French teaching in Soochow University can be traced back to the 1970s. An older generation of scholars such as Zhuang Lequn had made strenuous efforts over the past four decades, laying a sound foundation for the development of French teaching at Soochow University. In 2003, French Language and Literature (a five-year BA program) was established as a major. The MA program of French Language and Literature started to operate in 2019. Soochow University was one of the earliest institutions to run a BA program in French Studies in Jiangsu Province. After twenty years of development, the Department has developed its own features in terms of student cultivation, faculty building, teaching and research capabilities. As an important incubator for French language professionals, the Department has exerted significant influence on the academia and society at large.

Currently, the Department has a faculty of 8 teachers: 1 chair professor, 1 full professor, 2 associate professors and 4 lecturers. Among the faculty members, there are 4 PhD recipients and 2 PhD candidates, who have made outstanding academic achievements, focusing on a variety of research fields, such as French literature, translation, and regional studies. All the teachers have had studied, visited or lectured in France. Besides, there are 2 native French experts teaching at the Department.

The Department attaches equal importance to both education and research. It gives priority to the innovation of teaching methods and the improvement of education qualities. Our teachers have won the Grand Prize once and the Second Prize twice in national French teaching competitions and 3 education awards at Soochow University. Besides, the Department has published 9 French textbooks and tutorials, running 4 education reform projects and 8 general courses, micro-courses and recorded courses. With the dedication to academic research, the faculty have made remarkable achievements in the research areas of Literary Semiotics, French Eco-Literature and Applied French Studies. The faculty have been awarded research grants by the National Social Science Fund of China, the Ministry of Education, the Jiangsu Provincial Social Science Fund and the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education, and published over 70 high-quality articles, 1 state-level textbook and over 40 translation works. Two faculty members have even been nominated for the Fu Lei Prize for Translation and Editing.

The Department has featured “dual foreign language teaching”, a highlight in the innovative talent training model of the School of Foreign Languages, offering nearly 40 compulsory courses and 20 optional courses to the students, including Basic French, Advanced French, Basic English and Comprehensive English courses, in order to equip the students with a solid foundation in both French and English, an international vision as well as a sound humanistic spirit.

The Department emphasizes the cultivation of students. The students must have a good command of both English and French, 95% of whom have passed TFS-8 and TEM-8, ranking top among the comprehensive universities in China. Our students have done very well by winning top awards in the contests at various levels, such as the First Prize in French Business Plan Competition (2007), the First Prize in French Song Contest in Eastern China (2013), the First Prize in the 1st National French Drama Competition (2017) and the Special Award in the 7th National French Talent Competition (2019).

The Department has signed exchange agreements with some renowned French universities, such as the University of La Rochelle,Jean Monnet University,Grenoble Alpes University,National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations. Annually, over 60% of the French major students can participate in the one-year exchange programs with the four above-mentioned French universities. About 75% of the exchange students are financially supported by the China Scholarship Council or the Soochow University International Exchange Scholarship.

The Department’s graduates are not only proficient in both French and English, but also have comprehensive qualities and strong capabilities. As a result, the graduates are favored by a lot of reputed employers. The majority of the graduates work in government organizations, public institutions, state-owned and foreign-invested enterprises. Annually, about 30% of the graduates pursue further study both home and abroad, of whom the most excellent ones are admitted to the master’s degree or PhD degree programs by the prestigious universities both home and abroad, such as Beijing Foreign Studies University, Nanjing University, Renmin University of China, Beijing Language and Culture University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sorbonne University, Paris Diderot University (Paris 7), ESSEC, State University of New York,University College London, Imperial College London, and University of York, to name a few.

It is our sincere hope that distinguished young scholars around the globe can join us at Soochow University! Let us join hands and shape a greater future together!