Come behind the scenes at InterStudies and meet our team

We are a pretty varied bunch at InterStudies! But, we have one thing in common: We are all passionate about providing great experiences for our students! Whether a student is joining us for 2 weeks or 2 years, coming to the UK or Ireland, or travelling somewhere else, we want to make sure that they have the best possible experience.

Between us we have travelled widely, lived abroad,  experienced life as an exchange student, au-pair, or host family, and gained many experiences from around the world. This has given us a great understanding of what makes an exchange programme – and we draw on all those experiences to help give each and every one of our students the best possible programme.

Scroll down to meet our team members and feel free to contact us for a chat about how we can help you! 

Anette Slot Larsen

Managing Director

“The best part of my job is the opportunity to make a difference for others.”

My role at InterStudies is…
Keeping the overview to take us all forward.

The best part of my job is…
The opportunity to make a difference for others. Making people happy, including anything from giving students an amazing experience for life and host families sharing their happy memories to team members enjoying their roles while achieving great results, is what makes me enjoy my part in all this the most.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
Being an au pair in London gave me the taste for international living and later working in London for a few years gave me a network, which has brought me into the world of student exchange. I believe that spending a year abroad is inspiring, maturing and a great foundation for further development, so probably the very best educational investment a parent can make. This also means that we have a huge responsibility in ensuring that we deliver a sound and high-quality experience for each and every student.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Arrive with an open mind. Remember that it is not wrong, it is just different.

My favourite travel destination is…
Difficult to say, having travelled a lot I have many 🙂 But if I have to select one it will have to be Sweden, where the tranquillity of the Swedish woods makes for an ideal place to relax and unwind. Although I am also very fond of Italy, where I have been many times. And New Zealand is amazing. And New York…..

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Hmm… I probably tend to be at work even when not supposed to, but I also enjoy a theatre night and a walk on the beach 🙂 

Bo Slot Larsen

Director of IT & Resources

“Do it now! – In life we only regret what we didn’t do.”

My role at InterStudies is…
IT & Resource Director, I’m responsible for all our IT systems/solutions, including WEB-servers, mail-servers, SQL-Servers with our DATA and I could continue….

The best part of my job is…
Is this a job? Don’t take me wrong but I consider myself very lucky, getting paid for doing what I love to do.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
In my previous job as a freelance IT consultant I came across companies offering cultural exchange programme, and it snowballed from there. I am glad that I am able to contribute to giving young people such amazing opportunities.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Do it now! – In life we only regret what we didn’t do.

My favourite travel destination is…
I have many, but Italy is probably the favourite for a holiday. Or France. Or Sweden, or England, or Ireland, or the Scottish Highlands, or…

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Behind my computers :-). Or sailing when the weather allows.

Tanja Engly Steinaa

Head of Finance

“Have an open mind, don’t judge other people and wake up everyday trying to make the best of every day”

My role at InterStudies is…
Head of Finance, responsible for everything that is related to finance.

The best part of my job is…
I have a great passion for working with numbers and people, making a difference both internally as well as externally in the business.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
To give young people the opportunity to explore the world, a new culture and many new friendships, that will create an eternal footprint. I hope to inspire my own two children to explore the world as I did when I was younger (and still do).

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Have an open mind, don’t judge other people and wake up everyday trying to make the best of every day.

My favourite travel destination is…
I love all destinations where the nature makes me smile and want to stay there forever! Scotland (the Highlands) and the Faroe Islands are a couple of my favourite destinations.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Playing badminton, or watching my two boys play volleyball.

Signe Nielsen-Refs

Director of Partner Relations

“Hold on, believe in yourself, be yourself and go out there and make friends!”

My role at InterStudies is…
I am the Partner Relations Director which means that I help the partners recruit the students who want to join our programmes.

The best part of my job is…
When I feel that I can do something good for the partner which makes their job easier! Also, I enjoy very much the personal contact I have with partners.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
Many things! I love working with students and I have done it before in my life. I have also been an exchange student myself so I know that it is a life changing experience, which stays with you for the rest of your life.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Hold on, believe in yourself, be yourself and go out there and make friends!

