French and Francophone Studies

Major Minor

Why Study French at K?

At K, you do not just learn French; you immerse yourself in the culture through study aboard, departmental activities, and engaging courses.

French professor lecturing

Studying French at K is so much more than just learning the language. With the availability of e-translators, the goal of contemporary French learning has evolved beyond grammatical knowledge to encompass new skills on how to think, understand, and grow both professionally and within your own life. 

The department empowers you to learn the language through culture; from the Antilles to Quebec, from Africa to the Indian Ocean, there is a breadth of global traditions and cultural productions to draw from. Through courses like French Pronunciation, Creative Writing in French, Professional French, Afro-Perspectives, and Advanced Literature and Cultural Studies, you will explore how Francophone studies intersect with other disciplines: political science, history, sociology, science, art, etc. 

Outside of the classroom, you have opportunities to practice your French with our native-speaking teaching assistants who host language labs and fun activities, such as café talks, film nights, field trips, and swearing nights for uncensored learning. Kalamazoo College is also a top school for study abroad, with French students getting to immerse themselves in the language and culture with programs in Strasbourg, Lyon and Rennes, France, as well as Dakar, Sénégal. 

The global awareness, language, and critical thinking skills developed in the French department set the foundation for you to have a successful career. Notably, our alumni work in international trade and organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization, high school and college instruction, publishing, science, international banking and other fields.  

What can you do with a French and Francophone Studies degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our French alumni.


  • French/English Teacher
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • College Advisor
  • Attorney


  • Teaching Assistant Program in France
  • Americorps
  • ACLU of Illinois
  • U.S. Department of State

Graduate Schools

  • Oxford University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Strasbourg
  • Wayne State University

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Juan Ibarra

Juan Ibarra (He/Him/His)

Majors: French and Anthropology and Sociology

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The classes are dynamic and the professors are creative and passionate about their fields.

What is your advice to first-years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?

Go to the French movie nights and the Café & Conversation events! Meet upperclassmen in the department who will practice speaking with you and give you advice on classes and study abroad programs!

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I’ve tutored with El Sol Elementary both in-person and virtually since my freshman year, and I’ve also worked with Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) as a volunteer. I will be serving as the assistant director of the Writing Center in the library next year, which I started working at my sophomore year. I will also be serving as the Civic Engagement Scholar for the Kalamazoo County ID program through the CCE [Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement]. I have also served as the treasurer for the Latinx Student Organization for 2 years. Finally, I contribute articles for the local Hispanic newspaper Nueva Opinión.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I will be analyzing the portrayal of French school systems in modern media such as books, films and TV shows and how they portray the experiences of immigrant students!

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I want to be a teacher’s assistant in France for a few years, and then come back to the U.S. for grad school. After that, I hope to become either a language or a sociology professor.

French Department News