Welcome to the Study of French at Ferris State!
We offer a variety of courses for beginners and advanced students of the language. Many Ferris students take one or two courses for cultural enrichment and their own self-actualization and personal development. A handful of French adventurers continue on an ever-expanding experience and complete the French Minor.
French is the only language, along with English, taught in every country. Two-hundred million people on five continents speak French.
It is our primary concern and goal, as instructors of a very important world language, to strive to get our students thinking as global citizens. We profess global acquisition first, with a central focus on the Francophone world and its multitudinous influences—a very good jumping stone for any student of world citizenry. Francophone civilization and worldview, with its various cultural iterations in all the representative countries, overseas departments, territories, and islands presents an immense global gold mine.
To that end, within the first three weeks of French 101, for example, the students view videos and PowerPoint presentations and engage in web-quest assignments of such places as Martinique, Quebec and Timbuktu.
One of France’s most beloved writers and philosophers, Michel de Montaigne, wrote about traveling abroad, and the educational benefits of such an experience. Quoting from his Essai, On Travel, he affirms; "Il faut voyager pour frotter et limer sa cervelle à celle d’autrui." Translation: "You must travel—you must rub up against other brains, thereby to refine/sharpen your own.”
Our curriculum centers around the theme of travel, and in particular, study-abroad programs as one of the most influential and educational experiences in which an individual can participate.
Reasons to Study French
With French, you can:
Communicate with French Speakers around the World
Spoken by over 200 million people on five continents, French has the status of official language in 32 countries and governments and is the only language beside English taught as a world language in every country.
Boost your Academic Skills
The largest number of English words derives, not directly from Latin, but from French, which provides at least one out of three words used in English. Those who study French for several years will improve their standardized test scores.
Become Proficient More Quickly than with Most World Languages
French is one of the languages that requires the fewest instructional hours in order for an English-speaking learner to reach a high level of speaking proficiency. French is also a natural choice for speakers of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese because of their common roots in Latin.
Increase Options for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies
Students with an interest in a variety of disciplines can take advantage of complementing their studies and doing research in a French-speaking country when they know French. Most graduate schools require knowledge of at least one world language, and French is a popular choice for many fields of study.
Connect Your Future to Cutting-Edge Fields in Science and Technology
French-speaking countries have been at the forefront of medical research in fields such as HIV virus research, medical genetics, and reconstructive surgery. They have also been on the cutting edge of scientific discoveries and technological innovations in nanotechnology, nuclear energy, voice compression, fiber optics, microchips, video gaming, aerospace technology and high-speed rail services.
Invest in Your Career
French speakers are in demand in banking and finance, hotel management, international trade, journalism and media, aviation, national security, health care, tourism and law enforcement. Knowing French helps a person gain valuable understanding of cultural and business practices in other places.
Enjoy Special Leisure-Time Activities
In the United States, 50 percent of foreign films watched and 30 percent of foreign books read are in French. Sports enthusiasts can follow their favorite events and athletes in sports popular in the French-speaking world: cycling (Tour de France), tennis (French Open), motorcycle racing and Formula 1 automobile racing (24 Heures du Mans) and baseball and hockey (Canadian teams).
Benefit More from Travel Experiences
Every continent offers French-speaking destinations, which are enjoyed more when the traveler can interact with the local residents in their language. While France is the most visited country in the world, destinations closer to home include Quebec, New Brunswick, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, St. Martin, French Guyana, Maine and Louisiana.
Appreciate Francophone Contributions to World Culture
French-speakers have made a remarkable impact on literature, philosophy, cuisine, fashion, and the arts. Learn more firsthand about Camus and Césaire (literature), Sartre and Derrida (philosophy), Renoir and Matisse (painting), Truffaut and Arcand (cinema), to name just a few.
Understand a Variety of World Perspectives
Because French is spoken in more than 56 countries, a person who knows French can work toward global consensus and peace and participate in humanitarian efforts, since French is an official or working language in many international agencies.