This past weekend I had the great fortune of attending an alumni reunion event for former Brillantmont students at the Setai Hotel in Miami, Florida. A beautiful atmosphere, delicate buffet of appetizers, and lively conversation defined the evening. Many of the attendees had not seen each other for over thirty years!
As I mingled with the guests, I heard some great stories and memories of what it was like to go to Swiss boarding school in the 80s. Here are some photos and highlights of what these amazing alumni are now doing and what they remember most fondly about their Brillantmont experience.
Leticia, who’s family is originally from Nicaragua but who grew up in California, spent four years at Brillantmont International School and had a wonderful experience.
“I made lots of international friends, and despite the distance between us now, there is still that strong bond. We have always been friends, we haven’t stopped talking to each other.”
She went on to tell me about how the shared experience of boarding school abroad still makes for great conversations: “It is a wonderful feeling to be able to go back and revisit great memories and reminisce.” After graduating from Brillantmont, Latricia studied fashion merchandising in the US and has been in Miami since the 90s.
Karen, attended Brillantmont in the mid 80s for one year, and says of that year that it
“instilled in me the ability to be adventurous, while still feeling safe within the confines of the close knit community, a kind of sisterhood. It was a wonderful experience to get the European education and meet people from all over the world.”
I also spoke with Liesl from Arkansa. She said she loved the opportunity that this gathering in Miami provided to see old friends, many of whom she had not seen for thirty-two years!
“It is great to be able to get together and share our old stories of living in the dorms together, learning how to speak French together, going skiing, going on all of our outings…. all the memories I look back on and now have the opportunity to share with those that also experienced it.”
We also had the privilege of having Karen with us at the reunion, an alumna from a family of four who all attended Brillantmont. Karen’s sister-in-law and niece also went to the school and she talked to me about how when her mother first sent her to boarding school in Switzerland, many people were surprised because it was not the culturally normal thing to do at the time where she was from. Looking back on it now, Karen says she was very happy her mother decided to send her abroad:
“I think sending me to Brillantmont International School was the best decision my mother ever made. I came from a very protected environment where I was accustomed to one language, one religion, one way of seeing things… and I get to Switzerland and I meet friends from all over the world! I had roommates who spoke different languages and had very different cultures. Even though it was a culture shock in the beginning, in the end it made me realize that the world is bigger than what I knew.” She went on to say that recently she went back to Brillantmont with her mother and when she got to the school she thanked and hugged her and expressed her gratitude towards her for giving her this opportunity.
“When you are a teenager, or a child, you don’t see the value in the same way, you don’t understand or have that sense of gratitude, but later on in life you are truly grateful!”
A big thank you once again to all of the alumni you attended the event and shared their memories with me! If you have your own photos of the event, please share!