Thanks to a staff that is comprised of a native of France and a native from French-speaking Canada, the program takes a different approach to the study of French than most other French programs in the fact that it stresses the study of the French language and francophone cultures and civilizations. It strives to make the study of French a very practical and up to date experience. The faculty members use the interactive approach in their teaching, and online technology so that students are exposed to various voices and accents. At the elementary and intermediate levels, most assignments are done online outside of class by the students in the comfort of their homes. Some of the upper level courses are being taught online. Throughout the program, an emphasis is placed on learning the language as part of a culture and asking students to compare and contrast their culture to the francophone cultures. Literature is used as an illustration of the francophone countries being studied at different historical periods. Students are urged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities to go and study in Quebec or in France.
Missions and goals of the French program
The city of Presque Isle is located in Northern Maine where a sizable part of the population is of French Acadian or Quebecois descent. Geographically, Presque Isle is also neighboring New Brunswick, an officially bilingual province of Canada, where many families have kept their French language and traditions. Finally, Quebec City is closer to Presque Isle than Boston is! Therefore one of the French program missions at the University of Maine at Presque Isle is to keep the French language and heritage alive in this region.
French is also to be put into the world perspective. According to La Documentation française, French is spoken by some 200 million people in the world. Apart from English, it is the only other language to be spoken on every continent. An official language of the European institutions and of world organizations such as the UN, NATO, and the Red Cross, French is the ninth language used in the world. Because of this, French is a language of global communication, of modernity, and also of scientific research. Twenty-seven countries use it as their official language, and thirty-six more use it widely. Studying French will allow students to become acquainted with other cultures in the world, a very important aspect in the education of college students in the 21st century.
Le français est avec l'anglais l'une des deux seules langues parlées sur tous les continents. Il est en outre la 9e langue la plus utilisée dans le monde.
Finally, another very important mission of the French program at the University of Maine at Presque Isle is to prepare education majors to teach French at the elementary or secondary level in Maine or anywhere in the United States. In addition, the program prepares Canadian students who want to teach in French immersion programs in Canada, especially in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
In spring 2008, students from the French for Professionals course translated into French the Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle website, making the airport the only airport in Maine to have a bilingual website. The link is: http://www.flypresqueisle.com/
Then click on the "français" button on the left of the page.
In the past one student created her own French lessons and taught fourth grade students at one of the elementary schools in Presque Isle.
Most of our graduates have gone on to become French teachers in the State of Maine and in New Brunswick and a few have become librarians or customs officers.
"The French courses that I have taken, at the university, have greatly increased my familiarity with the language and with those who speak it. Although the coursework could be difficult at times, I found the content to be just as fascinating as it was challenging. The professors are always enthusiastic and willing to help outside of the classroom. This might sound bizarre, but in studying French, I have come to more thoroughly understand my own language and my own culture. More importantly, I have developed an appreciation for both languages and cultures. I would, without hesitation, recommend the French program to any interested prospective student." -- Emerson Wright, French minor