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Global French Studies at Hope College


Click here for the 2009 French Newsletter
click on the link above to access the 2014 and past French Newsletters

Les Choristes

Global French Studies students sing Les Choristes in the Images International Student Show on November 15. Bravo a tous!



Global French Studies Hosts a Fête Gourmande

Global French Studies hosted in early October a Fête Gourmande showcasing Beginning French Students' posters on foods from around the Francophone World.

Round Robin of Returning Students

The Round Table of Returning Students from France presented their varied and wonderful experiences at Rennes, Nantes, Arles, Paris, and Nice (France for the Pre-Med). The accompagning photo shows a photo of, on the lower right, Jake Boersma ('16) with Professor Colette Winn, Director of the Nice Program)

Former Global French Studies student Brittany Adams ('08- '10), B.A. French and M.A. Library Science

I have recently returned from a year abroad, and it was one of the best years of my life. Most of the time I was in St Andrews, Scotland, where I was working on my second master's in Library Science, but this summer I had the chance to travel quite a bit which was wonderful. I actually made it to France twice! I spent a few days in Paris, which was beautiful, and then a week in Lyon at the Institut d'Histoire du Livre. I finished the trip with a day in Aix-en-Provence, which I absolutely loved. I was able to speak French with the native speakers quite well, for which I was very thankful!

While at St Andrews, I found myself studying the Early Modern period quite often. Ultimately I focused on British print history, but I'm hoping to expand my focus in the coming years to France and the Americas as well. I honestly cannot state enough how glad I am to have studied French. Not only does it open up a whole world of understanding--other countries, other people, languages, and linguistics in general--but it's proved essential for my work. As I am applying to jobs, so many descriptions ask for someone who knows at least one European language, and French, having been the language of the nobility, is especially helpful when looking at historical texts.

Dr. Diane Guenin-Lelle and "The History of 'French' New Orleans"

Dr. Diane Guenin-Lelle, Professor of French at Albion College, spoke on Wednesday, 8 October, on “The History of ‘French’ New Orleans.” Her book on this topic is being released by the University of Mississippi Press this fall. Dr. Genin-Lelle, a native of New Orleans, detailed the history of this fascinating Creole city. Brooke Wharton ’18, who is taking French 3 this fall, wrote the following in her report on the talk: “French New Orleans rapidly became a place of creolization – the rapid transformation of native land and people in America due to the arrival or Europeans and Africans. From there came the Francophone creoles, who were both French and catholic. Dr. Guenin-Lelle argued that New Orleans from its beginnings has been a creole place. New Orleans then emerged as an imagined community of creole and France.”

Colloquium Hosts Director Floriane Brown

The Global French Studies Colloquium hosted on Monday 15 September Floriane Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Nibakure Children's Village in Rwanda. Daniel Owens '13 organized the visit.
The village provides help and care, housing, family, and education to the children. Students interested in attending a May term at the Nibakure Village can find information on the Global French Studies web site (under Majors/minors).

Soirée Crêpes at La Maison Française

The Global French Studies program opened the 2014 Fall academic year with a Soirée Crêpes at La Maison Française. Some fifty students and faculty attended. Thanks to all those whose hands made light work! The French native assistant Raphaele Brachet headed the team of crêpe makers. Merci à toutes!

Lauren Wade Receives National “Outstanding Senior in French Award”

Hope College senior Lauren Wade of Upper Arlington, Ohio, has received a 2014 “Outstanding Senior in French Award” from the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). The awards, presented at both the high school and college/university level, recognize academic excellence and an exceptional commitment to the study of French.  Recipients, who are selected on the basis of nominations from their instructors, are recognized by being included on the “Outstanding Senior Honor Roll” on the AATF website.  The AATF honored approximately 200 students nationwide in 2013. - READ MORE

The Career Benefits of STUDY ABROAD

Study Abroad is one of the best ways for you to differentiate yourself in the hob market. The survey in the link below shows how students land jobs sooner after graduation, related to their majors, and at a higher salary. Click to read more about the survey

Click here to find out more about the
2014 French Film Festival

Interested in living in France for a year?

