Majors: International Business, French
Graduation Date: 2014
After graduating in May 2014, I took around 6 months to go abroad, volunteering in Scotland and Belgium. I returned to the States at the beginning of 2015 to work in Washington, D.C. as an intern for a non-profit. At the end of my internship, I decided to stick around the capitol and worked in a variety of positions for the following three years. I explored the ins and outs of audience services as a House Manager for a Shakespearean theatre, dabbled in office management for a pro-bono law firm, and also dedicated myself to environmental consultancy work. Currently, I am pursuing a passion of mine at the University of Dundee in Dundee, Scotland - sustainability! The MSc Sustainability program at the university covers a wide range of issues related to the environment, development and addressing climate change. I am having a blast so far!
I took French because I loved how the language sounded when spoken, plus I had taken it in middle school and high school. I was also was keen to learn more about French culture and history. It wasn't until I began studying at Elmhurst that I really delved into perfecting my pronunciation and expanding my vocabulary. I would say I enjoyed the intimacy of the classes at Elmhurst College; that's to say, the class size wasn't very big, so at times, we really got a one-on-one experience with the professor to work on areas we might have been struggling with, such as vocab or grammar. I would also add that I appreciated the opportunity to study abroad in a French speaking country during my studies at Elmhurst - I received support from my professor at the time, as well as the International Office at Elmhurst.
Prof. Leal really helped to expand the French program's presence on campus, as well as promoting and running activities to practice our French outside of the classroom - something that was not really around before her joining the Elmhurst staff. I believe this helped students gain some more confidence in their abilities to speak the language and use it outside of a classroom setting.
While I was studying at Elmhurst, French definitely played a big role in my education, particularly when I went abroad to study for a semester in Grenoble, France. There, nearly all of my classes were taught in French with majority French students. Because I had taken French in high school, as well as at university before going abroad, I was not as nervous as I might have been had I had no experience beforehand. Studying abroad also helped me further my education, as well as strengthen my professional and personal life. I learned a lot about myself and was also able to enhance my French speaking skills immensely. I took these skills back to Elmhurst and then later on, was able to put my knowledge of French to use during internships abroad and in the work place.
French has absolutely helped in my career. When I was volunteering in Brussels, Belgium, it was one of the major spoken languages; thus, while volunteering at the European Parliament I was able to use the language, but also on a daily basis it played a major role in my ability to enjoy my time in Belgium. Later on, once back in the United States, I used French at nearly all the places I worked, either speaking with a client or translating a document. Additionally, I have met other native French speakers in the work place and it has helped to bond us more closely and to work more efficiently together. Currently, I am not a working professional. However, as a postgraduate student I do use my French now and again. The University of Dundee is quite international and I have been able to use French in social and academic settings, which has proven quite useful.
Make the most of it and don't be afraid of making mistakes - it's natural when you are learning a new language and the more you practice, the easier, or at least, more comfortable it will become. Also make it a daily routine to use French, whether that be speaking, listening or watching - the less you use it, the more you lose it. Finally, it may be cliche to say, but it's so true that the rewards of learning and using a new language, especially with a native speaker, are priceless. I really hope to be using my French speaking skills on a daily basis, preferably in the work place or in a French-speaking country.
I'll keep in touch!
Majors: English & Secondary Education with a minor in French
Graduation: December Class of 2016 -- Honors Global Scholar
After completing my student teaching at Downers Grove North High School, I moved to Prešov, Slovakia where I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at a specialized high school for teachers in training. Now (2018) I am preparing to move to Clermont-Ferrand in France where I will be teaching English under the TAPIF program. I am SO excited for the opportunity to improve my French and live among a culture I have studied and adored since I was 11. I started taking French in 6th grade. My parents had me study Slovenian for several years, so I wanted to learn a new language that was different from my Slavic background. French immediately captivated me—it’s such an elegant language. At Elmhurst College, I loved reading contemporary French novels and watching French films. Their philosophies of life are so different from the American worldview, and the frequent exposure to new perspectives helped me relate to my students from other cultures.
There’s a Czech proverb that says, “You live a new life for every new language you speak.” And it’s true! Speaking French is an entryway into a diverse community that spans the globe, a community of artists, great thinkers, and fabulous gourmands.
Give French at Elmhurst a try, you certainly won’t regret it! Bonne chance!
