Why study French or Italian?
More than 300 million people use French and Italian in their daily lives in different parts of the world. In today’s global economy, in which the European Union is increasingly important, knowledge of one or both of these languages, when combined with English fluency, offers a powerful advantage to those entering the job market or going on to graduate or professional training. The study of French and Italian is, moreover, an intellectual adventure that leads to the core of Western civilization. In language, literature, the arts, the media, political theory, philosophy and religious thought, France and Italy have played key roles in shaping the West as we know it today. Great scientists, artists, explorers and thinkers belonging to these two cultures have radically transformed our ideas about time, being, truth, justice and power.
At UCSB, the Department of French and Italian offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in French and the BA degree in Italian Studies. Our students of French and Italian learn to master the fundamental skills of speaking, reading and writing, and acquire a thorough background in these languages and cultures, while also developing their critical thinking and analytical capabilities. The French major introduces students to the key texts and traditions from France, Belgium, Canada, the Caribbean, Africa and other French-speaking countries in the world. The Italian Studies major emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to the Italian-speaking world, by combining the arts, humanities and social sciences. Our French and Italian majors often double major with Comparative Literature, Linguistics, Global Studies, History, Music, History of Art, Film and Media Studies, Theater and Dance, or Feminist Studies, to name a few examples.
What can I do with French or Italian?
Careers in all facets of international business, from marketing and media to banking, law, finance, trade, entertainment and communications, require a good grasp of at least one foreign language, such as French or Italian. So do careers in international relations, diplomacy, science, teaching and the arts. Other career opportunities include translating and interpreting, journalism, publishing, foreign service, civil service, humanitarian aid, international business, international relations, travel and tourism, library sciences, and other international, non-governmental organizations.
What Are Some Possible Career Options?
Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. French and Italian majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include:
- Diplomatic Translation
- Exporting and Importing
- Foreign Service
- Human Resources
- International Business
- Medical Translation
- Software Translation
- Software Documentation Translation
- Foreign Language Teaching
- Teaching English as a Second Language
What Can I Do To Make My Major in French or Italian More Marketable?
- Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
- Choose a complementary minor.
- Specialize in an area within the major; take courses in related fields.
- Develop your computer skills.
- Study abroad.
- Work with a professor on a research project.
- Join professional associations.
- Get involved in student clubs.
- Participate in community organizations.
- Seek out leadership positions.
- Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
- Network with others in fields that interest you.