College of Charleston student Sally Ott is combining her love of French cuisine and culture with her knack for logistics in her career aspirations.

Sally Ott tours historic sites in France.

Sally Ott tours historic sites in France. (Photos provided)

Ott is a junior double majoring in French and supply chain management. She is the co-president and former treasurer of CofC’s French Club, which has provided her with extra opportunities to practice the language and network with her peers.

That’s why the French program’s study abroad semester in La Rochelle, France, was a perfect fit for her. And with CofC scholarships, including the Huguenot Endowment Scholarship, the Jeffrey A. Foster French Travel Scholarship and a general CofC Study abroad scholarship, Ott says it was the right time to put her skills to the test.

The College Today caught up with Ott as she was finishing her fall 2019 semester in France to find out how the experience connects to her professional ambitions and what she’s learned from living in a coastal city in southwest France.

What are your career interests?

I’m interested in working with a French company in either exportation or manufacturing. The exportation of French food and wine products to the United States has been my main fascination lately.

What kind of French food and wine products are you interested in? What sparked your fascination with them?

I’m looking at cheese, spices, tea, coffee and wine enterprises, which are all organic and BIO companies. I became interested in food products that are produced responsibly because I find it rewarding to work with quality products that help the environment, more so than working in an industrial sector. I would also love to make French food products more accessible in the U.S. through export and supply chain operations.

Sally Ott, center, in La Rochelle, France, with classmates.

Sally Ott, center, in La Rochelle, France, with classmates.

What are the benefits of studying French in combination with supply chain management?

I have found that in studying another language, in general, you learn about many differences in cultural aspects between the U.S. and the country of study. For me, in studying French along with supply chain management, I have a better understanding of what it would look like to do business between French and American companies because of my knowledge of the culture in France. Also, being able to speak French and English is an advantage in communication with companies within the supply chain.

What have you gained from your study abroad experience?

I am studying abroad right now in La Rochelle, France, and it has been a life-changing experience. I have grown in my language skills and because of that, I have been able to communicate with many people who have lived a very different life than me. Having conversations with people of other nationalities has broadened my perspective of how other people see the world.

How did you become interested your majors?

With French, I learned some of the language in high school, and I love the challenge of communicating and thinking in another language.

With supply chain management, in my business statistics class, my professor reached out to me and thought that I had potential to pursue a career in supply chain. I did some research and discovered that the topic of logistics and process management is in high demand, and the subject interested me, so I decided to declare the major.

Do you plan to one day live in France or a French-speaking country?

I do plan to live and work in France eventually. I am currently searching for an internship in France for food exportation, so I am hopeful to see how it turns out!