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International Bilingual Department - August 2014 (EN)


It is with great pleasure that Institut Sankt Joseph can formally announce the launch of our new international bilingual program, open to all primary students (Kindergarten-5th grade) and Secondary (7th grade) students, beginning August 2014.

The time for a program that is designed to offer the academic quality and transferability of Cambridge International Examinations, while simultaneously providing a framework for the possiblity of genuine integration and internationalisation has arrived! Institut Sankt Joseph, a private Catholic school founded in 1858, and represented by students from more than 55 countries who speak 33 different mother tonuges, has decided to take the lead in primary and secondary English/Danish international bilingual education in Denmark.

True Integration-True Internationalisation

It is the firm belief of the school that Institut Sankt Joseph´s bilingual appraoch to an international education is quite distinct from other international programs in the area. The programme will be the first fully integrated English/Danish international programme of its kind in Denmark. Too many times children go to international schools that teach exclusively or primarily in English, and never become fully integrated members of the Danish society they live in. Their friends are mostly other expats, they speak mostly English and they often feel segregated. Conversly, Danish politicians and educators like to talk about internationalisation, but true internationalisation requires more than just English as a second language from 1st or 3rd grade, it requires making international friends, learning together and developing a real understanding of other cultures.

Instiut Sankt Joseph´s new program is designed to overcome these barriers to succesful internationalisation and integration, and in doing so, provide a system that to date, has not come to fruition in the Danish educational system. Our program will have the primary aim to accomodate short term expats, while simultaneously providing a linear system for long term expats and mixed background families residing in Denmark, with an end product being fully bilingual students who are equally prepared to attend a Danish gymnasium or an International high school.

Serving the Local Community

Institut Sankt Joseph has a clear set of values that inform and ground the school culture. Among them is the formation ideal to develop thoughtful caring students who take their lives, opportunities and choices seriously. As a means to achieving this ideal,we believe that community service is essential. Thus, the school offers service opportunities, both during the summer and for all eighth grade students; wherein, children can learn to give back and take responsiblity for their fellow man and the world. In addition, as evidenced by the recent “Be the Change” event at the school, taking responsibility for our fellow man meant raising over DKK 100,000 for poverty stricken families in Niger. This effort was only possible due to the collective spirit and drive of the faculty, students and leadership at the school.

Due to the fact that we are a school located in the Østerbro area of Copenhagen, directly across from the United States Embassy and only minutes from the city centre, gives us the opporunity to be truly part of the heartbeat of the community. In addition, the proximity to Østerport station gives the added benefit of accomodating students that live well outside of the borders of Østerbro.

Building upon the Bilingual Summer Program

As a pilot project, which demonstrated our willingness to engage in bilingual education, we launched our inaugural summer school programme last July. The programme showed just how ready the community was for bilingual, international instruction. We had over 60 children in attendance, split about 50/50 between Danes and students from other countries, all involved in different learning, sports and creative activities. The students were not divided into an English and Danish program, but rather they were part of one unified program. The children showed that differing languages and cultures were not a negative hindrance, but rather a catalyst to expanding friend networks and understanding other cultural perspectives regarding play and learning.

Rich Diversity and Humanistic Education

Our school currently has 23 classes, with over 555 students ranging from kindergarten (6 years old) through ninth grade. The student body is diverse both religiously and ethnically. Only 20% of our students are Catholic, whereas 80% come from different religious backgrounds, or have no religious affiliation. Our strong diversity enrichens our school culture, and we truly strive to make all feel welcome.

Institut Sankt Joseph as a Catholic School, believes that a Catholic education must be essentially understood as a humanities project. As the overall objective, whether it is at the end of the first day of kindergarten, or at the end of 9th grade, every child should be equipped to take on the task of what it is to be human; in short, to be themselves. Thus, our educational project and formation project go hand in hand both in the current educational manner the school operates, and in the international bilingual department to come.

Preparing students for Denmark and Abroad

Institut Sankt Joseph has come a long way since its original founding in 1858 as a French-inspired all-girls school. Today the school is broadly rooted in the Danish school tradition, and has an even mixture of boys and girls from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.

We as a school are convinced that the international programme will continue Institut Sankt Joseph¨s tradition of Catholic-humanistic education that prepares students, both locally and abroad, for whatever the world may bring.

  • For more information please email International Department Leader Thomas Knudsen Mulhern at tkm@sanktjoseph.dk, or to officially register for the International Bilingual Program waiting list please click here