Page 1

Volume 1, Issue 2

The new

Copenhagener Thoughts from and about our school

Copenhagen International School

March, 2011

Copenhagen International School Hellerupvej 22-26 Hellerup Denmark

The New Copenhagener Contents:

Making smart choices for further study


Halfway from Home


Catching up with an alumnus -Astronaut Andy Mogensen


East of Eden - Pastiche


Stories give wings


A lucky star


The IB: the ‘enduring tension’ of fragmentation


Snapshots in time.... A quick peek into CIS life...


The Annual Fund


Final Thoughts


Acknowledgements 41

The New Copenhagener page 5

Making smart choices for further study

By Kristina Dodier

CIS College Counsellor Navigating the ever-changing road of higher education: facts, tips, and tricks for being well prepared during your university search I was not surprised this morning when I received an update from the “Common Application” (the site for most US applications) in my inbox stating: “New Application Record Set.” The email highlighted this information: “The Common Application set a new single-day record on December 31, 2010, when students submitted 127,175 applications. Factor in supplements and school forms, and the online system processed 3.5 submissions per second on that day. As of January 15, applicants had submitted 2.1 million applications, surpassing the total volume for entire 2009-10 admission cycle.” This information is simply overwhelming. When I went through this process ten years ago we chose around six universities including a “reach” and a “safety.” The universities that were once safety choices have now become

highly competitive and the prestigious Ivy League universities receive upwards of 30,000 applications, hence making them nearly impossible to receive admittance. For example, Brown University recently reported that “it’s received about 31,000 applications for the class of 2015, or 3 percent higher than last year. It expects an incoming class of roughly 1,485 students” (The Daily Reporter). The Ivy Leagues accept as low as 7% of its applicants, making it exceptionally difficult to be admitted. While the acceptance rates go down, the tuition goes up. Including tuition, room and board, etc. universities are charging upwards of $52,000 per year. The UK has also become increasingly competitive and now has a tuition increase for EU students who once paid next to nothing to attend university. I was reading through “The Sunday Times University Guide 2011” and was alarmed by the discrepancy between the number of applicants for a course and the number of students actually accepted. Oxford University has 16,052 applications for 3,265 places (The Sunday Times, p. 47). The University of Leeds, which in terms of academics requires a significantly lower IB total score (about 30 points for each course as opposed to Oxford, which requires at least 39+), receives 51,712 applications for 7,141 places (The Sunday Times, p. 38). Unfortunately the current application cycle will probably be record breaking for the UK. Students who would have typically taken a gap year are applying now to avoid the raise in fees, which will take place in 2012. At the CIS International School Counselors Conference in Monaco this past November, I attended a workshop that delved into the intricacies of the increase in UK tuition fees. David Nightingale

from the University of Kent was the presenter. He explained that for EU students, the tuition will not exceed £9,000 per year. International student fees will remain the same (around £12,000 per year). The overall plan is for the student to pay back the loan once he or she is earning more than £21,000. It is believed that the removal of public funding will lead to problems in the future. Only time will tell how significant this change will have/may have. As a university counselor, how do I advise students who are in the university planning process? Although the above information is daunting and overwhelming, with the right planning and organization, students will find a suitable university. Students should start researching possibilities early, even if it is just simply narrowing down the type of university one sees him/ herself attending. The most productive meetings I have with students are when a student comes to me with a list of questions, possible choices and possible career paths. Furthermore, students need to focus on the right match rather than a glossy institution name. When I say match I mean, does the student want large or small classes? Does the student’s learning style match with the institutions philosophies and mission statements on teaching? Does the student want a heavy research-based university or a liberal arts curriculum? Is the student happier in a bustling city or in a more remote area with more campus focus? For more questions like these, please refer to my university handbook at the end of this article. To see the results of last year’s applications, follow this link that lists where the class of 2009/2010 currently attends university: Here are some tips for students who are beginning the planning process: • Be Realistic: as the application numbers sky rocket, admissions officers are forced to rely on numbers. For example, if on col-

legeboard ( it is articulated that the average student accepted to a given university has 650+ on each component of his/her SAT, chances are if you do not have the numbers, you will not be accepted. While there are always exceptions to the rule, be honest with yourself about matching up numbers. Of course, still apply if this is your dream university, but have a backup plan. For the UK, if you do not have the entry requirements

for a particular course (the total predicted grades), 9 times out of 10 you will not be given an offer. Representatives from Scotland who visited CIS confirmed that they rarely make offers to students who do not have the bare minimum requirements. • Think outside the box: if you are willing to live in other parts of the world, consider universities outside of the US and the UK. University of British Columbia in Vancouver ( is consistently ranked one of the top 50 universities worldwide, has low tuition fees and the possibility of receiving credit if you achieve a 7 on a subject on the IB Diploma. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (ranked 35 in the world in the “Top Uni-

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versity Guide”) has entrance scholarships for IB Diploma Holders and in 2008 was ranked number 39 in the world’s top 200 universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement ( Here is a list of more universities to consider that are ranked in the “Top University Guide 2010,” which ranks the top 100 universities in the world: Australian National University, McGill University, University of Tokyo, University of Toronto, National University of Singapore, Ecole Polytechnique, Trinity College Dublin, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Amsterdam, University of Copenhagen, University of Alberta, University of Aarhus and many more! • Start early: Research and narrow down your list before you enter your final year of the Diploma Program and have outlines prepared for your personal statements and essays. The university list needs to be comprehensive and should include safety choices, reach choices and choices that match a student’s scores and grades. • Be skeptical of “rankings” and articles on the internet discussing “ranking”: There is a wealth of information regarding universities. When reading a university ranking list, make sure you check the source. If it is not a reputable magazine or newspaper (i.e. “The Sunday Times University Guide” or “Newsweek’s” University-focused articles) then it may not be a list a student should base his or her choices on. Another point to keep in mind is, what is this article actually ranking? Student satisfaction? Teaching quality? Research? When a university has heavy research numbers in their favor, sometimes this means that the PhD qualified professor is in a lab doing research while a Teaching Assistant runs the lectures. If a student wants exposure to the professor, make sure that he or she actually conducts lectures. On the other hand, some students are happy with a large lecture hall with an instructor leading the discussion.

I went to a small liberal arts college where my professors (who all had PhD’s and were published) in their fields not only ran the classes (some as small as six students in a class), but they had office hours where students could frequently meet with them. This style suited my learning needs, but it will certainly not suit everyone, thus researching teaching styles, class sizes, etc. is a major factor in determining the match for a student. • Email professors, reps and admissions officers/attend university visits here at CIS: Admissions officers love hearing from students, yet students rarely call universities! If you have a question, call them. If you are interested in a particular course, a department or program at a university, email and inquire. If you are worried about your scores, grades, or overall application, call someone from the university and discuss the issue. It shows you are proactive, care about your future and are not afraid to find out answers. Come and speak to the university representatives who visit CIS regularly. Here is the list of universities who have visited our school thus far this year: Building relationships with admissions officers, etc. gives you an advantage over a student who they do not know. This simple action can give you an edge over another candidate. If a university has podcasts of professors and their lectures, tune in. You gain insight on a university level classroom and it gives you something to preface in an interview. An admissions rep will be impressed that you took the time to explore lectures through technology and had an opinion on the content or discussion. • Visit campuses even if you have no idea where you want to go: seeing university campuses is imperative. If you are planning a trip to visit universities, include a city campus, a spread out campus, a campus in the country, large campuses and small campuses. A student must match his or her own needs, expectations and comfort with

the campus. Only the student knows what his or her initial reaction will be to a university. • Be open-minded about vocational universities: there are a plethora of UK universities that include a “Sandwich Course.” This is simply a year of work within the industry one is studying at his or her course. In our current economy, it is pertinent to gain valuable work experience while networking with individuals within fields of study. Many students who do well in a work placement get a job offer waiting for them after graduation. Examples in the UK: Bath, Bournemouth, Brunel, Lancaster, Loughborough, Northumbria, Oxford Brookes, Surrey, Portsmouth, Plymouth. In the US, students should consider universities such as Northeastern. Northeastern has a co-op program where students work as part of their education. Students often receive jobs right out of Northeastern simply because of their contacts within their field. • If you are not sure, consider taking a gap year: A gap year can be a time of tremendous growth and self-discovery. In the UK, students choose a specific course and therefore should be sure about the subject. A gap year is the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience in the field through an internship, volunteer position or job shadowing placement. Many students incorporate a service trip as part of their gap year. The community service will enhance your US application whereas in the UK, you will have a greater understanding of the course you want and be applying with your actual IB Diploma score rather than a predicted score.

advisors and educators can guide students along this process, the student has to advocate for his or her own needs within a university choice. If a student is not happy and fulfilled at even the “best” university in the world, his or her grades will likely suffer, thus hurting the overall experience. Parents and students are always welcome and encouraged to set up meetings with me to discuss the university application process further. For more details, please refer to my University and Careers Handbook: This text is a link to the university and careers page on the CIS website which includes my university and careers handbook as well as articles for further reading: Sources: The Associated Press. “Brown University reports record number of applications for Class of 2015.” Daily Reporter 18 January 2011: 1. 25 January 2011<http:// > Murphy, Colm, Kate Butler, Alastair McCall, Zoe Thomas, Nick Rodrigues and Sue Leonard. “The Sunday Times University Guide 2011.” The Sunday Times 19/09/2010: 16-62. It is a newspaper as well as a website: sto/?login=false&url=http://www.thesundayti mes. O’Leary, John, Nunzio Quacquarelli, and Martin Ince. Top Universities Guide 2010. 4th ed. London: QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, 2010.

