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Kongens International School, Denmark

Students, teachers, administrators, and alumni were interviewed to explore their understandings of global citizenship education. There were 4 students that participated in 3 in-depth interviews each. There were 3 teachers that participated in 1 in-depth interview each. There was 1 alumni that participated in an in-depth interview. 


DKWC1Having spent more than 8 years at one of the most prestigious schools in Denmark, Jenna unsurprisingly has high academic expectations of herself which she believes have been the driving force behind her commendable performance. A self-proclaimed perfectionist, she confesses to constantly experiencing a tremendous sense of pressure which occasionally renders her vulnerable. However, she is thankful to find solace in talking to her humanities teacher whose focus on experiential learning she particularly enjoys. Born into an artistic family, Jenna also has a particular penchant for singing and has always looked up to her brother who is playing in a band. Outside school, she partakes in various activities, some of which include Amnesty International where she helps raise public awareness of human rights violations. She also feels a strong sense of moral duty which motivates her to organize a fundraising event to help alleviate poverty in Ghana. Having lived in three different countries, Jenna has also developed an appreciation of ethnical diversity and wishes to further her understanding of cultural differences through her interactions with peers who come from different parts of the world and a variety of diversity-focused events at Kongens.

DKWC2The son of two journalists, Hahn is used to living in different countries, allowing him to develop a keen awareness of cultural diversity and a sense of acceptance towards people who may hold beliefs different from his. Yet, Hahn is also an assertive individual who finds no qualms about expressing and defending his beliefs, earning him much admiration from his peers at Kongens. A heavy metal enthusiast, Hahn takes a lot of pride in transforming his own bedroom into a recording studio where he recorded and released an album well-received by fellow metal fans. Unlike his competitive peers at Kongens, Hahn does not consider tertiary education a priority and aspires to pursue a career in the music industry immediately after graduating from high school. As an only child, he maintains a strong relationship with his parents who have instilled in him a firm belief in the value of equality and respect for every individual. Yet, he also admits that their high expectations of him occasionally become his source of anxiety.

DKWC3As a senior preparing to take the International Baccalaureate, Paley often feels a tremendous sense pressure to deliver her best performance, which she attributes mostly to her own expectations and the desire to challenge herself. She also admits that sometimes the demanding curriculum at Kongens creates an overly competitive atmosphere that strains the relationships among her friends. Yet, she finds much comfort sharing her experience with her history teacher with whom she developed a particularly strong relationship upon transferring to Kongens. Besides academics, Paley always allocates some time to further her passion for the arts, especially through painting and music. She also spends a substantial portion of her time with her group of close friends, all of whom come from vastly diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. She strongly feels that their beliefs and values play a crucial role in shaping her present identity.


Administrators and Teachers


Ms. Wilson has spent the majority of her career working at international schools all over the world. She greatly cherishes the constant travelling typical of a mobile international educator as she believes it helps deepen her understanding of people from a variety of backgrounds and develop a sense of tolerance towards differences. The principal of Kongens’ middle school section, Ms. Wilson is a staunch believer in the idea of global citizenship and has strived to promote her belief through an exceptional advisory program in the school. She regards the IB curriculum that Kongens embraces as an important step toward inculcating a global outlook in the students. At the same time, she believes that Kongen’s curriculum actively fosters critical thinking, deep learning and problem solving while encouraging the students to view issues from multiple perspectives. With regard to the school atmosphere, Ms. Wilson contends that Kongens has successfully created a very inclusive community where students experience a strong sense of belonging to the school and tolerance towards differences. She also emphasizes the significance of community service in teaching students about their responsibility as members of a larger community and the impact they can make on those around them. She believes that the success of Kongens’ service program stems mainly from its sustainability and the fact that the program is deeply embedded in the curriculum.


Having worked at international schools for more than 30 years, Mr. Martin considers such school as transient environments perfectly suited for internationally mobile students who often embrace the concept of flexible citizenship. Despite Kongens’ inherent ‘transient’ nature, he contends that the school has had great success in instilling a sense of belonging in its students and views its cultural diversity as a tremendously positive influence on the development of the students’ perspectives. He greatly cherishes Kongens’ inquiry-based learning environment where students acquire knowledge by asking the right questions. In addition, Mr. Martin possesses a keen sense of social justice, which he wishes to impart to his students. Regarding service learning, he argues that meaningful community service should cultivate deep connections among the students in the school as well as between the school and the larger community. Interestingly, Mr. Martin strongly regards himself as a product of the American culture and adds that his extensive international experience only helps him develop an enhanced understanding and sensitivity to people from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.




A sophomore at an elite liberal arts college in America and a double major in computer science and mathematics, Bjørn keeps an incredibly hectic schedule that balances challenging classes and a wide variety of activities. He is a valuable member of the men’s basketball team and a co-founder of the college’s Hackers’ Club whose membership has seen significant growth ever since. At Kongens, Bjørn drew huge inspiration from his computer science teacher whose teaching method and dedication to students’ well-being earned his respect. He strongly feels that Kongens’ holistic IB curriculum thoroughly prepared him for college and is grateful for the wide array of opportunities offered at Kongens. He also believes that the reflection-based education embraced by Kongens has played a significant role in helping him isolate his thinking from preconceptions, which he considers an exceptionally valuable skill in an increasingly interconnected world. Bjørn concurs that Kongens exposed him to a cultural diversity and a range of experiences that can hardly be found at other schools. With regard to global citizenship, he believes that his international experience has given him plenty of exposure to the concept from an early age. Bjørn also appreciates the network of international friends he developed at Kongens but admits that the international nature of the school means that it is sometimes difficult to connect to his friends after graduation.