • Emma Hughes ’16, Cinema and Media Studies/European Studies major

  • Charles Bloom“When I began French at Carleton, I only intended to satisfy the language requirement.”

    • I took French in high school, but never felt very enthusiastic about learning the language. My first French course at Carleton illuminated me to the nuances and usefulness of the French language, and as I continued through the language sequence, I became increasingly inspired to take my studies beyond the required courses. My trimester abroad in Paris was an incredible experience. Having almost never spoken French outside of the classroom before, I was suddenly in a position where I was using the language nearly everywhere I went. The breadth of the course offerings in the French department is impressive, allowing me to learn about everything from Francophone Switzerland to specific French rhetorical tools. The faculty show an unwavering commitment to students and to teaching, and have provided me and many of my fellow students with skills and knowledge that will benefit us for many years to come.

  • Charlie Bloom ’15, French and Francophone Studies certificator, Paris Program ’13

  • Nityasya Belapurkar“The French Department offers a unique approach to a variety of disciplines through the medium of the wonderful French language.”

    • Taking a French class would not only improve your grasp of the language, but give you insight into French and Francophone literature and society.

  • Nityasya Belapurkar ’15, French and Francophone Studies concentraror, Paris Program ’13

  • Nora Liu“Learning French is the highlight of my four years at Carleton.”

    • The French program at Carleton is intense but rewarding - getting up early and going to 1a French class every day during my freshman year, I was amazed by how much progress I made in the first year. Having absolutely no knowledge of French language, I was able to live in France, make conversation with French people, and read French literature after two years’ learning. I still remember the homemade croissants the professor brought into class, the lively discussions, and the encouraging classroom atmosphere. The Paris program was also one of my most memorable experiences. Every week, the art history professor took us to a different museum in Paris to look at the work we discussed in the previous class; the director also organized tons of fun activities for us to make the most of the program.

  • Nora Liu ’15, French and Francophone Studies concentraror, Paris Program ’13

  • Taylor Mayhall“I used to be shy about talking in class, but the French professors are so encouraging and non-judgmental that I quickly grew more confident.”

    • People say that it's hard to learn a language once you're an adult, but Carleton's French department made it easy for me! I used to be shy about talking in class, but the French professors are so encouraging and non-judgmental that I quickly grew more confident. Once I participated on the French program to Paris and Morocco, I was never again scared to speak in French. The study abroad program was my best experience at Carleton. It helped me grow in my language skills but also in my ability to be independent, communicate with complete strangers, and embrace new cultures. If I could do it all over again, I would double major in ENTS and French.

  • Taylor Mayhall ’15, French and Francophone Studies certificator, Paris Program '14

  • Isabel Rodríguez“Carleton’s French program was and is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

    • Carleton’s French program was and is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Because of the flexibility of the program, I have been able to study abroad a few times to learn the language in a more appropriate setting. I participated in the Internships in Francophone Europe Program (IFE) my junior year. Thanks to the amazing French professors at Carleton, my level of both spoken and written French was at a point where I could easily communicate in any situation. As an intern at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, I called students, kept track of the press, and communicated with my supervisors and my colleagues. My French professors have encouraged me to take risks and step out of my comfort zone, and they have given me the resources to do so.

  • Isabel Rodríguez ’12, Romance Languages major, Paris Program '10

  • David Williams“What other area of study besides language allows you to explore the world and communicate with new people? And what other foreign language besides French allows you to go to so many geographically and culturally different locations?”

    • After you spend a year in class being taught French, you start to think you’re getting it; the French news, books and music all start to make sense. But when you set out by yourself, leave the country and ask someone for directions and you find your way, or when you deliver meals on a bike route and the client jokes with you about how motorists treat bikers, or when you tell the bartender that you only want to taste it, and you do all of this in French, you realize that someone outside of a classroom can actually understand you and that you can actually understand them. Do you still have to ask why you should study French? What other area of study besides language allows you to explore the world and communicate with new people? And what other foreign language besides French allows you to go to so many geographically and culturally different locations? This is why you should study French!

  • David Williams ’14, French and Francophone Studies concentrator, Paris Program '12