• Be true to yourself: While parents, teachers,

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Halfway from Home

By Bheka Pierce

Diploma Program English Teacher

In high school west of Boston back in the ‘60s,

I was the shy, skinny, awkward, close-lipped kid, who tended to slink along the corridor walls hoping no one would notice his existence. The day before the ordeal of an oral presentation, I would think: “If the Russians are going to send those ICBMs in the near future, I hope they do so before third period tomorrow.” As such, the last occupation on the planet I planned to pursue was that of a teacher. In my guilty bystander’s opinion, they were halfway between saints and basket cases. (This opinion, just by way of incidentally, has not changed much over the years.) By the fall of my senior year at Rutgers, where I was majoring in English simply for the guilty pleasure of reading dynamite novels, plays, and poems everyday, my Uncle Samuel had begun sending curt letters, suggesting I get a physical, the better to be ready for boot camp the instant I graduated.

He wanted to send me to a place on the other side of the globe called Vietnam before people there in black pajamas and straw hats could topple dominoes all the way to San Francisco. I myself tended toward striped, flannel pajamas and baseball caps. It seemed to me a different taste in fashion was insufficient cause to go to their country to shoot hunks of lead at them while they reciprocated in my direction. I’d heard President Kennedy’s brand new Peace Corps was giving military deferments for traveling to faraway places as fledgling teachers. Thus did I fill out an application and put as my country of choice Fiji, which had three dotted letters in a row, was—if memory served—an island, and seemed invitingly exotic. I thought no more about this until spring when a letter from Washington arrived to say I’d been accepted. Some nameless bureaucrat, however, had crossed out Fiji and penned in Swaziland, wherever that might be. I would gladly send this bureaucrat a case of fine South African wine for such has always been the lucky happenstance of my life. Swaziland proved to be a former British Protectorate in southern Africa, three quarters surrounded by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique on its eastern border. If the African continent is a skull in profile, Swaziland is an incisor in the lower jaw. I was sent to a four-room cement-block and corrugated-iron roofed school in a remote, rural valley. The cultural shock was minimal compared to my earlier move from New England to New Jersey. My headmaster handed me a single copy of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and a single piece of chalk. He wished me good luck. The first morning several of my students greeted me with, “Good

afternoon, madam.” Said I to myself, “This should be interesting.” After we’d finished Act I, after I’d asked at the end of every class if there were any questions, after they all said in unison, “Oh, no, sir, please, thank you very much, sir,” I gave a quiz. The highest grade was 17%. I asked what the heck had happened. My star, Paulos, whose I.Q. must have been around 150, said, “Please, sir, we are very sorry, sir, but we do not understand one word you are saying.” I asked why not. “It seems,” said Paulos, “you are speaking from down in a deep hole.” Meaning, I belatedly realized, my nasal, New England twang. ‘Twas then I learned the most valuable lesson of my teacherly life. For important stuff: say it, write it on the board, and say it again. After that, my students and I clicked. If I became annoyed with them, Paulos or another would say, “Please, sir, ‘be not out with us.’ Act I, scene one, line sixteen.” I got bitten by the teacher bug, and every single member of that class—proving God protects the innocent— passed the exam sent out from England. In July, I was summoned to Mbabane, the mountainous capital city, to pitch in a softball game against British volunteers, after which they were planning to destroy us in rugby. In the bottom of the third, I chanced to see a red-headed beauty standing on the sidelines with the British volunteers, sipping champagne, eating cucumber sandwiches, and breaking hearts. By the six inning, by which time this same beauty was standing with us, sipping beer, eating hamburgers, and breaking hearts, I was head over heels. That is a long and lovely story in itself, but we now need to cut to the chase after I won the softball game, after Britta, the

beauty in question, and I were married and teaching at a bush school built decades earlier by her Danish/Norwegian missionary father. Our students, God love ‘em, were eager, but we worried they would not have mastered English by the time of the Junior Certificate Exams at the end of tenth grade. Britta thought a nightly journal assignment might help, ten lines or so in an exercise book, enough for them not to go so many hours each day without English. We sounded out our students. Most seemed willing enough to give it a shot. All, given African oral tradition, given that siSwati had yet to be transcribed, had no idea what a journal was. Rather than provide instruction and examples, we decided it might prove interesting were they to evolve their own definitions. If in the process of learning to differentiate conditional clauses, they managed to invent their own forms, so much the better. We asked them to write about anything they wanted, about whatever touched them or made them laugh, whatever they dreamed of or wished to remember when they were toothless. They might write about the hawks bothering their favorite laying hens or what their grandmother told them of the old days one morning by the river. The response was astonishing. Nearly everyone wrote. Within a month, most needed more than the ten-line minimum. Some, who used English with difficulty during the school day and each afternoon walked back five miles and five hundred years into the high hills, were averaging a page a night, nearly every night. By the stubs of candles, long after they’d ground the maize, fetched the water, and split the wood, they were pouring themselves into their own words. Their journals spoke to some urgency within them. Initially, we’d assumed it must have

The New Copenhagener page 11

something to do with the magic of the written word, of recording experience for the pleasure of outwitting time. Although this magic may have paled some to our semi-jaded Western eyes, we sensed that in Swaziland during those years it had just begun to sparkle. Evenings, while cooking fires marked the kraals dotted across the surrounding hills, our students, who knew from their grandparents and parents around those same fires how to tell stories, were teaching themselves how to write them down. As we read between us thirty or forty journals of an evening, the great Cherokee chief Sequoyah often came into my mind. It seemed I could feel resonating in our students’ words what he must have felt while using a splintered arrow and a level patch of river sand to create a written alphabet that would, as he’d said, “make certain things fast ... like catching a wild animal and taming it.” This magic gave way to greater mysteries. Our students soon discovered they could—in ways not available to them before—legitimize their own lives. After years of Western education, after a decade of hearing about white people’s achievements, after spending more than half their lives being told about Christ, Copernicus, and Charlemagne, they were suddenly being asked to tell about the times they hunted bee hives and rabbits, chased after cattle, and fashioned from clay their own cattle. For some reason, their English teachers wanted to hear about the night their brother left for the mines of Johannesburg, never to return to his father’s home. Abruptly, their own lives and culture had currency within their school world. These teachers were putting in the margins red-inked stars and smiling faces, and at the end adding encouraging comments and A’s for writing about something as simple as how to yoke oxen, or something as small as hoped-for shoes before winter. Not many of our students were slow; few missed the chance to find before their own eyes their own lives on the accumulating pages. We had, by dumb luck, stumbled onto a

cultural Northwest Passage. Carried along by a lilting Africanized version of our own language, we had wandered into a world few travelers had ever reached, and we felt from the start we might be among the last privileged enough to pass that way, for even then there was an extraordinarily ephemeral fragrance to the valleys we were passing through. With foreign aid pouring in since independence in 1968, Swaziland was already paving its roads, and the electric pylons were inexorably webbing outward from the cities across the veld. We realized that through these journals, our students and we had found a way across the cultural divide between the old and the new, the traditional bow-harps and the radios. Our students, writing in English, were yet able to think like their great-grandparents. Over two years, we read by candlelight several thousand journal entries and took the best 700 to recreate the year of 1975, the journals forming a picture of rural African life at home and school in the final years before AIDS darkened the future of Africa. Here are the two journal entries for 1 January 1975. Together they reflect the joyful innocence and sad wisdom that formed the polarities of our students’ daily lives: Absalom Maduma: I was with my friend Hilton. We walked side-by-side down the road to the river. Suddenly he bent down and cried, “Here is my five cents!” “You like to have money, don’t you?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied, still looking at his shining five-cent coin. “But if you look for another, you won’t find any more,” I said laughing, pretending to look under stones and tall grass. “It was an accident for me to find this zuka,” he said. “But you, if you look for another, your eyes will be out for nothing.” I saw that he was merry.

