French in the Work World

In the future, all jobs will be global.  Already, the need for employees who can mediate between cultures, collaborate internationally, and communicate effectively in more than one language has increased tremendously in the past decade, and this trend will only intensify.  That’s why the Department of World Language and Culture Studies puts such an emphasis on helping you develop the skills employers want most—problem solving, creativity, teamwork, communication, digital literacy, and intercultural competence to name a few.  We also want you to gain valuable work experience using your language skills.  Here are some of the ways.


Simpson student working on an organic farm in FranceTerry Hodge (’12) knew he wanted to combine his interests in Environmental Science and French, so created his own summer internship in France working on an organic farm.  Through the international organization WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), Terry was able to find a host farm to make his dream a reality.  Looking back on his experience, Terry wouldn’t trade it for anything.  “I loved this internship for two reasons.  First, it was my project from the beginning, and I have a wonderful sense of accomplishment, knowing that I had an idea, pursued it, and made it happen.  Second, I was able to refine my French, all the while learning more about organic agriculture systems, methods, and ideas in another country.  It was a win-win opportunity that was significant for both of my majors.”   


Student in France.Emily Davis (’10) plans to work for an NGO (non-governmental organization) in Africa someday.  To prepare for her goal, she participated in a Simpson May Term travel course to Namibia to study the problem of HIV/AIDS there and spent a semester studying at the University of French Polynesia in Tahiti through a Simpson exchange, but she knew that she wanted to further perfect her French and better understand French infrastructure before pursuing her ultimate dream, so she applied through the French government to serve as a teaching assistant in a high school in France.  She was accepted and placed in Orléans, spending an academic year immersed in French society and working in the French school system.  Thanks to her assistantship experience, Emily plans to stay in France to pursue a Master’s Degree in sustainable humanitarian action, something she might not have considered before working in Orléans.

Summer Jobs

Simpson French student in summer job with Upward Bound

PJ (first row, second from left) with the Upward Bound group

PJ Edwards (’14) landed a competitive summer job working as a counselor with Upward Bound, an organization that helps prepare high school students from low-income families or from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree to succeed in college.  PJ himself is the first in his family to pursue a B.A., but the qualification that tipped the employment decision in his favor was his experience with French.  The program especially needed a counselor who could help with the French class that many of the participants would be taking.  PJ spent the summer gaining valuable leadership skills and sharing his knowledge of French with others, experiences that will come in handy in the world of business, where PJ ultimately aims focus his career.