The Team

Meet The International's team

Meet the teachers at The International - Academy and Boarding School of Denmark:

Anine Ross

Anine is from South Africa, she has a teaching degree, a degree in Financial Management, as well as a long and varied career of teaching in both Denmark and South Africa. Her broad experience will ensure The International a solid academic footing for her core subjects, IGCSE Mathematics and IGCSE Business Studies, while Anine’s international background will be vital in creating and maintaining an internationally experienced, and interculturally competent, teaching staff at The International.

“I am excited about the opportunity to become part of the unique, international environment amongst both teachers and students at The International, and to be part of the present and future development of The International to the benefit of students and teachers, the local community in Vedersø, and Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality as a whole – an international school attracts the entrepreneurs of the future, and this has positive implications for the wider community.” – Anine Ross.

Apart from her core subjects, Anine has experience as a dance instructor and a choirmaster; something she will put to good use at The International. Anine is trilingual - she speaks Afrikaans, Danish and English fluently.

Anine lives in Vedersø with her husband Jon and two sons, Storm and Shaw.


Paul Friel

Paul is from Northern Ireland and after graduating from Queen’s University Belfast in 1984 he worked in a mixed secondary school for the next 24 years. For the last 7 years Paul has taught at various international schools in Denmark  where he was responsible for the older students and for Cambridge IGCSE examinations.

In Northern Ireland Paul played Gaelic football at Senior level and progressed  to coaching and managing senior adult teams. He was also the Secretary of his local salmon fishing club.

On arrival in Denmark Paul restarted golf and is currently a member of Aarhus Golf Club where he plays off a 4 handicap.

“Having grown up during the ‘Troubles’ and taught in a very divided society, coming to teach in international schools in Denmark was not only inspirational and eye opening but I believe the experience has made me a better person. I saw students of different religions, skin colours, languages, beliefs etc. just getting on with each other.

I firmly believe that as a teacher I should be preparing students for the tests of life and not necessarily for a life of tests. ‘The International’ I believe offers students  unique experiences that will undoubtedly help them in coping with the tests of life they will surely experience and enable them to become global citizens making positive contributions to the society/country they find themselves a part of.

 To be involved in such a unique and exciting project is simply wonderful and as a teacher at ‘The International’ I look forward to using my skills and experience to enable each student to become the best that they can be.”


Diego Giao Garcia

Diego is from Santiago de Compostela, a town in Galicia, northwest of Spain. He graduated in Biology from the University of Santiago de Compostela in 2009. He has always been attracted by the Scandinavian lifestyle, so he decided to continue his education abroad and moved to Denmark, where he received a Master’s Degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Southern Denmark. Diego’s curiosity, motivation, and passion for Science kept growing so he moved to Aarhus University, where he earned a PhD degree in Biosciences in 2016[SFG1] , by his studies about bacteria that create electric currents in the bottom of the sea, lakes and rivers.

Since he was a child, Diego knew he would like to become a scientist. One of the first words he learnt was “why?”, and as a good scientist, he was always asking the reason behind everything. Nature always fascinated him, ranging from the wide variety of rocks and minerals, the living habits of animals, the structure of the atoms, and to the wonders of deep space.

Therefore it was not surprise at all when he decided to pursue a career as scientist. Moreover, besides the purely lab research associated to Science, what he loves the most is teaching. He engages on any public presentation, workshop organization, and teaching activities whenever possible, and after all, he realized that his real passion was teaching. “I believe that my best contribution to society will be to spread a contagious illness that most people get cured when they are young: curiosity. We live in a technological world, so a solid understanding of Science and technology is a must for any individual who has the scope of being a global citizen.”

Diego has been living in Denmark for the last six years, moving from Odense to Aarhus and finally to Vejle, where he lives with his girlfriend, who is a molecular biologist. Diego has joined the school as the IGCSE Science teacher. “I am very excited about sharing my passion for Science with the students and I plan to spark their curiosity about everything in Nature, from the tiny bacteria to the vast black holes in deep space”. Besides Science, he is interested in carrying out extra-curricular activities such as Photography and Music, as taking photos and playing the guitar are two of his favorite hobbies.


Samantha Helps

Samantha is from Melbourne, Australia. She has a degree in Performing Arts, and has worked as a teacher in Australia, France, Spain, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Denmark and America. She always knew she was destined to travel, but didn’t step foot outside of Australia until she was nineteen when she travelled to South Lake Tahoe to work as a ski instructor. She was bitten by both the travel and the teaching bug, and became a qualified Cambridge English Language Teacher in 2011. She has been inspiring curiosity in the classrooms of the world ever since, and managed to collect two extra languages as souvenirs; French and Danish.

As a director and a performer Samantha has worked on a variety of community projects both in Australia and Europe, taking part in festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe. She becomes unreasonably excited about community theatre and creative expression, and is looking forward to working with the students at The International to realise their own creative projects.

After working in many different environments as a teacher, Samantha realised that some classrooms are more conducive to happy-healthy students than others. After much research into schools and teaching systems she decided that the best place to research this further would be in Denmark, and in 2014 she began a teaching Degree in Haderslev. She has formerly worked for University College South Denmark teaching Creative Learning to teacher-students.