Rose Bhembe: We were at home sitting in the shadow of the gum tree. There came an old, old grandfather looking for his wife who was lost. He came and sat and said, “Who has seen my wife?” My mother said, “We have not seen your wife, and we don’t know her, and we have never seen her.” The old man said, “Would you please help me with food?” My mother prepared food for the old man and gave him. The old man was too thin because no one was cooking for him in his home, as his wife had run away. The old man asked, “Have you ever seen me?” My mother said, “I have never seen you.” “I am Dlamini of Ngabaneni area,” the old man said. “I had two sons, and they died.” My mother cried and said, “You had bad luck.” The old man blessed my mother and went his way. Here are two of my favorites: Reginah: Today, before school, I was running down to the agricultural plot, because Miss Drake had told me this week is my turn to feed the chickens. I passed near the clinic and entered the first gate. I was running down the hill when I began running faster than I was running. I fell down and my heart was little. I had hurt my thighs. Looking to all sides, I checked to see whether there was someone who had seen me. As there was no one, I cried softly until I was near the garden. Glory: After school, I went to the café with Sakhile. Along the way, we found two boys proposing love to two girls. Unfortunately, these two girls were us.

editor’s job should be not much more than to ensure the painting hung true. Anything more would have been to risk losing the cadences of what we considered a fresh new voice for the language we loved. A line drawing self-portrait begins each month. Our students had seen their own reflections in puddles, if not mirrors, but we asked them to draw themselves from memory, either by how they had seen themselves or felt themselves to be. The self-portrait that begins October, for example, was drawn by a student who’d never heard of Picasso, let alone seen any of his work. Readers of the book have been charmed by its ability to take them to a place they had never been, a place that no longer exists. They kept reading one more entry and just one more. “Hard to explain,” a Finnish friend said, “but one gets to feeling awfully good in one’s skin.” A British colleague said this was a book about being alive, nothing less. Written with new lyrics set to life’s old melody, it was about the way wonder can yet surprise each of us a dozen times a day. Now, the hiatus of so many years suggests that these African journals are anything but locked into or limited by any particular time, place, or culture. It now seems Halfway from Home is, ultimately, both uniquely African and a verbal mosaic of the wider human condition, each tile fashioned from the clays and glazes of the African terrain and fired in the kiln of a foreign language. Some of the tiles are complete within themselves; others contribute a line or dab of color to the larger whole. Up close, one can run one’s fingers along the seams and the face is African. When one steps back, the face is one’s own. If this sounds like a book that would interest you or any of your kids, it is available at: Blurb. com. Go to: “Bookstore” and type in Halfway from Home. They say it ships in three days.

Reading these journals, you may wonder how much at liberty we felt to dress up the writing for publication. We agreed from the onset that if a piece of writing were a painting on a wall, an

The New Copenhagener page 13

Catching up with an alumnus -Astronaut Andy Mogensen back on it, it was pretty fun. Did you have to eat insects and stuff? Dan:

No. Luckily no insects… but we had 3 or 4 days of instruction learning all sorts of different skills -learning how to light a fire, how to use knives, climbing skills, how to build shelters and some other things … then we got picked up in a helicopter, flown into the mountains and then dropped off a small bag each with a tarpaulin, a knife and an axe. Andy (laughs):

Interview conducted by Eric Haase

Former Physics teacher at CIS and Daniel Palomares teacher and communications manager at CIS This interview follows up on a previous article written for a CIS Newsletter in June 2010. Click this text to read the background article. We first met May of last year, so it has been 3 quarters of a year since we first got in contact with you and we were wondering what training and experiences you have had since last summer… Eric:

You guys came down to the European Astronauts Center in the middle of May last year right? Andy:

Eric (and Dan)

Yeah that is right…



Yeah, and just one standard military ration that had to last for the next 4 days -we had to scout the valley looking for a suitable place to make camp and build shelter make a fire and basically just survive for the next 4 days… Andy:

Should that stuff actually be on board should you guys need to emergency land someplace? Is that the point of this training? Eric:

That’s right. The point is, with the Russian Soyuz system, you can get in a situation where you land in areas where you might have to survive for 2 or 3 days before they can come pick you up. As to what is on board, yes there is a basic survival kit there is even a gun in case you have to… I don’t know… defend yourself against a bear or something Andy:

It could happen -Siberia you know! Or if you land in the zoo by bad luck! Eric:

Well one of the first things we did right after that was we spend 2 weeks in Italy in Sardinia on a survival course, which was pretty extreme and a lot of fun afterwards…. I would say not so much fun while we were doing it -but looking Andy:

Andy: (laughs) Yeah that’s right.

It was a lot of fun. We spent four days living up in the mountains and then the 5th day we had to hike out, so it was a bit of a mix between a pure

survival situation and what you call a human behavior performance situation, so part of the goal was to stress us, and then to have us still work successfully together as a team. The fifth day we hiked out and we went through canyons and had to work together to get to the pick up point. We got picked up by helicopter and this time we got flown straight out to the sea, and thrown in the water… Dan:

Say what?

I think we about ten miles off shore… and we had to deploy a life raft and we spent the next 24 hours sitting on the life raft. Andy:

This is directly after your four days survival experience in the mountains - just straight away they drop you in the ocean??? Dan:

Andy: Dan:

Yep straight out to the ocean. How did that go?

three hours it gets to be really, really boring we had to just think back to when we were kids and try to remember all those games you used to play on long road trips before you had DVDs and TV screens installed in cars - so we just tried to play all those old games… Did you guys have observers or advisors with you? Yes. We always had an instructor with us. The course was run by some ex-Italian special forces guys who have now started a training camp for survival courses and for companies to use for human behavior performance classes. So there was always and instructor with us to teach us new skills… so for example on the raft how to use all the signaling flares, parachutes and smoke grenades. While we were up in the mountains we got some instruction on how to kill a chicken and a rabbit and how to prepare it and cook it over a fire… so the first 3 days we were really hungry because each one of us had just one standard military ration and we could eat it however we wanted to. Most of us split it up over the 4 days but it is not a lot of food. Luckily on the fourth day they came with chicken and a rabbit and we had to skin them and prepare them and cook them so we got some extra food that day. Eric:


I bet you were hungry.

Yeah it was some fantastic chicken meat… (Dan and Eric laugh) Andy:

It was interesting. Physically this survival course was the most demanding thing I’ve been put through, but learning Russian has definitely been one of the biggest challenges in the past year. Andy:

Photo credit to: D. Baumbach

I don’t know. I mean the worst thing was the boredom. The first two or three hours it is kind of interesting you’ve just come out from the mountains so it is kind of nice to be in the water -you get to jump in -you feel a little bit refreshed and it is sort of a different experience sitting on this life raft but after about two to Andy:

How proficient in Russian are they trying to get you to be? Do you have to read scientific literature or just basic communication? Eric:


Well, on a practical level we have to able to

The New Copenhagener page 15

sit in the Soyuz space capsule during launch and Andy: That is a good question… the ideal scenario be able to understand Russian over the radio. would be that we continue -not right away but at some time in the future we do an instrument liEric: I imagine that is pretty hard. cense and also multi engine multi crew because it is really in a multi crew scenario where you can Andy: So obviously it is not so much being able really practice the procedures and the teamwork to have a technical scientific discussion -it is that we are hoping to learn. Obviously the actual recognizing the technical words that you have “stick and rudder” flying of an aircraft is not that learned during your training and during all the applicable to the work of an astronaut – but it is procedural work that you have done -being able more the whole working with procedures, prototo understand all that over a radio link and to be cols, pre-flight planning and learning the cockpit able to reply and respond… so in some ways it is tough but it is part of the training process. Do they keep you refreshed? Do you practice Russian once a week or so? Eric:

We finished basic training in November and since then what we are doing is much more on an individual basis -the work assignments that we have and the training that we do is tailored to us individually -so for example right now it is just Alex and I that are here in Bremen doing the pilots license because the other four already have a pilots license. Similarly, if we feel the need, we can request to go to this language institute where we originally learned Russian and we could go there for a week or two depending on our schedule. Alex already spent just before Christmas two weeks there by himself and Toma from France just a few weeks ago spent about a week there. So it is something that we can ask Andy:

for, and if there is time for it they send us there. So there is definitely time for proficiency maintenance. If you finish your private license - and it sounds like you are on a high intensity fast paced course for that, will you continue for an instrument license? Eric:

Photo credit to: A Le Floc’h

teamwork that it takes to control a more complicated aircraft… those are the things that are more useful for an astronaut. Ideally, one day I would be able to fly in a team with one of the more experienced pilots. Fantastic! I would like to ask you what has been your personal favorite experience so far since you started your astronaut training? Eric:

On one had I would like to say the parabolic flights, because that is obviously one of the most fun things I have ever done –it is like going to Tivoli… on the other hand I would have to also say spending two months in Russia in Star City where all the Russian cosmonauts as well as NASA astronauts come to train was also a really special time. We spent two months there and Andy:

got a chance to get to know a lot of people. In the evening we had dinner with the NASA astronauts in their cottages and hear all their stories about their earlier space flights, during the day we would go to the gym and afterward we would go to the saunas with the Russian cosmonauts I met an old Russian guy who was on the Russian Salyut Space Station before Mir back in the 80’s… So that was fantastic… It made me feel like I was really a part of the tradition and history of the space program. Eric:

Where is Star City?

