At Macalester, studying French is about connections: the local with the global, the past with the present
Our department provides a rigorous foundation in the rich and complex French and Francophone world. We believe deeply in the college’s long-standing dedication to internationalism—and we believe studying a language and the diverse cultures it expresses is an essential piece of practicing that commitment wholeheartedly.
From French 101 to the senior capstone project, we challenge our students to step outside their own perspectives. And along the way, we see how this changes them. Their worldviews broaden. They grapple with nuanced, complex, global issues—in French.
Through that journey, expect your intellectual curiosity to be piqued. You’ll be learning from faculty from the US, France, Senegal, and New Zealand. Courses focus on cultural productions from France and Francophone regions (from Europe to Quebec, West Africa to Louisiana, Haiti to French Polynesia, and the Caribbean to Asia) in different genres: literature, cinema, graphic novels, theatre, visual art, philosophy, and theory. Recent course topics include the Animal and the Human in the French Enlightenment, Parisiennes, and Food in French and Francophone Cultures.
All French, all the time
The best way to speak better French? Speak more French. We offer language immersion without having to leave campus: each semester, four students live in our French House, directed by our student program assistant. It’s a natural springboard to prepare for a semester away, but even if you don’t live there, you’ll get to know the house well: it’s the hub for lots of cultural activities on campus. (And it’s part of your homework—you’ll check out two of those activities for every course in the department. Click here for some photos of recent events!).
Our top study abroad destinations
- Study international development in Senegal and complete an internship or research project
- Pursue internship programs in Paris, Strasbourg, and Brussels or direct-enroll in French universities in Paris and Nantes
- Study Moroccan society and culture and explore community-based learning in Rabat
Life after Macalester
Through their vibrant experience in our community, around the Twin Cities, and all over the world, our students leave Macalester equipped with the language and cultural proficiency to engage in the world across many differences. Those lessons stay with them long after graduation. Our alumni work in diplomacy, law, finance, education, the arts, sustainable agriculture, theater, communications, and public health.
- Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF)
- College Possible
- Peace Corps
- Human Rights Watch
- UNESCO in Paris
- Wisconsin Department of Justice
- New York University Langone Medical Center
- Estée Lauder Companies
- State Department
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- University of Illinois-Chicago
- John Hopkins University
- New York University
- Sciences PO in Paris
- Tufts University, Fletcher School
- Université Libre de Bruxelles
- University of Wisconsin
- University of Minnesota
- University of Pennsylvania
Join the community
Our students add layers onto their classroom education through connecting with Twin Cities organizations. That starts on campus, with vibrant guest speakers from the Twin Cities, and continues to a wide range of internship possibilities at sites ranging from human rights organizations to immersion schools. Students also pursue national and international internship opportunities, from working in a US Embassy in Europe to conducting a research project in Cameroon.
Through our unique French Lecture Series, students learn from well-known speakers. Our guests include scholars, writers, artists, journalists, filmmakers, and performance artists from Minnesota, around the United States, France, and around the Francophone world.
Our faculty support students throughout their journeys: from your first day on campus to study away decisions, a challenging poem or essay, or life after Mac. And our alumni love to talk, too: each year we host an alumni panel to share perspectives and advice.
March marks “Women’s History Month”. We “reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to United States history”. It is celebrated throughout MAC and in our department, we will also be highlighting women from different Francophone countries. Follow our Instagram page for more info!
Also every year, March is dedicated to the celebration of the French language across the world. Throughout the month, we will be organizing events to celebrate the many facets of the Francophonie.
On March 6th, Compagnie Tilawcis is coming all the way from the island of La Reunion for a unique show, “Frénésies” at J Wall Main Theater. Also, on March 15th, Professor and Chair Joelle Vitiello, will be in conversation with Jean-Luc Raharimanana, a novelist, essayist, poet, and playwright from Madagascar for an online event to know more about his works, books and career. Both events are co-sponsored with the Alliance Française Mpls / St Paul.
Stay tuned for more fun events!