Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson students broaden their learning through study abroad opportunities

Sadhbh Kilroy ’26 stands in front of the Colosseum as part of her study abroad in Italy. Courtesy of Sadhbh Kilroy

While most returned to campus after their summer break, three Branson students chose to embark on exciting adventures for the year. Rosie Slayen, Mirabel Arlander, and Sadhbh Kilroy are all studying abroad this school year, hoping to immerse themselves in various cultures. 

Rosie Slayen ‘25 began her year in Israel, at an American International School, where she participated in their basketball program. 

“I chose Israel because I am Jewish and this has always been a country I’ve wanted to visit,” she said.

Slayen loves to immerse herself in various cultures, as it always brings something new to her life. 

“I enjoy traveling the world with my family, as it gives me an opportunity to meet new people … I also went on the Panama spring break trip, which gave me a whole new perspective on the world.” 

Though Slayen is currently back home in Marin, she loves the strong sense of community she had in Israel, and still feels a deep connection with everyone she met there. She also can’t forget about the gorgeous beaches within walking distance, and the tasty schnitzels. 

“I definitely enjoy the basketball team there. They all speak Hebrew, but I love how I am able to break the language barrier through basketball,” said Slayen, reminiscing on her favorite part of her study abroad.  

Slayen missed the community at Branson, especially her teachers, but she believes studying abroad is worth the time away. 

“Everyone should study abroad or go on the trips provided [by Branson],” she said. “I am able to make a bigger impact on others and gain new perspectives that will benefit me later in life.”

Mirabel Arlander ‘25, another Branson athlete, is currently studying abroad at a tennis academy in the south of France to refine her skills and engage with a new culture. Arlander left for France in September and won’t be returning until late June. 

“I always knew that I wanted to study a year abroad, and I’ve always wanted to go to Europe since my mom is from there,” said Arlander. “I also went to French school growing up, so it is nice to get back into that culture.”

When Arlander isn’t in the classroom or on the court, she enjoys exploring small towns, eating in different restaurants, and trying various French pastries. It helps her to embrace French culture further. 

Arlander, however, also said that the transition to studying abroad could be stressful, and was a big adjustment for her. It was no easy task, but everyone was supportive of her, she said. 

“I would definitely encourage others to study abroad,” said Arlander. “I am really happy that I did this.” 

Asked about what she misses most about Branson, she said, “I miss the community and the nice relationships with teachers. Boarding is just different and I miss knowing everyone.”

Sadhbh Kilroy ‘25 is currently studying abroad in Viterbo, Italy (an hour north of Rome), and is enjoying the break from her usual routine back in the Bay Area. 

“I love Italian food, art, and architecture and thought it would be so cool to be surrounded by something so historical,” said Kilroy. “Before coming here, I only spoke English, but I always wanted to learn a foreign language. So learning Italian is really the thing that brought me here.”

Kilroy also loves the humanities, especially history, making Italy the idea place to study abroad. She has encountered unexpected places where history and everyday life connect.

“There’s this one piazza where there are Etruscan sarcophagi [ancient coffins], that people just casually use as benches,” she said.

Like other students studying abroad, the transition to studying in Italy for Kilroy was also quite challenging. 

“But I am super lucky because I am staying with the most amazing host family who truly feels like family to me,” she said. 

In her free time, Kilroy enjoys visiting various cafes and pizzerias in surrounding towns. 

“I especially love this one restaurant called ‘Spagetteria,’ which has 300 different kinds of pasta — it’s life-changing.”

While Kilroy misses the Branson swim team, the sense of community in Italy reminds her of the one she has at Branson. 

“It’s so overwhelming and I’m so happy to be a part of it,” she said. “It’s really cool to study with a bunch of other Americans who are similar to me.”

Kilroy said that studying abroad may not be for everyone, because it “is much more than a vacation. It means moving away from family and friends, and it involves schoolwork.” 

It was also the best thing Kilroy had ever done for herself. 

“I’ve already learned a lot about the community and independence here, this experience has already sparked a lot of growth,” she said. “I hope to keep having a good time, and one day look back on this year with joy.”

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