Just outside of Moscow. Star City is the equivalent of Johnson Space Center in Houston.

and in the Russian segment the “X axis” is pointing backwards –gives some problems. How do they handle “time” on the International Space Station? Do they run on a universal time or do they go on Moscow Time? Or both? Eric:

On board it is all UTC Universal Time Coordinated. Which is really handy for us in Europe because it means that is essentially “our time”. Andy:

Any there any other interesting differences that you can think of? Eric:


I worked a bit in the USA in their science programs and in Europe in science programs and actually in Russia as well – I spent some time in Moscow at the state university up on the hill.. I don’t know if you got a chance to see it… anyway I noticed that each of the three groups –the North Americans, Europeans and Russians had different philosophies or “approaches” to science… and not any one in my opinion was “right” or “wrong”, but different outlooks… Being exposed to these three traditions of science you noticed anything yourself?

There are some other practical differences… the on the space station uses two different voltages for example… Andy:


I have more of an engineering background so what I have noticed is more just the small differences… For example in the conventions – the reference systems, the coordinate systems they are always just a little bit different so their equations are different… when you learn one “way” you get to know that system, and you think that is the only way to do it.. then suddenly someone shows you something that you hadn’t thought about –like even starting from a different definition. The interesting consequence of that is in the international space station you have the Russian coordinate system then the American coordinate system which are completely different and opposite. In the US segment (of the space station) the “X axis” is pointing forward, Andy:



Really? 110 and 230 or what are they us-

No the Russians use… let me see if I remember… 28 volts and the American segment they actually send out two. The send out 140 volts (this is all DC) 140 volts and also a lower voltage – I can’t remember off hand what that is. Andy:

How do they generate power? Is it all from solar? Eric:


Yes, it is all solar panels.

Now changing topics completely, we wanted to ask you to tell us how you feel about the subject of International Cooperation, could you give us a general explanation of what it means to you and the space program? Eric:

I think there are many levels to international cooperation. On a very basic level, It is sharing the success of the international space program. There have been times when the Russians had problems and NASA has stepped up their efforts and vice versa. Without either the Russians or the USA, it is unlikely that the ISS would have been able to continue flying. For exAndy:

The New Copenhagener page 17

ample the first modules were launched back in the late 90’s at a time when Russia had some financial difficulties and NASA had to step up and supply some extra money in order to keep the program going. Similarly, after the Colombia accident in 2003 NASA grounded the space shuttle fleet and Russia had to resupply the space station in order to keep it going. I think those are good examples of showing how international cooperation really can benefit a complex program like the space station (ISS). And then of course the fact that we have such a complicated program in place, means that you are forced to work closely with people from partner countries –so that means that not only do the astronauts train with each other, but the engineers, the managers, the doctors -everyone has to work very closely together, and learn each other’s systems, and get to know each other, and I think that has a lot of intangible benefits. Dan:

There are 4 basic ways to become an astronaut one is as an engineer, the other is as a scientist, the third is as a doctor, and finally as a pilot. You typically have to be a test pilot with a few thousand hours of flight time. So those are the four basic backgrounds that they choose from. I would say that the ideal astronaut combines a high level of Academic knowledge and experience with a lot of practical experience. If you have an academic background as an engineer, scientist, or as a doctor you still need practical experience. I don’t think it is enough to have worked in industry, or come directly from academia. You need to demonstrate that you have some operational experience. I am sure that the time I spent working in West Africa on an off shore oil rig is one of the reasons I was selected. And when I look at the scientists that both Europe and NASA have selected, they have subAndy:

Good answer.

Andy laughs and continues:

A lot of people credit international scientific cooperation as greatly helping to ease tensions during the cold war… and I really agree with that and the space program is a result of the cooperation. One thing is to read or hear about people on the news -another thing is to get to know them on a personal level and work together with them and that often is how our perceptions of each other change. During the cold war it seemed unimaginable that in a few decades the USSR and the USA in particular would cooperate on something like this… the space program seems like a culmination of good intent and good will.

Eric Haas -tweeking knobs at the European Astronaut Center


What could you tell our students at CIS if they are interested in becoming astronauts themselves? How do they go about it?

stantial field experience –either as a volcanologist, or working 3 or 4 field seasons in Antarctica or as doctors spending time in Congo working on various medical projects there… so in addition to an academic background you need to have practical experience. That is really important.

“ are forced to work closely with people from partner countries... everyone has to work very closely together, and learn each other’s systems, and get to know each other, and I think that has a lot of intangible benefits.”

entry decent and landing to Mars. It’s a simplified version of GPS. At the moment we have I think three orbiters in orbit around Mars, and they obviously have a communications system on board… so the idea is that you can use that communication system as a navigation tool as well –basically if you receive the radio signal, you can use that as sort of a “single beacon” to increase your knowledge about your own position and velocity. At the moment when we send a lander or rover to the surface of Mars, the “err” on the surface of Mars is about a hundred kilometers, and we would like to reduce that down as a first step to ten kilometers or less, and then finally down to a kilometer. If you think about launching a small spacecraft from earth and having it travel several millions of miles to Mars –landing it with an accuracy of 1 kilometer can be quite tricky.

It sounds to me like they are looking for people who have worked in remote places or places with challenging environments.




I hate math.

Yeah, definitely. Pilots have that operational background. Working as an astronaut you have to follow procedures and protocols. Everything that you do is more or less according to a procedure. If you are a pilot, you are used to that. But if you are a scientist or an engineer, you are typically used to a lot of freedom in your work life. You get to set your own schedules. If you want to work in the middle of the night it is no problem. So, it can be quite challenging to get into a world where suddenly everything you do is written down and you have to follow a given procedure. So an operational background is very important… and obviously if you have demonstrated that you can cope with working in difficult situations, that is an added benefit as well.




You did your doctoral studies in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas what was your thesis on? Eric:

Now as a last question, we have sort of a fun thing to ask you… What are the most played songs on your mp3 player? I am not as interested in songs as I am in artists… If I listen to the same song too many times I start to hate it (laughs) so, I listen to various artists with the songs on “shuffle”. At the moment I am listening to a lot of “Snoop” (stunned silence), I am also listening to a lot of Nina Simone, and recently I have started listening a lot to Leonard Cohen –sort of a strange mix, but I would say those are the 3 artists that I am listening to most at the moment. Andy:


That is pretty eclectic!

Of course it all depends on the mood I am in. (everyone laughs) Andy:

I worked on a radio navigation system for Mars Missions during final approach and Andy:

The New Copenhagener page 19

East of Eden - Pastiche Student work presented by Carolyn Martin Hughes The first novel we studied in my DP1 English A1 class this year was East of Eden, set in California by John Steinbeck and published in 1952. The American Nobel Prize winner considered this his magnum opus, claiming that “everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this”. In fact it is semi-autobiographical and the author appears as a minor character early in the story. One of the tasks the class was set was to write an additional scene in the novel paying homage to the author’s style. This pastiche required close attention to Steinbeck’s colourful characterization, whilst maintaining a sympathetic appreciation of the setting and background of the novel. The students were rather fascinated by the “monster” Catherine Ames, “so sweet as to be irresistible” but also possessed with “some gear out of ratio”. She casts a dark shadow over the Trask family whose lives over three generations are portrayed in the novel, intensified by a series of biblical allusions especially the story of brothers Cain and Abel. These two pieces, presented by Stephanie and Gabi, are an effective blend of creativity and literary appreciation. Although they were allowed to choose any place in the novel, both of these are set at the stage when Catherine (now known as Kate) is the madam at a brothel. In Gabi’s story the protagonist, disconcerted by the visit of her husband Adam whom she thought she had successfully severed from her life, takes out her anger on one of her “girls” by way of blackmail and other means. Stephanie presents the return visit of her son Cal (Cain) bringing with him his sensitive, naive brother Aaron (Abel) as an act of retribution against both of them.

