The Team

Meet The International's team

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

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.”


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.