Hannah Brockman is heading to France

Ripon College student will study abroad in Montpellier, France in the fall semester

Brockman at Minnehaha Falls, Minnesota

Hannah Brockman, a second-year student at Ripon College, once feared that the opportunity to study abroad in college would not be possible amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it appears that this fear has been put to rest, as Brockman will head to Montpellier, France to study world languages in the coming fall. 

Brockman has been wanting to study abroad for a couple of years now due to her passion for learning world languages and traveling, but the opportunity to do so is one of the many college experiences that the pandemic influenced when it hit in 2020. 

“I remember feeling quite hopeless when the pandemic first began […] because I thought I would have to attend a few years, if not my entire college education online,” Brockman said.

However, Brockman recalled that her hope was rekindled when her Spanish and French classes wound up meeting in person. 

“It was the first day of Intermediate French; I heard Madame Poncelet speak and I instantly knew I needed to study abroad. You could say that I have been waiting to study abroad since the fall of 2020,” she said.

Two years later, in the fall of 2022, Brockman’s dream of studying abroad will become a reality, despite Covid-19 and her initial fears.

Brockman’s study abroad destination

Being a double major in Spanish and self-designed French with the hopes of becoming a world language teacher and translator on the side, Brockman intends to enhance her world language skills during her study abroad trip. She will do so by taking 12 credits of French, 3 credits of Spanish, and 1.5 credits of Italian at Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier. Each class will be taught in French, so she will have little exposure to English throughout the semester-long program. 

“I am excited to be immersed in a different kind of student life as an international student, which will be quite a different experience for me,” Brockman said.

Outside of the educational program, she hopes to explore France and visit her friends in surrounding European countries such as Belgium and Spain. There will be several weekend trips where she will have the opportunity to visit many French destinations and further refine her French language skills.

Brockman on her first day of her sophomore year at Ripon College

“I hope to learn some of the cultural and linguistic nuances of Montpellier and/or France in general. I have dedicated the last three years of my life to learning French, but it is really hard to make connections to the language without seeing it in action. There is no place in Wisconsin I can go and expose myself to French speakers,” Brockman said.

After her semester abroad, Brockman intends to return to Ripon and share her passion for the French language and culture with her peers. She also hopes to serve as an inspiration for other students to take the opportunity to study abroad.

“I want to share my story and experience of studying abroad with students at Ripon College when I return. I want to be an example for future students to study abroad, especially those with barriers, financial or otherwise. I identify as a student with a learning disability, use Student Support Services, and am not made of money. Many think you can’t study abroad with these barriers and I want to prove them wrong,” she said.