Stephanie Jorgensen East of Eden - Pastiche

Kate sat at her desk and slowly removed her gloves. She was still pretty and neat. The work of the years was subtle. If you had lived close by to her through time you probably never would have noticed. The green-hooded double lamp shone an almost gold light upon the dark grey walls. She was feeling better today. The pain in her hands was abated, underneath the oily-looking bandages her fingers felt straighter and her knuckles not so swollen. That medicine had worked wonders – not only had it cured the arthritic pain, it gave her back her nerve – she was excited. She wanted to go to New York as she’d always planned. She would live in an elegant little house on the Upper East Side; she would go to the theatre – to the opera. She was so immersed in the amusement of her thoughts that she did not here Joe’s knocking on the door. Opening it a crack he looked in and saw her smiling face. The light showed her eyes were shiny. “You look better, ma’am.” “Yes. I feel better. The medicine works it seems.” She said. “You, however, look dreadful. Don’t you feel well?” “I’m alright, ma’am.” He said before hesitating. “There’s someone here, ma’am. Two lads. One says he wants to see you.” “Well they can’t. I’m busy” “I told them you couldn’t see them, ma’am, but one was quite adamant, he insisted. He said you know him.” “Well, who is he, Joe?” “Says his name is Cal, an’ he says he got Aaron – Aaron Trask, with him.”

and he shuffled further towards the wall. “Joe, bring them in.” she said. “And Joe, I want you close enough to hear the bell but not the voices. Clear?” her eyes pierced into him. “Yes, ma’am.” Kate watched him scuffle out, closing the door behind him. She turned away, switched off one of the lights and sat back in her chair. She clasped her hands on the desk in front of her. Hearing the muffled sound of feet approaching the door, her hands crept like a lean cat to the desk’s edge. Her posture straightened in apprehension. The footsteps paused behind the door and the faint nervous Kate froze. Her eyes narrowed and her mouth whisper could be heard. hardened. Although she made no movement, “Cal, what are we doing here?” Joe read her quick start. Whatever it was, it There was a pause, a hesitation. was something, and that something had struck “Remember what I once said about our mothhome. Kate sat still, as if holding her breath. er?” Her finger’s curled around the edge of her This time came a hoarse reply with no hesitadesk, like retractable claws clinging for stability. tion. “She’s dead.” Kate stared straight ahead. “What if she wasn’t?” At last she said, “Joe, just stand still a min“Father says she’s dead. Lee says she’s dead. ute.” Joe shifted uneasily on the spot. Kate He’s not a liar.” But this time there was an uncerwhipped a word at him. “Still!” tainty in his tone. She sat, not thinking. Her mind drifted among It was then the door swung open without a itself. The face of a boy forms, a blond and knock, and there framed in the doorway were beautiful boy. She could see him, his sweet chin and golden hair glowing under the candle- the young Trask brothers. There a sharp inhale from Kate. Her cheeks tightened and her mouth light, the angelic face – so like hers. straightened – her muscles taut. As she peered Suddenly she knew she did not want Aaron at the two boys, a wave of nostalgia swept though to know about her. Yet here he was. Her mind her body, clenching her heart in a tight grip. turned to Cal – the dark one – he bothered Cal’s voice pierced the smothering silence. her. He was smart, and as he’d proven himself to be – dangerous. Why had he brought “Hello Mother.” his brother? What did he want? She moved unexpectedly. Joe jumped, his hands quivering

The New Copenhagener page 21

Gabi Starck

East of Eden - Pastiche

Chapter 25½

Kate’s breathing came in heavily. She steadied herself against the desk as the image of Adam swam hazily before her eyes. She could still hear his footsteps echoing in the hallway as he had walked away, resolute. Her hands gripped the desk as her eyes darted to the broken glass on the deep carpet a few feet away. The rum had stained the carpet, but her cold eyes remained fixated on the glass. The sunlight had begun to stream through the space between the thick drapes, causing the light to dance off the glass precariously. She switched her focus to her trem bling fingers.

She had lost control. Kate reached for her throat and grabbed the cool chain locket between her fingers. Adam was a fool to come down here. He could not win, he had no control. She closed her eyes and saw Adam on his knees, begging Kate to take him back. He was pleading, like a child. Mixed words were coming out of his mouth, but they all meant one thing. A smile spread across her lips. A soft knock on the door drew her out of her thoughts. “M-Miss Kate?” A hesitant voice said through the door. “Who is it?” She snapped. She dropped the locket back into her dress. “It’s Julie. I was w-wondering if I could speak to you.” “Fine, enter.” The door swung open to a tall girl with long dark hair. She stepped forward timidly,

carefully stepping around the broken glass. Kate surveyed the girl’s dark features before saying, “Well?” “I..” she began, “I was… I want to stop.” Julie didn’t dare meet Kate’s eyes. Her lips were trembling as her eyes remained downcast. “Stop? Stop…” Kate’s voice sweetened, “I’ll go fetch some tea for us and we can continue to discuss this situation.” She stood and swept past Julie, who looked as though she would collapse at any moment. In the kitchen, Kate emptied a capsule from her locket into one of the cups and slipped the wrappings into her black dress pocket. She carried the two steaming cups of tea back to her room. When she returned, she found Julie standing in the same place she had left her, her dark eyes downcast. Julie murmured something of thanks as Kate passed her the tea before sitting behind the desk again. “So. You had something you want to say?” “I...want to stop” Julie said, “I want to go back home.” Her fingers gripped the cup. Kate took a deep drink before saying, “Ah. Well, we both know you can’t do that.” Her smile did not reach her cold eyes. “Why not?” Julie was quivering, “I have enough money, and nobody here’ll miss me.” Kate continued to smile, flashing her pointed teeth, until she put down her tea and said, “You know you can’t do that. It’s only been 1 year. Have you already forgotten about Leonard?” She savored the effect the name had on Julie. Her dark eyes grew wide, and the blood had drained out of her face. “You…You know about Leonard?” She whispered. Kate stood, and swiftly moved to the dresser. She fished a short brass key from her pocket on the inside of her long black dress and unlocked the third drawer. She placed two photographs face up on her desk, directed at Julie. “Miss Kate… where did you get these?” Julie’s

voice was barely audible. A horrified expression crossed her face as her eyes scanned the pictures. The first was a photograph of a young man standing at a train station, looking off into the distance. The second was blurry, but it looked like a younger version of Julie holding her rounded belly. “Don’t you understand?” Kate hissed, “You can’t go back home. You won’t go back a hero. You would go back as a parasite to society.” “No…” Tears were streaming down Julie’s face. “Yes, yes you will. You chose to leave everything you loved,” Kate’s eyes bored into Julie’s, “Drink your tea now, dear. That’s right, drink up.” Julie’s tears stopped, and she froze. She began to convulse before collapsing on the carpeting with a crash. Kate’s gaze returned to the broken glass on the floor.

The New Copenhagener page 23

Stories give wings

An Interview with: Niall De Burca Story Teller

Conducted by: Oliver Todd

English Teacher at CIS Oliver: I

wonder if you could tell little bit about which stories you heard growing up. Niall: I

was very lucky as a kid.. I was very lucky in that my parents were aware of the environment and the landscape and the history and the people who populated it – and they wanted to pass that on to me… true stories. Many Irish people will have had a familiar experience with the old tradition and the act of enjoying conversation, history, stories, family, genealogy -that was something that I was in view of growing up - the awareness that there was an oral tradition, and I realize now what they were actually giving me because from a very young age I seemed to be one person who enjoyed telling the stories –and to be getting “up there” telling the stories. It is quite well structured in Ireland to be able to do that. It is informally done, but very easy to

do it if you want to. So, I was given that opportunity from a young age and jumped at it, and from a relatively young age I was advised that perhaps this could be a great way of having a career for me … the lights went on and I said “sure that’s what I want to do”. When you find something you love, you’ve got to do it! I was very lucky that this is what I loved and I was aware that I wanted to pass it on. I want to tell stories from the old times. I want to keep them alive. I don’t just want to see them in books. They are fantastic in books, but I want to have them done as they were done originally –spoken, because the spoken word is a beautiful thing. I also want to make up new ones that someday hopefully will become part of the tradition, and I am consciously aware of that when I am doing a new story. The horror story we did with those fantastic high schoolers today –the song from that I hear young people singing out to me on the street in towns all over Ireland and that gives me a big smile because I hope that someday it will go into the tradition. It is very important to know where you

live. The history of it, because it makes you grow strong if you know where you come from. It is like a tree in the forest. Oliver: Most

of the people who are going to read this school magazine are parents of our students. What would you say to parents to encourage them to share stories? An old uncle once told me that the best thing you can ever give your kids is “time, time, time”. The best thing to do is sit down with them –you don’t have to give them a “bells and whistles” story like Hans Christian Andersen or Mark Twain or one of the great Japanese ghost tales -all you’ve got to do, is tell them any story from your childhood –what is was like going in the car with granddad on the way to the beach –what is was like sitting with your crazy uncle who drove everybody mad but you all loved him anyway. Because your kids will love you for that -to be sitting down with you -getting that time with you because that is how their acorn becomes a tree. That’s what’s watering their acorn. That is what is giving them the nutrients to be strong...To have its roots thick in the ground. The family history… tell them your childhood stories… it may sound mundane, but tell them. Take out your family photographs and try to put names on all the faces –the stories will jump out at you and tell them stories about your family traditions because many families at this school will have multiple traditions –which is a good thing. And if you don’t know any? You DO know them. You know hundreds. Kids will love you for it. Niall:

I feel this is an important point -much of the western world today is obsessed with celebrity culture, but the best celebrity you will ever be is in your house to your kids. You are the rock star of the world when you spend time and tell them a few stories. They love it. Their eyes will be wide open because they need it they need

it like water, like food. They’ve got to have it. Oliver: Where

do you find the stories you tell, and what makes you choose one story or the other? Niall: The

stories actually choose me, and it makes sense really because your personality will dictate what sort of story wants to be told by you. That is an amazing thing -I might see 10 stories or hear 5 stories, but there will be one or two where I will go “YEE HAW!” and it jumps straight into my heart and I know straight away that I got it. I told a story in the first session this morning about the freckles –why some folks have freckles… when I heard that story in a completely different form it was like an old friend coming home that put its hand up and said “Hi Niall, how’s it going?” The stories become like friends –so they kind of choose me really. But I do love the horror tales. I love historical tales. I was terrified by my father when he told me stories about the huschtebor (editor’s note: I tried to find a defini-

The New Copenhagener page 25

tion of this word, but couldn’t. I believe there are spelling issues!)–you might have heard of that.

