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French philology specialists in Bulgaria have good opportunities for professional realization

Photo: BGNES

Francophone traditions in Bulgaria have a rich history dating back to the Bulgarian Renaissance. Even at that time, the French culture and language were held in high esteem by the more educated part of our society as a carrier of the European values. The Department of French Philology was established in 1923 as part of the Faculty of History and Philology of the St Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia. For more than a century, it has been training translators, teachers, lecturers and other professionals with a high level of proficiency in the language of Voltaire. 

"It is a versatile education that offers a wide range of electives, including a large number of master's degrees to build on this knowledge," says Assoc. Prof. Margarita Russki, Head of the Department of Romance Studies at the Faculty of Classical and New Philology (FCNF) of the University of Sofia. The electives focus on art and culture, language, translation, communication technologies in education, project work and others. The aim is to provide future professionals with good opportunities for professional realisation in life:

Assoc. Prof. Margarita Russki

"In this 4-year bachelor's programme, the electives can be combined into three separate strands or, as we call them, separate elective modules. Language, Literature and Art' is one. "The second is the Business Module and the third is the Pedagogy Module, which provides a direct opportunity for a career as a school teacher. The other two modules provide knowledge in more technical areas or are related to art and culture," explains Assoc. Prof. Margarita Russki.

French, also known as the language of love, not only sounds beautiful and melodious, it is also a smart choice for young people. It turns out that specialists in French philology have great opportunities in the business world: "Especially in Bulgaria, the demand for our graduates from French companies has increased in recent years. Some of the companies organise additional courses and I think they combine the two types of knowledge and skills quite well," says Ms Russki.
French philology is also taught at two other Bulgarian universities - the Universities of Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo, but these have redirected their studies towards applied linguistics and the combination of French with other languages. French is also taught in the African Studies programme at the University of Sofia. "We study the Francophonie and reflect on the Francophone world, with an emphasis on countries outside France," explains Assoc. Prof. Georgi Zhechev, lecturer in the Masters programme "Francophonie, Multilingualism and Intercultural Mediation" at the University of Sofia. 

Assoc. Prof. Georgi Zhechev

"Our focus is on all 5 continents, oceans and seas where there are 'pieces' of the Francophone world and we try to put this puzzle together so that we have a common picture of the role of the French language in different societies and cultures - says Assoc. Prof. Zhechev. We have multilingualism because outside France, French is always in contact with other languages and people who speak it, even as a mother tongue, are bilingual or even trilingual. The idea is that if you have a good knowledge of the Francophonie, its specificities in different parts of the world, you can be useful to institutions - ministries, municipalities, regional governments - that are trying to develop economic or cultural and educational cooperation with these countries in this part of the world".

In fact, says Mr Zhechev, students find jobs easily after graduation. The third semester, which includes a mandatory internship, helps them do so. "It can be in an institution, a ministry, an educational institution or abroad in a French-speaking country. For example, we had an internship in Geneva at the United Nations," says Assoc. Prof. Zhechev. 

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