Meet the Inspire Team: Johan Birkedal, Activity Leader

This week, we caught up with Inspire’s Johan Birkedal. Johan is originally from Denmark and became involved with Inspire Education when he came to England a few years ago for a working holiday. Now, Johan joins us each summer as the Multi-Sports Activity Leader, responsible for sports coaching and evening entertainment. Back home, Johan is completing his degree in Sport and Health Science and establishing his own supply teacher business. As you can see, our team are varied bunch, but they all share a passion for one thing: education.

Let’s see what Johan had to say…

Johan, describe yourself in 3 words.

Energetic, smiley and enthusiastic.

What were you like at school?

I was the funny one, the one who teased the teachers – not too much – but just enough to make things fun! I was definitely not the quiet one!

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a film director. I read a lot of books that I wanted to make into movies.

Who inspires you now, and why?

Firstly, Tesla’s Elon Musk.

Secondly, my friend Shabir from Afghanistan, who came to Denmark in a wheelchair when he was 10 years old. He’s had such an amazing journey and is so strong. When life gets tiring, it’s nice to talk to him to put things in perspective.

Finally, my Swedish university professor, also called Johan, who is 70 years-old. He is a person that ‘walks on the edge of boundaries’, and I like that. I like to push my own boundaries.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I watched What Woman Want recently, and thought I’d like to read other people’s minds. Although I’d like to be able to turn my superpower on and off when I wanted.

Favourite English phrase?

There are so many! Being Danish, I find some of the English phrases so weird. For example, ‘I slept like a log’, and of course, ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!’

If you were stranded on a Desert Island, which 3 things couldn’t you live without?

A book that can change into every book, a knife, and a piece of flint and steel so I could survive.

What is your greatest strength?


What is your weirdest quirk?

I really enjoy teasing people. I sometimes push it to the edge of annoyance!

What is your biggest fear?

Not to listen to myself. I never want to make choices and then look back and think that is not what I wanted.

Favourite smell?

Christmas dinner.

Favourite Disney character?

Tarzan…and Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.

What are you most excited about for the future?

I don’t know what it’s going to be. I love the thought of not knowing. It’s terrifying and exciting at the same time; I really enjoy that.

Best memory from Inspire Education?

The final night on the first course I ever did when all the students said goodbye to each other. I realised then how important Inspire was to them and how much they got out of it.

Favourite Inspire trip?

The EFL London trip, when the students have the chance to visit museums and really have the time to look at things in depth.

Favourite Inspire night?

Mission Impossible.

Best advice to offer prospective Inspire students?

Get stuck in! Don’t be afraid, jump into it!

Finally, Lion, Tiger or Wolf?

Wolf, of course!


Next time on Meet the Inspire Team: Jack Whitehead, Head of Photography


Have a burning question for the Inspire Team? Post your comment on our Facebook page Inspire Summer or on Twitter @InspireSummerUK

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