Terrified –but in actual fact he was teaching me all about my history and culture –and now I love telling scary ones myself. I love international stories too –because I meet a lot of international kids and bottom line my job is to make people feel good about themselves and when I come out of a session, I want to have a big smile on my face and I want the people coming out of it to be smiling and looking at each other and thinking “wow we come from different parts of the world but we like the same things and the stories are like that in my culture too”. The stories are the same all over the world, they just change the color of their clothes. But most of all I love having a good laugh… but I am not a comedian, because a comedian’s job is just to do the fun stuff. I like doing love stories, I love doing sad stories… I like taking people on a journey or a rollercoaster –sometimes it can be quite physical or sometimes it can be chilled out. Oliver: What

story work? Niall:

makes a good

The hooks….

Oliver: That

is a word I have heard a lot –particularly in reference to music. What does that mean? They are the little… how would you describe it –you know the human genome? You know that pattern? Niall:


Ahhhh I have some vague idea…(laughs)

(Makes a “broadcaster sounding” voice) “Here we have the human genome” –and all you see are these black and white strip things… Every story has that genome –has that pattern those are the things that set the bells off in people’s heads that directly impact their dreams, fears or desires and opens up the box –that gets people curious –or in the case of Alice in Wonderland curiouser and curiouser and curiouser and it holds up a mirror to them –just like the poet does and brings them into the other world and makes them think what might of happened if I was in that situation because people always put themselves into the situations. Does that make sense? That is where I think the hook is. The stories that affect me are the ones where I am in the whole human drama of it all. Because… it is a very simple art form. People always say to me “you must be wrecked after telling a story” but I am actually not. It is like drinking water and eating food. Storytelling just dramatizes the ordinary. It is where we step into our imagination and fly. And we all want to do it. Stories serve different reasons –The scary stuff… you can look at the beast, but he is not really there. You can gaze beyond the palisades -beyond the firelights and wonder what is out there and shiver –yet you are safe. Or you can go out of your normal ways of behavior and be completely outrageous in a story and that to me is a necessary human need. The written word is an intimate relationship between the author and the reader and storytelling is a communal thing and we are sharing the dreams, fears and desires and happiness that we all recognize within ourselves. Niall:

There is a great saying that “you never find to men fighting if they know each other’s story.”, because they will find out that they are the same. It is a simple art form but a difficult question because it deals with the whole human condition.

“ can look at the beast, but he is not really there. You can gaze beyond the palisades -beyond the firelights and wonder what is out there and shiver –yet you are safe...”

gossiping with a friend and I walked in and said “oh you are gossiping again –you are always gossiping” and she said (in a solemn voice) “yeah, this is telling stories about our lives today.” Just one more point that I want to bring up before we’re done -remember in Ireland when you were a child the expressions that people used -your granny and your auntie –the pure poetry that would come out of their mouths… My auntie would say “He put the hard crossways on me!” –and that comes from generations of pictures being painted and created through words. It is brilliant stuff. We have to keep telling the stories which relate these memories and experiences. Niall: (Laughs)

Oliver: A

friend of mine who was actually a house mate many years ago was in the kitchen

The New Copenhagener page 27

A lucky star Hi Thomas, thanks for allowing me to come by and talk to you. Dan:


You’re welcome.

Your role in this was really to work out the details and practicalities of the agreement. What does the “4 year agreement” entail? Is that I how I should refer to it? Dan:

Yes, it is a fouryear sponsor agreement. It is a four-year sponsor agreement because as we understand it’s an interim solution. Eventually, as we foresee it, CIS will move to a new location and get “world class” facilities… The location may be in Nordhavn, or maybe somewhere else, but that is sort of the plan. However, we cannot sit on our hands until that happens, and right now there is a need to expand the school, because CIS is close to maximum capacity. So how do we do that for an interim solution without jeopardizing the survival of the school? The perspective is that we have heard from CIS is that is probably easier to grow from the size you have now and over the next 4 years, so you will have a larger enrollment for when you take over new facilities and become a much bigger school. Without this step, all of a sudden doubling the amount of students or doubling the number of teachers right away once a new campus is available would be impractical. So this way the transition will be smoother. It is a four-year agreement where we will go in and sponsor 40 students per year to take some of Thomas:

Interviews conducted by: Daniel Palomares

Teacher and Communications Manager at Copenhagen International School

With two representives of Mærsk Thomas Hedegaard Rasmussen

Senior General Manager, PHD Group Human Resources at A.P. Møller Mærsk and

William S.Allen

Senior Vice President Group Human Resources at A.P. Møller Mærsk The context of these interviews is related to an agreement of sponsorship between Copenhagen International School, Mærsk, and the Consortium for Global Talent.

Thomas Hedegaard Rasmussen

the financial risks that CIS carries with it with this expansion. It means we will pay for 40 new student seats regardless of whether we fill them with children of APMM employees or not. We will of course try our best to fill the 40 seats with children of APMM employees, and I am confident that we will see a greater demand for same. So we will be an active player in helping CIS convince other companies –some of which are members of the Consortium for Global Talent which is hosted by AP Møller Mærsk this year, and also companies that are not part of the consortium to take the remaining 40 positions -so that 80 positions per year in total are paid for by external companies which sort of guarantees that with a worst case scenario CIS will still be a healthy school and survive financially. Is there anything that we as a school can be doing to aid or facilitate the financial support for our expansion project –besides just being engaged in our work and delivering the best possible education to our students? Dan:

The Consortium for Global Talent has decided to help support you, and that is really fortunate,…and of course Mærsk has decided to help CIS...… But the way we see it, CIS is the key driver on this. You have to do marketing to get new students to fill the increased capacity year on year… but of course on the whole educational side, we want you to continue what you are doing -which is providing a recognized world class education. So keeping all that up to the level it has been is important, as well as recruiting new students. And with CIS being a great school, I am confident that CIS will be able to increase its student uptake with a bit of marketing. Thomas:

Now a conversation with William S. Allen (Bill): Thanks a lot for letting me come by to talk to you. Dan:


As I was digging around in the records, I could see that we have had Mærsk kids at Copenhagen International School for the last ten years or so. What does the relationship with CIS mean to Mærsk? Dan:

Well I tell you Dan, it means a lot to Mærsk, but it also means a lot to the international business community here in Denmark. What it means to us is that when we are looking at having potential employees come to Denmark, those that have children will immediately ask: “Is there a place where my son or daughter can go to school and get a quality education?” And if the answer is no, then the result is “No thanks, I don’t want the job opportunity no matter how much I am interested”. So it is very interesting for us at that level. William S. Allen It is also interesting as being part of the Consortium for Global Talent and our mission with the Consortium (which is 15 different large companies that have banded together), is to be able to attract and retain talent in Denmark. So that is also important from the perspective that one of the things we need here in Denmark is skilled labor. Danes returning, and expats coming in, because you can’t run an economy with a declining population (no matter how slowly it is declining) and expect it to grow. You just can’t create that much productivity. So it is important from an AP Møller standpoint. It is important from the consortium standpoint… and I believe it is also very important from a Danish standpoint - enabling this great country to be able to have enough people to actually create economic prosperity. So it is important on all three levels. Bill:

What things can we do on our end to maintain your support? Dan:

Absolutely. My pleasure.

