Furman supports a thriving culture of undergraduate research. When you’re a modern languages and literatures major, you can work closely with mentors and faculty members to research topics you’re passionate about, whether at home or abroad.
The question is not ‘What will you do with your language major?” but rather, “What can employers not do with your experience gained from your language major?” and the priceless skills you will develop while immersed in a foreign language for research and internships.
Domestic and international French-speaking internship opportunities lead many students to major in French. Recently, a French-Psychology double major has interned in social work with disadvantaged communities in Nice, and a French-Art History double major has worked with curators at the inimitable Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. Financial support is available for these endeavors thanks to our competitive Elaine Duffy Childers award. In addition, each summer a French major (also studying Politics and International Affairs) interns at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. In the Greenville area, internship opportunities include interpreting for refugees or serving as a language immersion teaching assistant in a local school. For students interested in pursuing academic research, faculty regularly collaborate with students on topics ranging from the relationship between literature and astronomy at the court at Versailles to studies of prize-winning authors’ writing about transnational migration.
Studying German at Furman opens doors to a plethora of internship and research opportunities. In fact, since 2009, German Studies has remained the program at Furman whose participants have earned the highest number of international post-graduate awards. Examples of such international recognition now include the more than 20 majors who have secured fellowships from the Fulbright Program, DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), or CBYX (Youth Exchange for Young Professionals), making advanced study or work abroad possible after graduation. These fellowships, as well as summer internships at prominent sites like the Max Planck Institute, have led our alumni to successful careers in a wide variety of professional fields, from law and medicine to business and marketing, to journalism, government, the nonprofit sector, and start-ups. Students wishing to take their German to a still higher level can collaborate with faculty on literary translation projects.
Our Spanish majors experience the professional world directly, working closely with faculty on translations, interviews with authors, and studies of the history, linguistic features, and needs of Hispanic communities locally and internationally. One award-winning project involves students in interviews with native speakers, converging toward a documentary connecting the life experience of Colombian workers with the history of the Greenville textile industry. Elsewhere in the Greenville area, selected students serve at a local nonprofit and earn a stipend for their work, and Spanish students interested in health careers practice medical interpretation with faculty at a local hospital. Participants in both the Madrid and Chile study away programs do directed research on a topic related to the culture of the host country. A summer internship program in Madrid gives students access to an invaluable experience working in a hospital, school, business, or non-profit. Irreplaceable opportunities like these have led the majority of our alumni surveyed to agree strongly that their major has benefited them both personally and professionally.
How will you and your future employer benefit from your language major? Talk to us and find out.