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The Department of Modern Languages is committed to preparing all University of Akron students to succeed in the global economy and to become productive and engaged global citizens. Our students achieve linguistic competencies and multicultural literacies, develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and connect with diverse local, national, and international communities. 

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French Language Student Wins Award
French Language Student Wins Award

Josh Dang, who is majoring in French and biology, won the fifth prize ($400) at the annual Northeast Ohio competition organized by the Maison Française de Cleveland, held this year on May 1. It is affiliated with the Federation of the Alliances Françaises in the United States, a nonprofit organization that promotes Franco-American cultural activities. He is pictured at the event with Dr. Maria Adamowicz-Hariasz, a UA associate professor of French.

The 2016 edition of the competition saw participants from such schools as Oberlin College, College of Wooster, and Baldwin Wallace and John Carroll universities. Many have studied in France. Dang honed his speaking and writing skills during two years of classes taken through the Department of Modern Languages.

UA French majors have consistently won prizes at the Maison Française competition since 2003.  

French Major travels with Zips for Haiti
French Major travels with Zips for Haiti

Esther Chung, a recent UA graduate with a French and Political Science major, participated in the service learning in Haiti in January 2016.  The following is a brief description of her experience.

"Zips for Haiti is a wonderful opportunity to serve and to break out of one’s comfort zone. A week is hardly ever enough, but it can still have a significant impact. Our team consisted of 25 members and our week at Institution Univers in Ouanaminthe was spent constructing mosquito net frames for the mission houses, building a new basketball hoop, and teaching English from 3rd to 13th grade. In addition to serving, our team was able to explore the community and its surroundings. We also experienced Haiti’s rich history by climbing the path towards the Citadelle, which was constructed to protect Haiti from France after Haiti had declared its independence.

Haiti is a francophone country, so I had many opportunities to use French. I was able to provide instructions for the younger students in the classroom. I could effectively communicate with the older students if they did not understand a word or phrase in English. Surprisingly, knowing French also helped me to learn a little Haitian Créole. Haiti is so much more than the common misperceptions one tends to hear about in regards to developing countries. I learned from the students I spent time with that Haiti is a resilient country filled with young, intelligent people who one day aspire to make a difference. I encourage anyone who is willing to be challenged in thought, in skill, and in life to consider joining Zips for Haiti."

Former French Major Inducted into UA Sports Hall of Fame
Former French Major Inducted into UA Sports Hall of Fame

On February 26, 2016, Jimmal Ball (French Major) was inducted to the University of Akron Sports Hall of Fame during the ceremony at the Quaker Station Ballroom.  The mission of the Hall of Fame is to recognize student-athletes who have distinguished themselves by virtue of their outstanding performance.  Jimmal started his career on the UA basketball court in 1996 and left Akron in 2000 to play professional basketball in Europe, mostly in France.  He came back to the U.S. in 2014 and received his degree in French in 2015.  Congratulations, Jimmal!

Music, travel, volunteer work: Future M.D.’s full ‘Akron Experience’
Isabella Bartholomew has spent her time at UA learning, growing and giving back. Next stop? Medical school.
The International Factor: Trail-blazing the route from Akron to Paris
The International Factor: Trail-blazing the route from Akron to Paris

After a record-breaking run as a basketball player at The University of Akron, Jimmal Ball, a Canton native and a French Major (2015) became a professional athlete, garnering 3 MVP titles and 4 national championships. As an African-American male, he discussed how race and culture affected his experiences abroad during the Rethinking Race week.

According to one of the participants, Josh Dang, Jimmal discussed his time playing professional basketball in Europe and the experiences that he brought back with him. His time abroad has shaped him into the person that he is today. He further explained the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding. His anecdotes in describing the different cultures he experienced when he played in France, Germany, and Kosovo were insightful in learning to understand others. For example, he mentioned the fear he had when he was on a train with skinheads, the violence in Kosovo, and the business practices of Germany.