Why Major in French at Chestnut Hill College?


Student Highlight

Rachel Zanders, Class of 2014
Political Science and French Major


Rachel Zanders


How did your liberal arts education at CHC affect your college experience? 


“I am able to sit down and converse about the shadow techniques of the Italian artist Caravaggio, the density of bone mass in the human body, and the poetry from the Renaissance era. A liberal arts education opens your world to...the world. With a liberal arts education I am able to say that I majored in political science and French with a minor in Biology, History, Astronomy, Art, Literature, and Math.” 


Can you explain your current job position, the company and the role you serve there?  


”I am the youth representative to the United Nations for the non-profit, United Nations affiliated organization, Global Education Motivators (GEM). GEM works in aiding both the local community as well as the global community to meet the constant challenges of an advancing, global society. As the youth representative, I have been able to work side by side with UNICEF and their Voices of Youth platform in reaching children from around the globe and creating conversation cross-culturally via the online platform.” 


How would you say your liberal arts education at CHC influenced your current job? 


"The very institution (CHC) offered the job on a platter, in a sense. They gave me the opportunity and I took hold with both hands. I was an intern for the two school semesters and was offered the job directly after graduation." 


What kinds of professional services did CHC provide during your time there? (Networking, career development, internships) 


"Internships, career development, networking, volunteer opportunities, non-profit organization fairs..." 


French is more than just learning words and verbs, its about communicating, its about familiarizing oneself with another culture and way of life. French is crucial as a world language. More than 122 million people in 33 countries speak French and along with English, it is the official language of several international organizations, among them the United Nations Secretariat, the Council of Europe and UNESCO.


At Chestnut Hill College, students will be immersed in culture, language and literature of many French-speaking countries. Through the experiences learned abroad in France or another Francophone country, students will develop an appreciation for foreign culture, literature, art and history. Students learn to understand, speak, read and write the language and in doing so acquire practical skills to equip them for careers in business, government, communications, education and other areas which value language skills and cultural background as assets. Additionally, students develop an ability to interpret literature on a global scale which provides them with a humanizing dimension to their own lives and modern society.


Students who qualify with a 3.0 GPA, who are in the top 35% of their graduating class and who have completed at least one language course at the 300-level, may be invited to join Phi Sigma Iota, the Foreign Language Honor Society.


Students are required to complete at least one term of study abroad. This can be fulfilled through an international internship, international work study experience or traditional study abroad program. CHC has partnerships with Cours de Civilisation Francaise at Sorbonne in Paris and CEFAM International School of Business and Management in Paris or Lyon. For more information, please visit the Global Education Office.


What are the requirements?


French majors complete 14 courses (42 credits) above the intermediate level to qualify for a B.A. degree. They also study a second foreign language or pursue a second major, commonly in the education field. These course requirements include:

  • 6-9 credits in French language
  • 6-9 credits in French civilization
  • 12-18 credits in French literature
  • senior seminar in French
  • 6 credits with intermediate profiency in one of the following languages (Chinese, Italian, Latin, Russian, German, Spanish)


What are the career opportunities?


Traditionally, language majors become educators. While this is a great option, it is not the only career open to those who pursue a foreign language. Knowing another language teaches you to think differently and creatively, and to explore careers that require knowledge of a new culture and way of thinking. If you choose graduate research in another field, French is a valuable tool. Career options include:

  • International banking and business
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Editing, journalism and other media
  • Research
  • Government agencies
  • Teaching
  • Hotel and hospitality industry
  • Airline bilingual work
  • Social work and health care with French-speaking populations
  • UN guide


What internships are available?


Numerous French businesses have located their headquarters to the tri-state area leaving many opportunities for internships within the surrounding area. For those who wish to intern abroad, there are many options as well, including those that can be obtained through a partnership with the International Business, Language and Culture (IBLC) major. These internships include:

  • Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential
  • Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
  • United States Information Agency, International Visitors Division
  • Cours Notre-Dame de France, Paris
  • Vatican Radio
  • Kingsbury Inc, Philadelphia
  • Le Haut-Pave-Galerie d'Essai, Paris


If you are interested in majoring in French at Chesnut Hill College, please contact Mary Helen Kashuba, SSJ, Chair of the Department of Foreign Language and Literature (kashubaM@chc.edu).
To apply to Chestnut Hill College, please visit Admissions.