France for the Pre-Med in 2014

If you are a pre-med or pre-healthcare student and want to study abroad, immerse yourself in another culture, and pursue your love of French, France for the pre-med is a wonderful program.  Organized by the French department at Washington University in Saint-Louis, its participating universities have included Brandeis, Binghamton, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Hope College,  Johns Hopkins, Oberlin, California-Berkeley, MIT, Michigan-Ann Arbor, Virginia, Wisconsin and Yale.  This unique month-long study-abroad experience is geared specifically towards pre-med students like you. Each summer, Hope sends several students to Nice for an unforgettable experience.

Sarah Bettag, who was accepted into the competitive program for May-June ’14, states that “Medicine and French are two interests of mine, so diverse that I always thought I would eventually have to choose between them. But, the Pre-Med Program in Nice has made it possible for me to simultaneously explore both of the subjects I love.”

What can you expect? To spend a month in beautiful Nice, in southern France near Italy. To become immersed in the culture by living with a host family. And to experience the French medical system as an active participant.

The French healthcare system has been ranked number 1 out of 191 countries surveyed by the World Health Organization. Besides taking a required course on physicians, patients, and illness in contemporary France, you will choose an elective course and improve your French by completing an internship in a major local hospital (Lenval Children's Hospital, L'Archet, Saint Roch, or Pasteur), a veterinary clinic, a nursing school, a bio-analysis laboratory or a large pharmacy, based on your specific interests.

According to Jacob Boersma, another Hope participant who was accepted this year as well, this program will offer “…the best of both worlds by integrating both my interest in medicine as well as my appreciation for the French culture and language.”

Applications for the 2014 summer program were already due, but for more information about the program, follow the links on the French Department website from “Study Abroad” to “Special Programs in French.”

Bon voyage!



On October 9, a study abroad of returning 

Brandon Verna (’15), who hails from south-west Michigan, with French and International Studies dual majors, talked about the IES program in Nantes

Alexa Duimstra (’14), from Wisconsin, with Theater, French, and Art majors, spoke on the IES program in Paris

Benedict Fils-Aimé (’15), from Connecticut, with majors in French Secondary Education and Japanese and a minor in English Secondary Education, presented on the CIEE program inRennes (Brittany)

Taylor Mann (’14), from Kalamazoo, MI, with French and Biology majors, spoke on the SIT program in Toulouse (southwestern France).




Bonjour! Je m’appelle Hannah Jacobsma.

As a sophomore here at Hope, and an English major and French minor, I started going to the Pause Café (the French weekly conversation group) a few weeks ago, and it is phenomenal! Basically, every Tuesday at 4:00, students from all levels of French get together at Lemonjello’s and practice speaking. Professor Brandon Guernsey who runs the program is wonderful as he initiates various topics and questions to talk about, and helps students come up with responses, as well as teach new phrases and words. It is really neat because you can pretend that you are sitting in a café in France! I love being able to practice speaking French with others. This is a wonderful opportunity to improve speaking skills, meet other French students, relax, and drink some coffee!



“Learning—and Loving—a Foreign Language for Life: English is the International Language—Why Bother Learning Another One?”

Brian Gibbs ‘84
Bad Homburg, Germany
30 September 2013

Laurence Summers, former US Secretary of the Treasury and former President of Harvard, summed up many Americans’ feelings when he said that increasing globalization means that we do not need to learn another language because everyone else knows our language. Therefore, learning another language is simply “a waste of time.” Mr. Gibbs, however, feels differently and shared his passion for learning about other languages and cultures with a full auditorium of language students and professors. Having traveled to 50 different countries, and having lived and worked in Germany for nearly 30 years, Brian Gibbs, whose wife is Austrian, is living proof of the life-changing effects of learning a foreign language.




La Maison Française is a cottage on Hope's campus where several students of French can live together to practice their French in everyday settings with each other.

