The Island School alumni community spans the world and is currently made up of over 2,800 Semester, Summer Term, Deep Creek Middle School, and Gap Year alumni. With such an extensive and ever-growing network, you can find Island School alumni almost anywhere you go! This is the case for Eliza Judson F14 and Jenny Allan S01 who have had the opportunity to bond over a shared Island School connection down under in Sydney, Australia. We’re excited to share a reflection from Eliza on her journey to Australia this year. 

“The Island School will forever remain of the most transformative experiences of my life. I’m sure fellow Island School community members would agree that it can be difficult to put the impact and value into words, but to this day, I enthusiastically describe the program and my treasured memories to anyone that will listen. Moreover, The Island School community and the lifelong friendships I made during my 100 days in Eleuthera only continue to shape me and my future in tremendous ways. 

Back in 2018, I spent a semester studying and traveling around Australia and New Zealand with a few of my best friends from Island School, Maggie Rogers, Melinda Edie, and Courtney Close; to be able to reunite and explore a new, beautiful environment together was beyond fitting and special. I fell in love with this part of the world and vowed to return one day. 

It was an Island School alumni event in NYC last fall that reminded me to seek opportunities to connect with the wider network. I was actually approaching my final months in Manhattan and preparing to start a new chapter in Sydney, Australia, so I figured I could start by updating my details with the alumni team. It was then that Alumni Relations Manager, Megan Platt, connected me to Spring 2001 alumna, Jenny Allan, via email. Funnily enough, Jenny and I soon realized Island School was not our only connection; we were both born and raised in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and attended Hathaway Brown School. We couldn’t believe the overlap of experiences and connections. 

A few months before I moved, I had the chance to briefly chat with Jenny and her husband, Derek, on FaceTime; they offered to pick me up from the airport and host me for as long as I needed upon my arrival to Sydney. I took them up on their offer and spent my first week down under with Jenny, Derek and their two boys, Graham and Freddy. To have an incredible family like the Allans waiting for me on the other side of the daunting, long journey brought an extreme amount of comfort to both me and my parents.

Throughout the last four months, the Allans have played such an important role in my transition into my new life in Sydney; I cannot explain the extent to which they have helped me get my feet on the ground. Jenny and I have become incredibly close as we have such aligned values and experiences; one of our favorite pastimes is reminiscing on our HB and Island School memories. I regularly spend time at the Allan household where I get to join in on family dinners, movie nights, bush walks, and the serenity of life in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

Moving to the other side of the world alone comes with countless barriers and challenges, but Jenny and her family have made me feel incredibly safe, supported, and looked after. They have truly become my Sydney family – my home away from home – and for this, I am eternally grateful.”

If you are looking to build connections with fellow Island School alumni, join the official Island School Alumni Network or reach out to for ways to be involved.