My favourite travel destination is…
Difficult to say, but probably Sweden, where I have my summer cottage or Paris, where I lived for 6 years. Another trip on my wish list would be diving in Egypt or the Maldives.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Diving in the Sea, which is my preferred hobby, or going for a walk with my dog and my family.

Amanda France

Personal Assistant to the MD

“The best part of my job is working in a friendly and happy office where everyone pulls together as a team to get the job done. I love that student welfare and happiness is always at the top of everyone’s priority list.”

My role at InterStudies is… very varied!
I have a few different responsibilities within the team. I work as the Personal Assistant to the MD, and I run our social media accounts. I’m also the Student Ambassador, happy to answer any questions that students might have.

The best part of my job is…
Working in a friendly and happy office where everyone pulls together as a team to get the job done. I love that student welfare and happiness is always at the top of everyone’s priority list.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
The fact that I spent a year abroad when I was younger, and I know how important and exciting this time can be. Now that I get to work on the “other side” of this experience, it’s great to be able to play a part in helping students who are on their journeys and adventures abroad.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Take in as much as you can during this time, because it’s such a unique time in your life, and it’ll fly by. You’ll have memories from this time that you’ll look back on forever. It’s natural to feel a little homesick and to miss your family and friends, but be sure to make the most of your time abroad and take time to appreciate all the exciting opportunities.

My favourite travel destination is…
Berlin! I love this city, and usually travel there at least once a year with my partner. There’s so much to see and do, it’s friendly, it’s not expensive, and it’s full of culture and history (as well as great food and drink!) – plus, I studied German at university, so it’s a good opportunity to keep up my language skills!

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Watching football – I’m a big Manchester United fan! I also love to read, and to explore the amazing city of Edinburgh, where we’re based.

Harry English

Assistant

“No matter how scary it can feel, be brave! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them – they are the building blocks of success.”

My role at InterStudies is… very varied!
I help Amanda with various tasks around the InterStudies office.

The best part of my job is…
Working with such a lovely group of people in a company that prioritises compassion and open-mindedness.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
Being surrounded by cultural exchange when I was younger and seeing just how important it is! This ranged from growing up with a few au-pairs helping to take care of me and my sister, and one year my family hosting a student from Spain, to attending one of the few state boarding schools in the UK, which housed many international students. 

I feel that meeting people from different countries and walks of life exposed me to different ways of thinking and helped me become a more understanding and accepting person.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
No matter how scary it can feel, be brave! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them – they are the building blocks of success.

My favourite travel destination is…
Almost anywhere in the Highlands! I’ve been to Tuscany and loved it – I’d love to go again. I also have many places on a to-go list, my dream destination right now being Japan.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Drawing, playing video games or doing escape rooms with friends!

Karen Taylor

Financial Consultant

“Try to always keep an open mind and most importantly enjoy yourself.”

My role at InterStudies is…
Financial consultant – helping in the finance department

The best part of my job is…
Working with people who are passionate about what they do. Also, getting into the detail behind the numbers.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
My enjoyment of travelling and experiencing different countries and cultures. I also have two young children and I think this could be an experience they would enjoy in the future.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Make the most of your experience, it’s a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons. Try to always keep an open mind and most importantly enjoy yourself.

My favourite travel destination is…
That’s a difficult one, I’ve been to so many amazing places. I’d have to say Tenerife, Dubai or Florida, all very different but all great in their own way.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Running around after my two young children!

Louise Smith

Finance Manager & Controller and Corporate Book Keeper

“The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is to embrace the cultural difference and remember that there are no problems, only solutions!”

My role at InterStudies is…
Finance Assistant to the Finance Director

The best part of my job is…
Assisting Karen in the Finance Department – lots of invoices and number crunching :-). General excel fun!

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
Seeing the difference student exchange has made to many of my close friends and family. I even want to send my own kids one day!

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Embrace the cultural difference and remember that there are no problems, only solutions! Have lots of fun and make new friends for life.

