The International – Academy and Boarding School of Denmark: Learning through Exchanging Cultural Values

In recent years, Denmark has gained the status of being one of the best countries to live in. With the growing uncertainty and conflicts in the entire world, Denmark is a nation where peace and happiness are prevailing.

Education plays a significant role in shaping a country, and is responsible for setting an example for other nations. In Denmark, students after folkeskole (primary school) usually decide to join an efterskole which provides appropriate attention and the necessary education while building their personality. Keeping this in mind, The International – Academy and Boarding School of Denmark was started in August 2016. It is located in the historically significant village of Vedersø and lies in idyllic natural surroundings close to the rugged Danish coastline of West Jutland.

The International  is the first and only 100% English-speaking efterskole (middle school) which provides internationally recognized Cambridge IGCSE qualifications. Having a unique and collaborative educational philosophy, the school has already gained national and international acclaim. By coupling Danish efterskole values with an English-speaking learning environment and additionally combining this with outstanding sports facilities and a modern all-purpose campus, the school has quickly become an institution where young people from all over the world meet. The efterskole is specifically designed for students aged between 14 and 17 so that they can choose the career path in their one-year or two-year residential programs to complete their lower secondary education.

The International provides International cultural exchanges, excellence in learning, intercultural competence, personal development and establishing global networks that are at the center of the school’s appeal. However, it is the residential element that underpins its community and cooperative values and which develops students’ independence and enhances their communication skills. With several programs offered by the efterskole, the students develop a great sense of responsibility which makes them better and responsible humans.

The Aim of the School

The mission of The International is to offer students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and study. Together with students from all over the world, they can develop their intercultural competence, enhance their personal growth and obtain internationally recognized Cambridge IGCSE qualifications in English whilst building an international network of friends for life. Being a fully accredited Cambridge International Examinations center, it is able to offer both Danish and international Cambridge IGCSE examinations which ensure that the best form of instruction in English along with the Danish language tuition is provided to its students. Upon graduation, students are prepared for A-levels or IB Diploma courses.

The Ingenious Mind of the School

Alex Mason is the Head of The International. He was born in the United Kingdom and has graduated with Honors in Scandinavian Studies and Danish language from the University of East Anglia. He acquired an MA in International Relations and European Studies before moving to Denmark in 2004.

Paving a career as an English teacher in various educational institutions in Denmark, he was fascinated by the concept of efterskole. After a 10 year tenure in Rejsby and attaining a Diploma in International Education, in 2016, he decided to dedicate himself to establishing this prestigious school as the leading international efterskole in Denmark and ensuring that the students get the best education .

Special Programs and Accreditation

The International offers Cambridge IGCSEs in Science, Math, Global Perspectives, Spanish, German, French and English to its students.

To enhance the global experience and provide the right kind of exposure to students, the school also organizes incredible tours each year like:

  • A one-week trip to a European destination at the beginning of the year, which focuses on community, teambuilding and the history and culture of the country.
  • A two-week world trip to exciting destinations like Australia, USA and Spain.
  • An end of the year trip to a destination in Denmark.

Student’s Life at a Glance

The primary purpose of The International is to create a school that is a home away from home. The school limits its intake to 72 students per academic year to ensure that care and attention are given to every single individual. The school has a brand-new main building as well as comfortable student accommodation in the form of 4-person en-suite dormitories. Students live at the school in cozy rooms of two, sharing a hallway and bathroom between four people. Boys and girls are separated into different rooms. They eat, study, sleep – and have the time of their lives at the school.

Its unique concept and facilities allows students to create their own little international family. “By living together in en-suite rooms of 4, students will develop their social and interpersonal skills and learn to take responsibility for their surroundings and environment as well as each other. In short, The International is a family,” states Mr. Mason.

The school strongly believes that its teachers play a crucial role in the process of molding the future of students. Through mentoring, activities and conversations with the students, they become much more than teachers. Teachers make a real difference for their students throughout their years at the school. Therefore, the school has carefully developed a caring, professional and engaging team of staff with teachers from all over the globe – just like its students.

“The school has relatively low cost compared to other English-speaking markets – all boarding fees and the tuition fee is included in a set price and includes examinations and a week-long European study trip. We have Storytelling, Song, Global Perspectives and International Relations classes each week to help our students develop an understanding of different cultures and each other’s different backgrounds. The most important thing, however, is that our students build friendships with each other across borders and cultures, which really makes them understand our global world in a unique way that cannot be conveyed only through classes and words,” adds Mr. Mason.

Along with the academic curriculum, The International also encourages its students to actively participate in various extra-curriculum activities. The school lets the students choose from a diverse range of electives within sports, the creative arts and more, as well as excellent instructors in these. For instance :

  • Sports: Soccer, Badminton, Dance, Tumbling, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Bodyweight Training, Spinning, Handball, Yoga, Zumba, E-sports and more depending on the students’ interests.
  • Creative: Journalism, Media, Music, Film art, and again more depending on the students’ interests.

The school also has language electives like Chinese, Danish as a second language and Spanish Beginner. Apart from all this, it also releases a school magazine that interested students write in, and the students have their own Student Council as well. The school often participates in Model United Nations events.

Expanding its Horizons

The International is deeply-rooted to its Danish ethics and strives to inculcate it in its school culture. The school wants to deliver the best quality of education to the Danish population while opening its arms for the international diversity at the same time. Further, it also aims to bring its unique international efterskole experience to a larger audience and continue to give its students the best foundation for their academic and personal growth.

Students’ Corner

“It was one of the best years of my life. You can think of so many words – even look up a lot of words – to describe this year. But no amount of words is ever gonna be enough to describe it. I can’t phrase it properly right now, because I’m too busy losing my mind. But nothing can describe the way that a year here can actually change you mentally and emotionally. It’s honestly like a family and sometimes you’ll want to scream at your best friend but we all know that we love each other. These people, they become your real family,” says Julia Morgan

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