What kind of work do Foreign Language Majors do?

So, I’m an incoming freshman this year to college and I am currently juggling several options as to what I should major in for next year. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing Econ, but I also want to try to double major (or at least minor) in something I am passionate in.

I love literature and think it would be cool to do something like that for my double major. I was thinking about taking a more practical approach in majoring in French. I’ve been taking the language for going on six years in high school and middle school now so I have a pretty good background in it. My big question is whether the work is more about tests and exams or essays and reading assignment? I certainly prefer the latter and if its only going to be quizzes on grammar conjugations and how to use the subjunctive — I might consider just majoring in English.

If anyone can comment on this with their experience or knowledge, that would be very much appreciated, thanks!

If I’m understanding correctly your question is whether French classes in college are measured by quizzes on grammar, that sort of thing. Or if French classes ask you to produce essays etc.

Each college will be different but generally the higher the level of the language class, the more likely you will be using that language in essays rather than quizzes. To find out about any particular college, you should locate the college’s handbook (google for the course listing or handbook–often a pdf that you can download). That will show you what classes are offered by the department. (Look up the French department). If you still have questions, it would be fine to contact an admissions person at the college and ask them directly. They will either do so or refer you to a professor.

Best of luck to you!

Any class will depend on the college and teacher. Think about it in the same way as high school. Obviously in French 101 they aren’t going to ask you to write essays and read full books in French. If you can, look at the schools you’re applying to and the course requirements and descriptions for the French major/minor.

If you have studied French for 6 years in middle and high school you would place out of the four course elementary and intermediate sequence in college. You would likely take advanced French and literature courses in freshman year. Other courses like Conversation and culture courses too. You would be encouraged to do a study abroad in Quebec and France to immerse yourself in a francophone milieu.

Thank you everyone, great advice!

My experience as a French major (with a major in international management as well) was that my French classes were mainly reading, discussions, and writing. This was many many years ago (graduated in the 90s) but I imagine things are similar still.

As a foreign language major, definitely plan to study abroad for one term. See if there are gen eds you can take care of while abroad so it’s not just French classes as far as what you’re covering with the credits you are taking. You most likely wouldn’t have any business ones abroad, though it can happen depending on the program. With a double major, especially with a term abroad, be prepared for very few (if any) totally optional/just for fun to fill up credits type of electives.

Oh, and study abroad can be very expensive. So be prepared to save up for that if you do want to do it. If you go during a summer term to ensure not falling behind with other required classes you’ll be paying tuition, travel, room and board at a time you’d normally not be paying for school at all. If you go during a fall or spring term it’ll still be pricy due to flights and general spending money, plus the extra traveling you’ll want to take advantage of while there.

“Oh, and study abroad can be very expensive.”

Or not. Given that you mentioned French, the obvious place to study abroad might be in France. Some places will indeed be expensive. I remember business trips to Paris and Geneva and Montreux and all three cities are very expensive (of course only one is in France).

However, there are quite a few other countries where you can study abroad at a French language university. One daughter did a class in Canada over the summer which was entirely in French. They even were required to speak French in the dorm, while shopping for food, and in activities. They had tours in French of some local landmarks. It was very reasonably priced.

I may be biased since I grew up in an area where almost everyone speaks at least some English and at least some French, and where half the population is fully bilingual. It was common as a child to hear conversations that just switched back and forth in the middle of a sentence. I think that being fully bilingual is an asset to help with other skills, but is not by itself all that employable. I know a bilingual nurse, who finds being bilingual very valuable in her job. I have of course met many bilingual or trilingual people with public facing jobs. However, I do not see being bilingual in English and French as being particularly unusual.

Looks like you will probably place out of some of the beginner / intermediate French language skills courses, so that you would get to the literature / culture / etc. courses in French more quickly. Presumably, these would be the more interesting courses for you.