My favourite travel destination is…
Too difficult… I do love a good city break, so Paris or Barcelona, anywhere with pretty architecture and lots of culture. If it’s a non city break, then Italy, Lake Garda/ Peschiera del Garda are so pretty.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Having fun with my kids! Seeing friends and generally being social

Laura Crespi

Finance Manager & Controller and Corporate Finance Assistant

“Make the most of your time, explore, enjoy, keep your mind opened and smile :-)”

My role at InterStudies is…
I’m based in Edinburgh as part of the finance team

The best part of my job is…
Being part of an amazing team

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
Having volunteered as Erasmus student mentor in my home country, assisting students to get used to their new place, which was quite an inspiring experience. I saw this as an opportunity to work for a company which is helping students to expand their horizons

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Make the most of your time, explore, enjoy, keep your mind opened and smile 🙂

My favourite travel destination is…
I can’t choose only one, but I would say Morocco for the best travel experience ever, I travelled with travel buddies who I met online. They’ve been the perfect travel team for exploring from the coast to the desert. And I’d say New Zealand for the breathtaking scenery, impressive fjords, giant glowworm caves…

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Walking in Edinburgh, I’ve been living here for 2 years now but I always find new and nice places to walk around. You can also find me exploring Scotland and the Highlands and doing human towers, (climbing people, but to be fair I’d rather be on the floor to secure the structure).

Stephanie Zahra

Head of Production, UK

“Go for it! Immerse yourself in the local culture, learn the beautiful history, enjoy our food traditions (try haggis if you make it to Scotland!). It’s a lifetime opportunity!”

My role at InterStudies is… 
I am the Head of Promotions and Programme Development for the UK.

The best part of my job is…
Promoting beautiful destinations within the UK to students looking for an exciting experience abroad, and working with a great team!

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
Having been an exchange student myself here in Edinburgh, I know how exciting such an opportunity can be and also understand the challenges. I loved my time in the UK and eventually I decided to make a life for myself here and have been in Scotland since 2002.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Go for it! Immerse yourself in the local culture, learn the beautiful history, enjoy our food traditions (try haggis if you make it to Scotland!). It’s a lifetime opportunity!

My favourite travel destination is…
Very hard to choose as been to so many beautiful places, my best memories are in Chicago, Malta, Ibiza Town and closer to home Harrogate and Scottish Highlands.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Taking long walks exploring Edinburgh, cooking, and relaxing with friends and family

Holly Tonner

Programme Coordinator, UK

“Give yourself time to adjust and make sure you enjoy every minute you are here. When a new opportunity comes along just go for it and get involved!”

My role at InterStudies is… 
Programme Coordinator

The best part of my job is…
Being is able to support others in exploring different cultures.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
A great recommendation from a friend who previously worked for InterStudies.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Give yourself time to adjust and make sure you enjoy every minute you are here. When a new opportunity comes along just go for it and get involved!

My favourite travel destination is…
Berlin

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Reading, spending time with friends and family.

Sarah Highbury

Regional Manager, Southwest of England

“Do everything, Go everywhere!! If you are invited to an event or a club just go because you never know who you will meet!”

My role at InterStudies is… 
I am the Regional Manager of the Southwest of England

The best part of my job is…
I love meeting new students and being a part of this wonderful new experience they will remember forever.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
I was originally a host mum then went on to become an LSC over 10 years ago, I just love everything about exchange having done a similar thing when I was 15 living in Spain for a few years. It is a life changing time for a young person.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Do everything, Go everywhere!! If you are invited to an event or a club just go because you never know who you will meet!!

My favourite travel destination is…
I have been lucky and traveled a lot but it 100% has to Paris! It is such a beautiful place I love it.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
With my partner & our three beautiful children spending family time together usually somewhere by the sea!

Lindsey Kirkpatrick

Head of Production, Ireland

“I love to see the huge change in students from the start of their exchange at the arrival camps to when they go home at the end of year. I also love reading the blogs and looking at the pictures throughout the year – it makes it all feel worthwhile!”

My role at InterStudies is…
Head of Production, Ireland 

The best part of my job is…
I love to see the huge change in students from the start of their exchange at the arrival camps to when they go home at the end of year. I also love reading the blogs and looking at the pictures throughout the year – it makes it all feel worthwhile!

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
My own experiences of living abroad and travelling when I was younger, combined with my youth training experience drew me to the role

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Put yourself out there. Go up and talk to people, make the first move, join clubs, say yes to invitations. You won’t regret the effort that you make.