Majors: French and Spanish with a minor in intercultural studies.
Since graduation I spent several months in Bobigny, France as a teaching assistant with TAPIF. Bobigny is right outside Paris so naturally I spent as much time wandering the city as I could. After that program ended, I went on the job hunt, and as of September 2017, I've been working as a Customer service Representative with the e-commerce company cleverbridge. It took a while, but I was able to move out on my own and I am currently back in Elmhurst spending my non-working hours consuming a lot of media, but mainly video games and Netflix shows.
I took French because I took an introductory course in 6th grade as a kind of trial run and found out I was actually really good at it. My middle school didn't allow students to take both Spanish and French, so I continued with French in high school because I enjoyed the language and languages in general.
The most enjoyable part of taking French at EC was the close-knit group of French majors and students and the fun events we had like the French movie nights! French helped me obtain a position where I lived near Paris for a short period and it allows me to handle customer requests in that language at my current job. In terms of my education, it helped me get a better grasp on my Spanish lessons, as well as give me a deeper understanding of literature, both French and English. I am still pretty early in my career, so French hasn't played too much of a role just yet. I do use French occasionally to answer emails from French-speaking customers. The advice I would give to students considering French studies, is absolutely pursue that opportunity, and take as many courses as you find you can. If nothing else, you will likely come across a marvelous travel opportunity. It can also open up some unexpected opportunities for any jobs you may find after college. I don't have any French-related plans for the future. I am admittedly bad at coming up with any plans for the future and tend to play things by ear instead.
Majors: French & Elementary Education with a minor in Elementary Math
I took French because it was extremely enjoyable to me. I loved learning about French culture and learning a new language. I truly enjoyed the classes I took from learning all French history, to Francophone cultures, to reading French literature. They were all such enriching classes and some of my favorite classes at EC. French has helped me to communicate and make friends in France and in Canada. Learning French has also allowed me to feel more confident and comfortable when visiting France. While my second graders can't speak French, I do teach them some French words and we've had French pen pals. I've read them French books and used it to teach reading skills like making inferences. It's fun to introduce my students to a new culture that they normally wouldn't be introduced to at this age. Overall, I'm so happy that I chose to pursue a French major, it has enriched my life in great and unexpected ways.
My advice to other students at EC considering French would be to just take the class, because you don't know how French will benefit your life.
Majors: Political Science & French with a minor in Communications
Right after the holidays, I flew off to Europe where I spent sometime in Paris, Venice, and Reykjavik. Following this whirlwind, I landed a job at NAI Hiffman, an Oakbrook Terrace-based commercial real estate firm. My role as Office Coordinator includes client concierge service, HR assistance, and reception duties. Mixed in with these, a major part of my job has become writing press releases and marketing client assets. Additionally, I have kept up tutoring French in my spare time because I love the language!
Why did you take French? Short answer: because my mom told me to. Long answer: I didn’t want to at first, but my friends signed up with me and it was cooler than taking Spanish. With time, I realized that I loved it and I didn’t want to give it up!
What was most enjoyable about taking French or French at EC? Trivia Night!! This was a great experience that helped develop relationships with others in the Chicagoland region.
How has French helped you in your education, career, or personal life? It gave me something to look forward to every day. I think that learning a language gives you a cultural background that just studying cannot compare to. Because of my French skills, I was able to pick an adventurous topic—Islamophobia in French politics—for my Political Science capstone; the fluency I gained from the classroom allowed me to read native texts without loosing anything in translation.
Do you have any advice for students considering French studies? Don’t stop because an advisor tells you to. You can always fit in a minor and having it on your resume is a great talking point in interviews!
Majors: Urban Studies & French with a minor in Sociology
Graduation: May 2017
I took French because I love the French language, having traveled to France a number of times. I had also been taking French classes since I was in middle school, so I knew I would enjoy majoring in French.
We are lucky to have such a great French program at Elmhurst College! I think the most enjoyable part of taking French at Elmhurst was that there were so many opportunities for students to practice their French skills and also be immersed in the French language. One opportunity to do that was being a part of La Table Française. The French film nights and the immersion nights were a fun way to use my French skills and to hear spoken French.
My advice for students considering French would be to definitely pursue it and also to study abroad in a French-speaking country if you can. I took a J-Term course to Martinique and it was a great way for me to use my French.