Recently, the house was bustling with activity as they opened their doors to all of Hope's students of French for the first event of the year: a crêpe party!

The dining table loaded with a smorgasbord of fillings to choose from, students wondered whether to smother Nutella or sprinkle cinnamon sugar onto their crêpe. In the kitchen, Lucile, an exchange student and teaching assistant from Nantes, France, taught some students huddled around the stove her crêpe-making technique saying "Faire un vœu" ("Make a wish") before they flipped them in the pan for the finish. French conversation filled the air, as students of all years practiced their French with each other and with Hope professors. Chatting students nibbling on their crêpes filled the dining room, living room, and kitchen, overflowing onto the front and back porches. With a great turnout and plenty of delicious crêpes, this year's Soirée Crêpes was a success! 

- Whitney Yoder, Dec '13, French and Japanese double major




On Saturday, September 14th, the French and Art & Art History Departments took a bus of students to visit a special exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago called "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity."

The exhibit was made up of several connected galleries filled with a mélange of creative items: about ninety paintings; several period dresses as well as accessory garments like corsets, gloves, shoes, fans, parasols, men's hats and canes; and other items such as bottles of perfume and fashion magazines from 19th century France. Class Trip to Chicago

These items tell the story of how trends in fashion and art were expressed over time: the earliest paintings show women in their "morning dress" (white or black filmy dresses worn in their home only among close companions or relative); then artists began to paint women outside in gardens, in parks, or near rivers to bathe; finally, it became popular to depict people in urban settings—walking with their husbands or looking at accessories in new shops that sold ribbons, hats, and other delights.

Most of the painted works in this exhibit were figure paintings of an impressionist or modernist style including works by Gustave Caillebotte, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Georges Seurat, Mary Cassatt, and Berthe Marisot.

- Katherine Sauer, class of 2015, English and Women's Studies major, French minor




Athina Alvarez
Hope College Graduate '13
Mellon Scholar
Freelance Photographer and Designer

Short update: our new life in Paris is wonderful and much more than we could have ever wished for. After finding a new place to live, I decided to apply to graduate programs in art and art history. I was accepted to L'Atelier de Sevres and La Sorbonne Paris IV, but opted to follow my passion for research and am currently enrolled at the Sorbonne. Admission was no easy process, but I would do it all over again if I had to! Tomorrow, I am starting the first day of my 6-month internship as an assistant agent for illustrators and photographers at Karine Garnier Agency, in the 10th arrondissement. On Tuesday, I am starting classes at the Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art and the Institut Michelet d'Histoire de l'Art.

The picture is of Athina and her mother Dr. Isabelle Alvarez at the 2013 Celebration of Student Research where Athina presented three research projects in French, Art, and Mellon Scholar Studies.




By studying French, you are preparing yourself for a global professional experience allowing you to work for international organizations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the State department, businesses with a global outreach, the mission field, and much more!



In “The 13 Most Useful College Majors (as Determined by Science)” Newsweek 25 April 2012, “French, German, Latin, and other Common Foreign Languages” rank in the top ten “Most Useful College Majors” for finding employment and earning higher wages: http://newsweek.tumblr.com/post/21649811964/the-13-most-useless-college-majors-as-determined-by


1. Be understood in 55 countries across five continents and by over 200 million people.

2. Develop critical, creative thinking and problem solving skills. French also provides the base for more than 50% of the modern English vocabulary, which improves performance on standardized tests.

3. Open the doors to art, music, fashion, food, architecture, literature, scientific innovation, and technological.

4. Discover a new appreciation for other cultures in countries that speak French like Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, and many African nations.

5. Use French to pursue studies in Francophone countries in Africa.

6. Promote language diversity throughout the world.

7. Be more competitive in the national and international job market in disciplines like business, medicine, aviation, law, transportation technologies, global/international distribution and luxury goods.

8. French is the official working language of the UN, NATO, UNESCO, the International Olympic Committee, the European Union, the International Red Cross and much more!