My favourite travel destination is…
I love travelling to and around Italy, its so child friendly and of course the food is amazing! I also love the west coast of Scotland for its seafood, hiking in the hills and kayaking on the lochs.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
I have 2 young children so usually I’m at the park or the beach enjoying time with them

Holly Talbot

Head of Support, Ireland

“Living in a country teaches you so much more (about both the country, and yourself) than just travelling through it.”

My role at InterStudies is…
Head of Support for Ireland.

The best part of my job is…
Being involved in something so positive. Student exchange can be a life changing experience and I love being a part of that.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
My own experiences. I lived with a host family in the south of Chile during my gap year, and I spent my third year of university in Granada, Spain. I have travelled a lot but these two experiences have always been the most meaningful to me. Living in a country teaches you so much more (about both the country, and yourself) than just travelling through it.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Try not to worry beforehand. Nothing is ever as scary as it seems in your mind.
Once in country, I would say relax, enjoy and make the most of your experiences. Be brave- your memories will last a lifetime.

My favourite travel destination is…
I love to scuba dive so most of my trips are based around that- Indonesia, Brazil, and the Philippines are all countries I would go back to in a heartbeat. Closer to home, Donegal in the north-west of Ireland will always have a place in my heart because of my childhood summers spent there. The beaches are beautiful but the water is definitely a bit colder!

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Spending time with my nieces, planning my next diving trip.

Petra Kiss

Head of Admissions, High School Ireland

“The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is to be yourself and make lots of friends. This experience will be a memory forever, which can open doors for other great experiences. Use it well.”

My role at InterStudies is…
I am based in the Edinburgh office as Head of Admissions for students coming to Ireland. I am dealing with admissions and placements, and making sure all the paperwork and admin side of the things are done correctly and on time. I am in regular contact with partners and LSCs and making sure every message and duty has been delivered to the right person.

The best part of my job is…
Reading the students’ application forms. I really enjoy seeing the new students and reading their application forms and why they decided to join and to be part of this great experience we offer.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
To be honest, I never thought I will be working with students and being part of organising student exchange programs. I saw this as a new and exciting opportunity as I always wanted too exchange when I was younger. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to do so, so I am glad I can help to make this opportunity to others.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
To be yourself and make lots of friends. This experience will be a memory forever, which can open doors for other great experiences. Use it well.

My favourite travel destination is…
Bali, Indonesia. This place has a special place in my heart, as I got married here and spent the most amazing 3 weeks of my life there. I truly love the culture and their lifestyle and I am looking forward to visit this place again hopefully very soon.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
In the mountains with my dog Sunny. I love spending time in the nature and hike various mountains in my local area. I live in Scotland which is an amazing place to do this and I feel very fortunate, that nature is in my doorstep. This summer I will be hiking Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland, which will be a great experience. Wish me luck!
Other than that, I like to do Yoga and spend time with my loved ones.

Phoebe Baldwin

Support Coordinator, High School Ireland

“The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is to take the plunge. Often the experiences that scare us the most are the most rewarding and memorable.”

My role at InterStudies is…
Programme Co-ordinator

The best part of my job is…
Being able to support children as they navigate a new culture which is a fabulous experience.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
I have gone to school in a different country and have done work experience abroad. I know how valuable these experiences were and how much they shaped me. It is a privilege to facilitate this for other young people.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
If you’re nervous about the programme take the plunge. Often the experiences that scare us the most are the most rewarding and memorable.

My favourite travel destination is…
A difficult question! I love Africa in general – the diversity, the heat and the landscapes.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Outside playing some form of sport or just taking in the great outdoors.

Alicia Klages

Programme Coordinator, High School Ireland

“Be ready to throw yourself into it and always remember that nothing is better or worse about another culture, it’s just different :-)”

My role at InterStudies is…
Programme Coordinator

The best part of my job is…
Working with brave and curious young people

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
My own experience of having lived abroad. I worked as an Au Pair in Ireland which has been a tremendous experience in my life!

