French has long been the mother tongue of diplomacy, art, history and culture. Spoken worldwide, the study of French opens doors to travel, graduate study and career opportunities as diverse as medical research, museum curation and the intelligence services.

International travel, independent research and internship opportunities offer you the chance to gain extraordinary real-world experiences while developing your French language skills.

Roanoke's special relationships with universities across the globe give you access to outstanding study abroad experiences throughout throughout France and the Francophone world.

French students frequently pursue careers in business, education, healthcare, international relations and social services.

We offer both a major and a minor in French.

May Term in Paris

Students immerse themselves in the culture and language of France during their intensive learning course abroad.

French & Chemistry?

Watch Video kate yakuboff working in the lab
Kate combines two interests to create a career she will love

Prestigious scholarship takes French major to France

Dixie Weaver ‘23 earned the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which will allow her to study at the Universite Catholique de Lyon in Lyon, France. The experience will deepen her understanding of French language and culture. As part of the scholarship, Weaver is required to do a service project, and she plans on writing a bilingual children’s book after her internship. Weaver said her classes at Roanoke prepared her for applying for the competitive scholarship. “The rigor from Roanoke gave me the base for completing this arduous task and what’s to come in life,” she said.

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“Our mission is to give our students the opportunity and the challenge to live multilingually. Proficiency in another language provides insights and understanding that are so needed in today's world.”

Dr. Charlene Kalinoski, professor in the Modern Languages department

Semester Abroad Gives Chance to Travel, Learn, Grow

Alexandra Gautier spent a semester at Université Lumière Lyon 2. She was able to hone her French language skills, as well as travel to several countries in Europe. “I've definitely become a lot more independent because I was living in a country that didn't speak my native language. It meant I really had to speak up for myself and take care of problems that I had never anticipated encountering, such as getting a haircut,” Gautier said. “My French comprehension and production, both written and spoken, have massively improved- an education that I could not have received anywhere but France.”

Sample Course Offerings:

  • FREN 301: French ConversationStudents by the Notre Dame

  • FREN 315: Francophone Societies

  • FREN 330: Studies in French Translation

  • FREN 461: The Modern Novel and Short Story 

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Class of 2022 includes a record five valedictorians and two salutatorians

The seven valedictorians and salutatorians hail from five different states and earned degrees in 10 different majors. Six of the seven are members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society.

Immersive, bilingual presentation dives into World War II history

“The Crossroads of Saint-Lo” recounts two parallel stories from World War II, including one fairly famous figure and one largely unknown casualty.

Photo of Charissa Roberson

"When I first came to Roanoke College, I didn't intend to study French as my second major--but after one semester, I had gained a new passion for speaking and learning the language and had discovered a wonderful community in the Modern Languages department. In my classes, I gained practical experience in using French, from giving presentations to discussing literary works to writing full-length scholarly papers. Throughout my studies, I always felt extremely supported by the professors in the French program, who are all dedicated to helping their students succeed at every level."  - Charissa Roberson

Photo of Katie Thornton on a camel

"My semester in Morocco was absolutely life-changing. It was so fascinating to explore a country and a culture so different from my own. I was constantly out of my comfort zone, and I was always challenging myself. I loved practicing my French with Moroccans and my host family because everyone was so nice and encouraging, and I was able to become much more comfortable speaking the language." -Katie Thornton

Photo of Meghan Wilcock by stone gargoyles on a building

"This trip was my first time outside the country and while I had many foreign experiences, the presence of a Roanoke professor and thirteen fellow students provided me with a sense of familiarity. My favorite day included the Louvre, Berthillon ice cream, strawberry and Nutella crepes, going up the Eiffel Tower, and taking a Bateau Mouche boat tour on the Seine. I would do this May Term over and over again!" -Meghan Wilcock

Language students get into well-respected graduate programs

Logos of: Ohio State, Columbia University, Parsons, the Courtauld Institute of Art