The New Copenhagener page 29

I think Copenhagen International School is doing a fantastic job at educating children. CIS provides a place –which is safe and with good facilities where kids go into an environment where teachers and the administration care about them as students and as people. It also does a good job providing for the needs of a certain segment of the community who want international education for their children. So continuing to develop that, continuing to get better and provide kids and families with what they need is what we are looking for CIS to go ahead and do. I think it has been done in fine style up until now, and I am very sure it will continue to be. Bill:


All the companies in the Consortium are

of large international companies in Denmark attracting and maintaining skilled labor to Denmark for the purposes of growing our businesses and for the overall health of the economy. Does Mærsk do this type of thing in other places around the world for corporate social responsibility reasons? It would seem the reasons for your supporting CIS are largely economic in terms of recruitment of new talent to Denmark, but is there is also a certain social responsibility mission as well? Dan:

Oh absolutely, and this is our home market which makes it special. We do these things in other markets of course where it makes sense… but essentially this effort is connected to the notion of being a responsible business in the community in which we operate. But this is just one example of the things that we do. This is an investment not only for us but an investment for the community. Bill:

Besides educational ones, what other types of projects around the world does Mærsk engage in? Dan:

We operate in 120 countries, we have about 115,000 employees, and we have each of our business operate semi-autonomously so one of the things that we clearly realize is that you can’t run everything by remote control. You have to trust your people. So the decisions around what we do in Angola for example or what we do in Sri Lanka or what we do in Guatemala are left to our people out there. We trust our people to make the right decisions, and to spend the company’s money wisely. Clearly here in Copenhagen, the company is involved in a lot of things the AP Møller foundation is also involved in a lot of projects. But in terms of global projects we literally do trust our people to make those decisions in the far corners of the world. For speBill:

Bill Allen and Daniel Palomares in Bill’s office

large organizations. Can other smaller companies join the consortium? Essentially what we started off with, is fifteen companies. I think we will probably end up with a few more… and then there are a few companies that are outside the consortium that will be working with Copenhagen International School to make this a reality. So the purpose of the consortium is to represent the point of view Bill:

cific examples of the types of projects Mærsk engages in, you can take a look some of the social responsibility content on our website. Disaster Response Program The employees of the CIS (myself included), are dedicated to doing our jobs well. We want to provide the best education possible for our students. From a businessman’s perspective, what is the best education possible? What can we do to best prepare our students… and your kids? Dan:

That’s a great question. The world is changing… my personal opinion is that having an international education is a huge “leg up”, as the world is getting smaller and smaller perse. It gives students the opportunity to really learn what is going on in the world… so that they don’t have a parochial view of the world as their own little backyard. The school today isn’t what it was 20 years ago or certainly 50 years ago when it was first started. It continues to develop and get better and now I am quite confident that with the teachers and the administration that make up the school this positive development is going to continue. From a parent’s perspective, you want your children to do as well as they are capable of doing, to have an open view of the world, and be inquisitive and intellectually curious… you want them to learn that you have to deal with adversity in a positive way, and you want them to be open and accepting of other’s ideas and other people. So as a parent those are the outcomes that I am looking for. Who am I to tell teachers how to get there? Bill:

On the other hand, I think that is valuable coming from someone like you. As teachers, as in any profession, we get very embedded in our work, and it is good to be reminded of core values… …and in sticking with the theme of education, I am interested to know what you, as a professional working with global talent on a massive scale, think regarding what we as educators should we be thinking about or considering Dan (laughs):

as we attempt to educate and equip kids for the future workplace. As a technology teacher, I see it as a difficult task... Besides keeping kids open-minded, inquisitive and safe what other competencies should we be attempting to infuse in kids? There are a number of things that come to mind. First of all, the ability to think logically and to solve problems… Identify problems, and create solutions. Just the ability to think in a structured way is extremely important. The ability to get along with other people is also extremely important. One of the things that we find which gets people in the workplace in trouble is when they can’t work together. As your position gets higher and higher in an organization you see that it’s really not “all about you”. It’s about everybody else… and the ability to make good decisions about what is right and what’s wrong, and having good values is extremely important. One also has to remember that the world in which we live changes quickly, and we have to change with it. It is a competitive world. It is competitive between countries, between regions and between people. So being able to balance all those things is also very important. Bill:

So the capacity to change, evolve and to develop oneself ongoing is an important trait you would say? Dan:

Yes, the ability to continue to learn at whatever stage you are at in your career is extremely important. I have been working for 30 years last month and the ability to learn today is just as important as it was for me in 1981. It is arguably more important now… or I am just at a different stage. Bill:

The New Copenhagener page 31

The IB: the ‘enduring tension’ of fragmentation

By Tristan Bunnell

Diploma Program Economics Teacher As the year 2010 has now drawn to a close it is worth reflecting on some significant milestones that passed with it. CIS is a unique school in that it offers all three programmes of the Geneva-registered IB (the DP, MYP, and PYP). In 2002 the IB formally branded this as the ‘continuum of international education’. In July 2010 the IB hit the 3,000-school mark (with 1,200 in the USA alone) when Brown Academy of Chattanooga, Tennessee was authorized to offer the DP. Also in July 2010, the 150-mark was hit in terms of ‘continuum’ schools. The ‘continuum’ has always had a small core of supporters, and has never involved more than five percent of all IB World Schools. Furthermore, 83 percent of all IB schools offer just one of the three programmes. This creates a further unique situation for a school such as CIS as it effectively operates as three separate IB schools under one name, or brand, and this obviously has management and leadership implications.

There is a historical factor about the ‘con-

tinuum’ worth explaining. All three IB programmes were created at different points in time, for different reasons, and by different people. The well-established DP appeared initially in 1962, at the peak of the cold war, (and was first examined at the International School of Geneva in June 1963), as a contemporary history syllabus, reflecting its social studies origins in that school which had called for an international diploma way back in 1925 (to comprise of seven subjects, not six as with the present-day DP). The PYP was first discussed at a European Council of International Schools (ECIS) conference in Rome in 1990, and was labeled the International Schools’ Curriculum Project 3‐12 (ISCP) in 1992. Therefore, the year 2010 was technically its 20th Anniversary. The PYP was formally ‘adopted’ by the IB in 1994. The MYP had an equally complex beginning. It was first discussed in 1980 when the International School of Moshi (in Tanzania) hosted a conference organized by the International Schools Association (ISA: founded in Geneva in 1951 to facilitate research and co-operation among international schools). The year 2010 was therefore technically the 30th Anniversary of the MYP. The Moshi conference, officially titled The needs of the child in the middle years of schooling (ages 11-16), discussed developing a programme for the middle years that built upon the philosophy of the DP, and identified six ‘needs’: global, intellectual, personal, physical, creative, and social. The forerunner of the MYP, the ISA Curriculum (ISAC) appeared two years after the Moshi meeting and the first draft of the new programme appeared in 1987. ISA piloted it in 12 schools the year after, and it was adopted by the IB in 1997. The International School of Amsterdam was one of the pioneers of the MYP and became the first to introduce the ‘IB continuum’, in 1998.

subject areas surround the three core areas (Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and CAS: Creativity, Action, and Service). The PYP is taught around six trans-disciplinary themes, labeled ‘themes of global significance’, forming yet another hexagon.

The story of the history of the DP is well told in this newly published book by IB Deputy Director General, Ian Hill. Schools_Journal_Compendium__Vol_4-details.aspx

All three programmes clearly have international school origins and are a natural educational platform for CIS. However, there are a number of problems for a ‘continuum school’ to endure. There is a philosophical linkage (all three stresses a form of holistic inter-disciplinary teaching) but all three programmes have very different structures. Holistically viewed, the MYP (which is internally assessed but can be externally moderated) displays an octagon, with eight academic subject areas surrounding five broad areas of interaction, and with a Personal Project at the centre. This octagon is supported by the ‘three fundamental concepts’, the philosophical pillars: intercultural awareness (reflecting its ISA origins); holistic education (reflecting its IB origins); and communication and linguistic acquisition (reflecting the idea that learning involves more than merely examining facts or knowledge). This latter concept is well explored in Howard Gardner’s writings ( This can be contrasted with the hexagonal structure of the externally-examined DP where the six

Although each programme is self-contained, and is globally mainly bought into as a ‘stand-alone’ offering, there is theoretically meant to be a large degree of articulation. The official IB argument is that the ‘continuum’ also has ‘continuity’ in that all three programmes have common values, or outcomes. This appeared formally in March 2006 in the form of the ‘IB Learner Profile’, a listing of ten outcomes ( learner_profile_en.pdf). Furthermore, the IB has a single Mission Statement. However, there are major obstacles to viewing all three programmes as having any real sense of ‘continuity’. One glaringly obvious area concerns the MYP Personal Project, undertaken in the final year (MYP5). This logically ought to have a link with the DP Extended Essay (perhaps as a line of inquiry), begun the year after as formal research, yet it is perfectly feasible, indeed quite normal, for a student to undertake a Personal Project in one subject and choose a totally different subject area for the Extended Essay (economics is a popular choice, yet not formally much studied at MYP level).

“There are...most likely three separate tribes belonging to one village...” None of this would really matter were it not for the fact that a ‘continuum’ school has to try to operate as a single school and try to create a sense of ‘continuity’ for its students. Yet, under its roof it most probably houses three divisions or sections, each with

The New Copenhagener page 33

their ownhistory, organizational culture, pedagogy, educational jargon, and a sense of programme loyalty. Furthermore, each programme has its own set of training courses and its own branch of adherents within a school. There are, to put it crudely but succinctly, most likely three separate tribes belonging to one village. This phenomenon is likely to be especially evident in a well-established IB school such as CIS which has been operating the DP since 1968 (as one of the first seven trial schools) and has been formally operating the ‘continuum’ since February 2000 when it was PYP authorized. Furthermore, many of the teachers at CIS have been teaching within their particular IB section for well over a decade (this teacher alone has done 21 years teaching DP economics) and are naturally biased towards its strengths and philosophy. A recently published book by Paul Tarc titled Global Dreams, Enduring Tensions: International Baccalaureate in a Changing World nicely summarizes this situation.

