The Cultural Experience

Working closely with faculty who specialize in diverse subjects, you’ll get the chance to build your language skills in French or Italian while studying French and Italian culture, including history, art, literature and film. The French, Francophone and Italian Studies Department offers a disciplinary major and minor, an interdisciplinary major and minor, and a concentration in French minor, as well as a disciplinary minor in Italian Studies. Taking your studies abroad, you’ll immerse yourself in your surroundings and deepen your understanding of French or Italian societyYou’ll graduate with heightened communication skills and a cultural awareness desired by today’s employers. 

Student SpotlightBianca Jameau '24

Majors: French and Francophone Studies, Psychological Science

I was born and raised in Haiti, so I came to the Colleges with a background in the French language. When I enrolled at HWS, my goal was to major in Psychological Science with a minor in French. My sophomore year, my advisor, Associate Professor of French, Francophone and Italian Studies Courtney Wells, and Chair of French, Francophone and Italian Studies Kanate Dahouda, prompted me to pursue an interdisciplinary major.

My favorite part about the program is learning about the many variations within the French language and the variety of cultures in the Francophone world. I'm looking forward to studying abroad in Aix-En-Provence, France where I’ll be exploring and diving deeper into different cultures while creating a new network of peers allowing for cross-culturalism."



Experiential EducationMany WorldsOne Campus

Attend screenings of Italian films or learn how to make crepes with Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants.  

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors. 


No Borders:Global Education

Study dialect shifts in Canada or fine art in France.  

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose. 



Belonging, Diversity and Equity

The French and Francophone Studies program is dedicated to providing a global perspective on French as a world language. Because 59% of daily speakers of French live on the African continent, we are dedicated to the study of French as a global language. In our courses, students study Northern, Western and Sub-Saharan African, Caribbean, Canadian and Vietnamese culture and language, as well as those of France. Through their studies of language, culture, literature and film in our courses, students learn that French language is a means of access and contact with cultures and experiences coming from five different continents worldwide. In the process, we hope that they will gain cross-cultural understanding of themselves, while fostering their sense of tolerance, diversity and respect for difference. – Courtney Wells, chair of French, Francophone and Italian Studies. 

Build a foundation in language and discover a wealth of French and Italian history, art, culture and more. 

FRN 201 - Intermediate French I

Continue on your journey in the French language having completed elementary French.  

FRNE 285 - The Troubadours

Discover the texts, music, and culture of the troubadours of medieval Southern France and their legacy as the inventors of love poetry in the vernacular.  

FRN 355 - Francophone Caribbean Identities

Learn the ways in which Francophone Caribbean writers represent their society in a context of deep alienations, and how they try to reinvent themselves and their community through the diversity of their unique culture and humanity. 

italian studies

Develop your knowledge of the Italian culture and fluency in Italian with the Italian Studies minor. Paired with studying abroad in Rome, the program allows you to immerse yourself in the diversity of Italy through the study of culture, history, politics, art and more. You'll complete the program with skills translatable to a variety of fields including, but not limited to, finance, politics and fashion.

Alum ImpactOpportunitiesto Grow

julia stockwin '22 

Current Position: 
Experience Specialist at EF Education First
Current Location:
Boston, MA

"HWS provided me with a multitude of opportunities to challenge myself both academically and personally. I am most appreciative to have had the flexibility to diversify my studies between two majors, Economics and French and Francophone Studies, and a minor, Italian, in very different academic areas. My experience with the HWS French department specifically helped me to improve upon invaluable skills such as communication, problem-solving, and analysis that I continue to use everyday."

Companies That Employ Our graduates

  • Buffalo Bills 
  • Eastman Kodak Company 
  • IBM 
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 
  • Microsoft 
  • Peace Corps
  • The Museum of Modern Art 
  • New York Magazine 
  • Vegas Golden Knights 
  • World Health Organization 
  • Yale University 

universities where our graduates are studying

  • Boston College of Social Work 
  • Case Western University School of Law 
  • Columbia University 
  • Pace University Law School 
  • Rutgers University 
  • Simmons College 
  • Syracuse University 
  • University of Pennsylvania 
  • University of Utah Law School