Tommianne Brockert ‘23 loves studying, working and living in Hawaii.
But she jumped at the chance to study abroad—and she hopes to convince others to do the same.
Brockert, a Psychology major who is minoring in Business Administration, spent the Spring 2022 semester in France through Chaminade University’s study abroad program. She stayed with a host family, took classes at the American Business School in Paris and, she said, tried to squeeze in as many opportunities to learn about French language, culture, society and day-to-day life as she possibly could.
“I took French in high school, but it was a huge learning curve,” she said. “And I was not afraid to play tourist. I visited every famous Parisian landmark that I possibly could … from the Arc de Triomphe to the Notre Dame Cathedral to the Siene. I wanted to really get a feel for the city and its people and I did.”
Brockert also broadened her experience by working, including at an insurance firm and as a babysitter.
She said the thing that surprised her the most was how affordable and seamless study abroad was at Chaminade. She was able to earn credit toward her degree and her tuition was nearly the same. “I did my homework and realized this was a great way to broaden my learning and see the world,” she said.
But Brockert’s whirlwind year didn’t stop there.
Before she jetted off to Paris, Chaminade’s Undergraduate Research and Pre-Professional Programs team encouraged Brockert to apply for a summer Leadership Alliance internship. The program is designed to prepare underrepresented minorities for academic research and graduate study.
It was while she was studying abroad that Brockert learned she had been selected to conduct psychology research at Vanderbilt University over the summer. Reached on an afternoon in July, Brockert was packing for a conference in Connecticut, where she would present her summer work.
At Vanderbilt, she studied misinformation in social media and how to reduce its spread.
“I’d love one day for social media companies to implement what I’ve found,” she said.
The Leadership Alliance opportunity included a full scholarship, covering Brockert’s room and board while studying in Nashville. She also got to enjoy a new city—and she wasn’t disappointed. “There is so much happening here,” she said. “It’s just really opened up my eyes and given me confidence.”
Brockert heads back to Chaminade this Fall for her senior year.
And she’s looking forward to encouraging her peers to try study abroad for themselves.
“It’s been so fun. If you’re a go-getter and you’ve always wanted to study abroad, Chaminade is the perfect place to get going and do that. They’re flexible and they want to make it work for you,” she said.
She added, “If you let go of your fears, so many opportunities are going to open up for you.”
After graduation, she intends to “hit the ground running.”
“Eventually I really want to start my own business,” said Brockert, who was born and raised on Oahu and attended La Pietra-Hawaii School for Girls. She also has the travel bug and is excited about pursuing new opportunities—potentially even overseas. “You have to make the world your oyster. It’s not just going to happen,” she said. “With a positive outlook and spirit, you can accomplish anything.”
Spoken like a true Parisian.