This issue, of course, has special consequences for CIS in 2011 given that the plan for the next four (maybe five) years is to operate as two campuses. The Hellerup site will house PYP and MYP 1-3, whilst the newly acquired Østerport site (the ‘City Campus’) will house MYP4-5 and the DP. The (relatively ‘natural’) divisions within the school could possibly be accentuated

by having two campuses (or, two villages, to use my previous analogy). The issue of ‘fragmentation’ with regard to international schools is now a well-researched one. Richard Caffyn has recently written much about fragmentation as a source of micro-politics, and this might provide a pointer for further thought on the topic here at CIS. I suggest this paper as a starting point:

Snapshots in time.... A quick peek into CIS life...

The New Copenhagener page 35

The Annual Fund By the CIS School Board Since it was founded 49 years ago, Copenhagen International School has grown from 1 classroom, 12 students and 1 teacher to a school of close to 600 students, on its own campus and with a staff student ratio 6:1. Twenty-eight years ago the ‘junior school’ was started and in a far-sighted move in 1993 the schools joined together on the Hellerup Campus to form the Copenhagen International School that we know and love today. Journeying through those years and the many moves towards Hellerup, the school has seen enlightened and dedicated leadership and support from everyone involved. As we stand on the brink of the next development phase of the school, we look back on these years with great gratitude for the gifts of time and energy and for the many charitable financial gifts CIS has received, both large and small.  The generosity of parents, past and present, alumni and the Friends of CIS has enabled the school to grow into one of the leading international IBO world schools. The school works hard to retain this status and build even greater academic excellence into the programmes with an ever-developing curriculum.  In order to achieve this and to realize our mission “to develop the potential of each student in a stimulating environment of cultural diversity, academic excellence and mutual respect”, we continue to rely on the philanthropic support of our CIS community to help enhance and broaden the educational experience we offer present and future generations. The Annual Fund supports CIS in directly enhancing the programmes it offers, with a focus on particular projects in the current year.

The projects chosen fall outside the normal sphere of what the school is able to provide from its routine operating budget. This academic year, we are launching an appeal to run from January to June 2011 called “A Room of our Own”. This is a very exciting initiative inspired by input from students, parents and teacher forums regarding the upcoming two campus sites of CIS City and CIS Hellerup. One of the most impressive rooms at the CIS City campus is on the top floor of the school which spans the entire width of the building. This room has been designated a Student Common Room for grades 9 to 12. The space will be broken up into smaller areas using sofas and chairs. Plants and soft lighting will help create a relaxed atmosphere. One end of the Common Room will have tables and chairs for students to sit and

City campus in this way, we hope to offer the students varying possibilities that meet the needs of all students, something that is not possible on the Hellerup site at present. It is an exciting time to be involved in the transi tion of grades 9–12 to the City campus and many parents, students and teachers have already given much time to make this move a seamless and uplifting experience for all involved.

work together, where they will eat and socialize during breaks and at lunch. There will be journals and newspapers for the students to use, computers and e-readers will be readily available. During lesson time it will be a place for students to socialize quietly, work in small groups and generally recuperate. It is a place where parents can wait before they meet their son or daughter or go for a meeting. It is a studiously social environment, not silent but with a purposeful buzz of activity. It has the potential to be the hub of the school. There are other student spaces around the school, most notably the two student rooms, one for grades 9 &10 another for grades 11 &12. These are much noisier environments where one may even find a fuzzball table. For silent study and work, there is a small library.   By utilising the space available at the

The limited space at the CIS Hellerup campus has so far prevented the designation of a specific area for homework and/or quiet time for the students. With grades 9–12 moving to the City campus, the opportunity is finally here to create such a space. Many of the primary and middle school students spend time after school waiting for activities; the only place for them to do this so far has been the Atrium and, although it serves an important purpose, it is not ideal for quiet time during the day or as a space to focus on homework. The plan is therefore to designate a space just for this purpose. The room will be furnished with one or several round tables to work at, beanbags, a sofa, good lighting and art on the walls, perhaps even some framed wall panels or murals. We hope that you are able to join us in helping to secure a brighter future for our students, in the knowledge that your donation will enrich and broaden the educational opportunities that CIS offers. Please go to ‘Make a gift’ to donate and register your choice!

The New Copenhagener page 37

Final Thoughts new school, which for the time being we will call the new school, to be located in Nordhavn (neither its name nor location are likely to change).

By Walter Plotkin CIS Director

I had great hopes of drawing this edition of The New Copenhagener to a close with a brief piece based on the threads or themes that ran through the articles. However, true to its tagline, “thoughts from and about the school”, they were a bit too eclectic for me to force fit a leitmotif. Therefore, I will share some of my thoughts on the prospects of planning a new school and the implications for education for the extended CIS community, which is something that Iíve been thinking seriously about for a while. As many of you will know the school is temporarily subdividing for a few years, with the oldest students taking up residence in what has been termed the City Campus, which is located on Stockholmsgade in Østerbro near the Østerport Train Station. Simultaneously, the board and administration are working on plans for a

While I was riding to school one morning not that long ago in the dark, I began to think about the new school and for some reason beyond my grasp, a faded memory of Mickey Rooney in a movie that I subsequently learned was called Babes in Arms. I don’t know why that image came to mind, other than one of the lines that I remember from watching some of the film on television as a kid was, “Hey, let’s put on a show!” The rest of the line (the internet is great for retrieving this sort of information) was, “Time to fix up that old barn and put on a stage.” In a somewhat more comprehensive and thoughtful manner, that is what we’re going to do. Like the kids in Mickey and Judy’s (Garland) troupe, we are going to marshal our forces, roll up our sleeves and think about what the school of our dreams would look and act like. We’ll leave the actual hammers and nails to someone else. When we think about translating school visions into reality I’ve noticed that sometimes we have a tendency to cast our gazes nostalgically towards what was rather than what might be. One of the challenges of planning a school that we hope will serve the needs of Copenhagen, Denmark and the international community for quite some time is that we need to be able to anticipate what life and the world of education might look like in say 20, 50 or 100 years, which is well within reasonable life span of well-built building. To quote Bill Allen, “The school today

isn’t what it was 20 years ago or certainly 50 years ago when it was first started. It continues to develop...” I heartily agree and assume that the only sensible way to proceed, rather than be paralyzed by the prospect of trying to predict the future, is to determine what we believe is essential to our students’ growth and development now.

“When we think about translating school visions into reality I’ve noticed that sometimes we have a tendency to cast our gazes nostalgically towards what was rather than what might be.” As I’ve thought about it, two concepts have consistently emerged from many others to predominate my thinking, Community and Learning. I suppose that isn’t surprising, given that we’re considering a school, but for me they are powerful posts to which we might secure our dreams. I would suggest that we consider community both in the sense of building relationships amongst CIS parents, students and staff members, as well as with fellow Copenhageners, with whom we share this wonderful city. I would love for our school to continue to foster a sense of belonging for those that join us in the education of their children. In addition, I aspire to giving our students an opportunity to learn from and with the broader community. For me it would be a powerful if we could create a “community learning center” that served our children and beyond. That would mean finding ways to live and learn in the community while opening our doors to the possibilities associated with inviting the community to

teach and learn with us. The other concept that I would like to develop through the building of a new school (still called the new school) is that of a center of learning as opposed to a place of teaching. While the two are inextricably bound, the former is the overarching goal that is accomplished in part by the latter. Schools are very often built to accommodate teaching, which often translates into a series of separate classrooms where teachers perform their magic that are joined by a common parking lot (Bill Powell, CIS Teacher Workshop). I feel fortunate to work with staff and parents that understand that teaching isolated subjects in isolation is not what will most effectively promote understanding, which is at the heart of real learning. I would ask you to consider what a learning center would look like. For you would that look like a school? If not, how would they be different? Sometimes, I think we get stuck thinking that what is or was may be the only right way to do things. As Andy Mogensen suggested in his interview, “when you learn one ‘way’ you get to know that system, and you think that is the only way to do it... Our challenge will be to marry together many important concepts, including how to build a vibrant learning community. I would welcome your thoughts and comments. Come on, let’s build a school.

The New Copenhagener page 39

Acknowledgements The New Copenhagener acknowledges the following people for their photographic contributions to Volume 1 (Issues 1&2) D. Baumbach (1) Darren Davies (2) Fintan Keenan (1) A Le Floc´h (1) Daniel Palomares (43) Katherine Sublett (4) Pernille Schiolten (2) Henrik Wichmann (4) If you would like to use an image from The New Copenhagener, please contact us at: The New Copenhagener also thanks all of our magazine contributors as well as the CIS community for its support and, finally, the people around the world who inspire us. If you are interested in contributing an article to our magazine, please submit your article to:

The New Copenhagener page 41

The New Copenhagener Volume1, Issue2  

Thoughts from and about Copenhagen International School.

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