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Studying French within European Languages and Cultures

Bachelor’s degree programme in European Languages and Cultures
NB: A-levels/vwo eindexamen/Abitur or equivalent with French as subject is obligatory to be admitted to French as major language.

France has had great cultural, political and historical influence on the Western world. The 1789 Revolution formed the basis for today’s parliamentary democracies. And even now France is still playing an important role in Europe – which is why experts in the French language and culture will always be needed.

France has always been one of the most popular holiday destinations for the Dutch. However, the two countries are also closely linked in other, less obvious and particularly historical ways. The Dutch language, for example, was strongly influenced by French. French writers and painters served as important frameworks of reference for the Dutch culture, as did French philosophers such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Sartre. The French Revolution dramatically changed societies throughout Europe. And even today France, together with Germany, plays an internationally leading role as a major power factor in the European Union.

Why French?

Although linguistic, historical, cultural and political issues may all play a role in your decision to study French, most importantly you should be truly interested in the language. The French specialization within the degree programme in European Languages and Cultures focuses on French language and culture as well as on Europe, and sometimes the wider world. The French linguistics course units, for example, will familiarize you with types of French spoken outside France, in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and in Canada. Language plays an important role in cultural and political identity issues in the city and region of Québec. Two serious attempts to make Québec independent of Canada failed in the past. Introductory course units in Language and Society, which you will follow together with other students of European Languages and Cultures, will help you understand and analyse the how and why of such processes.

European Languages and Cultures with the French specialization will teach you to speak and write French fluently and develop into an academically trained expert in French language and culture in a European context. Your proficiency will get an extra boost during your stay abroad in your third year, for which the University has contacts with universities in Strasbourg, Montpellier, Lille and Toulouse.

Knowledge of French language and culture will make you deployable in a wide variety of fields. You could become a teacher in secondary education, or start a career at a European institution, in the business world, at a financial institution, the Dutch embassy in Paris, or in tourism. Much depends on your Minor and the profile you choose.

Back to European Languages and Cultures .


Hilde de Jong (student of ELC French)

I decided halfway through my final year of pre-university education that I wanted to study French. I was curious about the city of Groningen and the new degree programme in European Languages and Cultures also sounded very interesting. I was particularly enthusiastic about the amount of choice the programme offered – would I like to know more about politics and history or about how language works?

Of course I had French classes at secondary school, but that’s not the same as really studying the language. Learning the pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar takes a lot of time. I also find academic writing and analysing things very exciting compared to what we did at school.

I am also following the Honours Programme to complement my studies. This is a great option if you are looking for an extra challenge – it’s very interesting and the level is high.

Last modified:08 February 2022 4.06 p.m.
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