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Lower your expectations or basically just don’t have any! Just be ready to throw yourself into it and always remember that nothing is better or worse about another culture, it’s just different 🙂

My favourite travel destination is…
So many! I love living in Europe where it is so easy to just hop on a plane or train and travel to some amazing cities like Rome, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam and the list goes on… My very unique favourite travel destination is Lithuania. It is a country not many know of or would choose as a travel destination but to me Vilnius feels like living in a little fairy tale world.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
In the cinema, that’s for sure!

Amanda McNamara

LSC and Regional Manager, High School Ireland

“The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is to be yourself and make lots of friends. This experience will be a memory forever, which can open doors for other great experiences. Use it well.”

My role at InterStudies is…
LSC and Regional Manager

The best part of my job is…
The best part of my job is seeing students change from the time they arrive in Ireland and seeing them learning from their experiences.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
I used to be a Host Mum and enjoyed hosting for a few years and I became interested in working more in depth with other students and host families.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
‘Arrive with a smile’ , you’re only here for a while, do as much as you can and make the most of your time. It’s a once in a life time experience and opportunity.

My favourite travel destination is…
I have visited many countries so I can’t actually say I have a favourite travel destination as each country gave me a completely different experience.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
When I’m not at work, I will be on my motorbike free as a bird ‘somewhere’

Julie Halsey

Head of Camps and Tours

“The best part of my job is seeing the students overcome fears and turn into independent, confident young men and women ready for the next stage of their life.”

My role at InterStudies is…
I am responsible  for our welcome camps, tours, events, and other projects

The best part of my job is…
Seeing the students overcome fears and turn into independent, confident young men and women ready for the next stage of their life.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
Being a host mum

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Their programme will fly by so quickly so they need to embrace each day of their programme including the scary moments, step outside your comfort zone and don’t waste a moment of their wonderful experience.

My favourite travel destination is…
Thailand, the people. the food, the culture and the beaches. I think it is the most amazing place I have had the privilege to visit.
Also the UK, I think the UK has so much to offer from amazing country side, busy cities and a beautiful coastline.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Spending precious time with my family or Salsa dancing.

Lone Vedelstrup

Camps & Tours Manager

“I love showing the students a lot of beautiful places on our different tours in Scotland, Dublin and London. I also find it fascinating being together with students from so many different countries.”

My role at InterStudies is…
I am the Camps and Tours Manager

The best part of my job is…
I love showing the students a lot of beautiful places on our different tours in Scotland, Dublin and London.
I also find it fascinating being together with students from so many different countries.

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
I used to teach Danish students English at different summer schools in the UK and Malta. There I learned how important it is to bring young people from various countries together in order to get new friends and experience new cultures.
When I got the opportunity to join InterStudies I grabbed it:-)

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Be open – be curious – be adaptable! Spend time with your host family and don’t forget to meet new people.
Be present – meaning: you are in a new country, therefore it is important to stay focused and don’t spend a lot of time on friends back home.
This is a ‘once of a life time experience’ and you must grab as much as you can!

My favourite travel destination is…
I love and have travelled a lot: UK – Ireland – Malta – USA – New Zealand – Australia.
It’s difficult to name only one. There are places in each country I favour.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
In my garden

Chris Clunan

Key Account Director and Webmaster

“Living abroad at a young age was a great experience and I think it is fantastic to be able to help give the same experience to others.”

My role at InterStudies is…
I work with some of our partners, helping to recruit the students who join our programmes. I also work with our websites, student app, and other digital media.

The best part of my job is…
Variety, I do so many different things that my job never gets boring. I also love joining our arrival camps as a leader. There’s something special about meeting our students when they arrive at the start of their year – and it is a great reminder of why we do what we do!

I was inspired to work with student exchange by…
I lived in Israel for 5 months when I was 18. Living abroad at a young age was a great experience and I think it is fantastic to be able to help give the same experience to others.

The best piece of advice I could give one of our students is…
Grab opportunities and make the most of your experience!

My favourite travel destination is…
Difficult question! Anywhere I have not been before – it’s always exciting to experience a new destination 🙂 Having said that, I love Crete, and I definitely have plans to go back to Iceland.

When I’m not at work you can find me…
Trying to stay active. I like running and going to the gym, and I’m trying to get back into mountain biking.

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