It might seem strange to hear, then, that Samantha will be teaching mathematics and the sciences. But actually she began her academic career in engineering, and has a love for the artistry of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology that is inspired by a lofty desire to understand the inner workings of the world. “I like to encourage students to think widely about the possible applications of the sciences, to see that the groundwork they do in school can easily be related to exciting innovations such as Tesla Motors. I think it’s important to give students the skills to understand and enjoy the sciences - not only because they might like to work in this field - but simply because it is so exciting to know about these things.”

Samantha has moved to Vedersø with her partner and is thereby a part of the local community both within and outside the school.


Jon Bøgedal Ross

Jon is from Denmark, and he has worked at The International’s mother school, Vedersø Idrætsefterskole, the previous two years. Together with Alex Mason, Head of Studies, he will be essential in the process of establishing and ensuring the very unique efterskole-spirit at The International. Jon has a massive international experience from lengthy stays in South Africa, England, Sweden, Iraq, and Afghanistan, he has a degree in Political Science and International Relations from South Africa, he has worked with training, education, and security in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and he is a former Royal Danish Army instructor.

The practical experience with global issues and challenges he has gained over the years will be used to make IGCSE Global Perspectives and the various project weeks during the year highly relevant as well as highly relatable.

“It has always been my dream to teach internationally minded students in cooperation with teachers from around the world, as it creates a special sort of energy, which is difficult to create in any other ways or settings. Furthermore, I am very excited about the opportunity to utilise my theoretical and practical knowledge in creating a unique learning environment for young people, who want to submerge themselves in the world around them.” – Jon Bøgedal Ross.

Additionally, Jon has several years of experience with bodyweight training, both as an instructor and as a practitioner - “Bodyweight Training” is therefore also one of the popular elective subjects at The International.

Jon is married to Anine, and he therefore, of course, also lives in Vedersø.

Katharina Kolzow

Katharina represents the Germans in the team of The International. She was born and raised in Berlin experiencing first hand the dramatic changes in Germany during the 80s and 90s. These experiences helped to fuel her curiosity and interest for the diversity of others. 

As a young grown up Katharina decided to move to Denmark to take her teaching degree in an international environment and to follow her dream of exploring the world. She has travelled extensively ever since. She has worked and lived on four different continents, visited over 50 countries and is jet not tired of exploring our planet.

Katharina is a globetrotter by heart and feels the constant need to discover new parts of the world, her best friends on all trips are her backpack and her journal. She has spent a lot of time living with local families to get a country to know at its core. She has worked for and visited many different aid projects, here in Denmark and world-wide for numerous Aid Organisations. Charity is therefore an elective subject at The Inernational that is close to Katharinas heart.

Katharina is an active volunteer with the Red Cross as a Samarit (First-Aid work) in her free time, which gives her the benefit of experiencing many different real life situations.  Besides this, she uses her creative and adventurous side when redesigning her garden, off-road driving, training her husky, working with drama, upcycling, fixing her own 4x4, not to mention rebuilding and designing the cars.

Katharina also now lives in Vedersø.


Melinda Visan

Melinda was born and raised in a bicultural family background, being part of the Hungarian minority in Romania. Respecting and embracing diversity from a very early age she became fond of multiculturism and foreign cultures, propelling her to invest her curiosity in sociological studies.  Discovering her “teaching-gene” during her Bachelor degree in Sociology she graduated as a teacher and a sociologist by 2007.

Passionate about creativity, innovation and ICT she continued her academic path with an exciting blended-learning experience within the frames of an international Master’s in Theater, Film and Multimedia.

Being able to attend most of her classes online, she  lived the life of a “digital nomad”, following her drive to further explore societies and cultures. UK, Greece, Spain and Turkey are places she calls her second home.

Melinda’s first contact with Denmark happened when she came across a uniquely Danish innovation within the field of education, namely the “højskole”, or what you would call “folk high school” in English.  What she found here left a significant mark on her life, both personally and professionally.

She was glad to discover that the values that she believes in are greatly encompassed by this alternative education system, and she became fond of a teaching style that promotes learning through dialogue and social interaction, offering the students freedom while teaching them responsibility.

Once in Denmark she decided to dig deeper into the field of “Journalism, Media and Globalisation” and signed up for a joint Master’s program offered by Aarhus University and the University of Hamburg. Travelling through the academic cultures of  Aarhus, Hamburg and Sydney she equipped herself with skills that she enthusiastically passes on through teaching Global Perspectives, Development Studies, and Media and Communication. 

There is no doubt about the fact that she lives and breathes the spirit of The International:As a person, I like to inspire and I am inspired by people and ideas. Having lived in 10 countries within four continents, I gathered a rucksack of thoughtful, adventurous and nonetheless inspiring stories of my own and others I have met on the way. These have constructed a solid basis of interpersonal skills, independent spirit, creativity, sense of community and teamwork, on which I can draw upon when I contribute to the dannelse’s (educational) journey of the students at the efterskole.”

Melinda has moved to Vedersø like many of her colleagues.