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From the Principal's Desk


We are delighted to announce that HIS will host its first TedX event on Saturday 1st December. Grade 12 student Seung Won has been chosen to make a presentation. We'll share the Youtube video with you after the event.

CIS Preparatory Visit

This week we have enjoyed hosting Eric & James, who have conducted a preparatory visit on behalf of the Council of International Schools. We look forward to reading their report and recommendations so that we can embark on our self-study phase of the CIS accreditation cycle.


Japanese Culture

Our secondary school Japanese students, under the leadership of Grade 12 student Kanato, performed the Soranbushi at the Sheraton Hotel last week to celebrate Japanese culture and traditions. Their dance routine was met by rave reviews!

CIS Report

Last week we submitted our self study report to the Council of International Schools in order that we can embark upon the next stage of the accreditation process. I would like to thank the staff at HIS for their hard work over the past 6 months to prepare this detailed report, and to thank Mr Brian Chanen for his invaluable assistance in the final stages of the submission process.

New Language Program

We have been very pleased with the response to our new after-school language program this year. HIS now offers Russian, German and Japanese to individual or groups of students between the hours of 2pm and 4pm. In addition, we have secured teachers of Spanish and Mandarin and will run these classes if there is demand. Please address all inquires to

CIS Accreditation Update

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Mr Brian Chanen to the position of CIS Report Consultant at HIS. Brian has a very distinguished career in international teaching and his experience includes writing the most recent IB Diploma course for English A Language & Literature, and well as the exams and textbook for this subject. Our report for CIS accreditation is of the utmost importance in the lead-up to our self-study.

Welcome Back!

Welcome back everyone. We are really looking forward to the new school year. We are building on our status as an IB Continuum school, which places us within the top 500 international schools in the world. Expect more information on what it means to be an IB Continuum school as the year progresses.

During the holidays a significant amount of investment was directed into our facilities at HIS, including an upgrade in the Auditorium, Music Art & Design rooms, and the PE department. We have fitted pollution-proof windows in all rooms throughout the school and have installed electronic monitors to measure air quality, with contingencies plans in place for days with high readings.

We are preparing for our Five Year CIS Accreditation visit which is scheduled for 16th to 19th October 2018; teachers are busily completing a report to be submitted to the Council of International Schools in September.

One of our objectives this year is to continue to foster, strengthen and expand learning diversity and inclusion within our practise and ethos. To this end there will be some 'late starts' for all staff - we'll let you know well in advance of these dates.

Our IB Diploma results from the 2017-2018 year were excellent: we had a 100% pass rate and, with an average score of 32.9, we are well above the world average of 29.7. The highest mark achieved by a HIS student this year as 44/45 and we heartily congratulate Chae Rin Oh on her brilliant score.

Yours, Terry Hamilton

Welcome to the many new families that have recently joined HIS!

Save the Date:

HAC Swim Meet @ UNIS: 26th May

French DELF exam: 26th & 27th May

PYP Exhibition: 28th to 30th May

Grade 5 Graduation: 1st June

Grade 11 Work Experience: 4th to 8th June

Grade 5 Transition Day: 5th June

Elementary Leaving Assembly: 8th June

Last day of Quarter 4: 13th June - school closes at 11am

Staffing Changes

This academic year we will farewell the following staff members:

Mr Antoine; Miss Cidra; Miss Katrina; Miss Keiko; Miss Kelsey ; Ms Rebecca; Ms Rupa; Mr Sean; & Ms Tekia

We thank the leaving staff members for their contributions to Hanoi International School and wish them the very best for the next stages in their careers.

In our next few blog posts, we'll introduce you to the incoming staff:

After leaving HIS in 2014, Matt Buxton moved to Indonesia where he held the positions of Acting Head of Secondary and IB Diploma Coordinator at Canggu Community School in Bali. Most recently Matt has worked as IB Diploma Coordinator at the International School of Uganda, a full IB school in East Africa where he has also continued to coach girls' football.

We're delighted to announce that Ms Angela Meikle will join HIS in August as our Head of Elementary & PYP Coordinator. She is currently serving as the PYP Coordinator at UNIS Hanoi.

Public Holidays

Please note that the school will be closed on the following national holidays:

Wednesday 25th April

Monday 20th April

Tuesday 1st May

Fieldtrip to Blue Dragon

This week our PTA visited the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation to tour the facilities and to learn more about the vital work this charity does to combat human trafficking and to assist survivors of this cruel trade to reintegrate into their communities. HIS will soon make an annual donation to Blue Dragon - most of the money raised has been done with the help of PTA and our CAS students.

April Dates

April is an incredibly busy month at HIS. Please mark these dates in your diary:

11th & 12th April: Parent Teacher evenings Grades 6,7,8,9 & 11

16th April: Arts Evening

20th April: Last day of classes for Grades 10 & 12

23rd - 26th April: Book Week

25th April - Ancestors' Day - School closed

26th April: Poetry Night & Secondary "Other" Tongue Evening

27th April: IBDP Exams start

On Wednesday 7th March we held a Coffee Morning for HIS parents & staff, featuring discussion groups on the following topics:

* digital device use

* language acquisition

* spring health issues

* the amazing work done by Blue Dragon to prevent human trafficking in Vietnam

Look out for our next Coffee Morning in Quarter 4.

Image result for council of international schools

Next week, from 19th to 23rd March I will be leading another CIS Accreditation evaluation team in Hong Kong. I have already led a similar team in November ’17 to Dushanbe International School, Tajikistan, and in May ’18 I will lead another CIS Accreditation visit to another school in Hong Kong. HIS has already started the self study process for our own CIS re-accreditation, so these visits I am leading will be of direct benefit to our own school community.


Terry Hamilton


We hope everyone had a wonderful Tet holiday and that you’re ready for an action-packed month! Here are some of the events we have planned for March 2018:

  • Polar explorer Henry Evans will visit HIS this week for a series of inspirational workshops
  • Our Model United Nations (MUN) Team will compete at UNIS from 1st to 3rd March
  • HIS parent coffee morning Wednesday 7th March, 9:30am in the Library
  • Mock exams for Grade 10 & Grade 12 students run from 5th to 9th March
  • School photos (individual portraits & class photos) will be taken on 12th and 13th March
  • Our Junior Soccer Team will participate in a MRISA tournament at UNIS from 15th to 18th March
  • A team of HIS students will attend the MRISA STEAM conference at ISHCMC from 21st to 25th March
  • School closes at normal time for Spring Break on Friday 30th March - reopens on Monday 9th April


Terry Hamilton


Tet Message

As Tet nears, excitement starts to build for the New Year and we are looking forward to the Year of the Dog for many reasons.

This year we will apply for re-accreditation with the Council of International Schools, which means that staff are busily preparing reports and collating evidence to support our application.

HIS has recently been accepted as an SAT testing centre, so we are very pleased that we can offer a safe and stable environment in which our students can sit this important examination.

The Council of International Schools has asked me to lead 2 accreditation teams in Hong Kong in March and May. This will give us an opportunity to share and exchange educational ideas and innovations with two of Hong Kong’s international schools.

We wish all families a safe and happy Tet holiday and look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Monday 26th February.

Chúc mừng năm mới


Terry Hamilton



Health Matters

Food Allergy vs. Sensitivity: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between being allergic to a food and being sensitive or intolerant to it?

The difference between a food allergy and sensitivity is the body’s response. When you have a food allergy, your immune system causes the reaction. If you have a food sensitivity or intolerance, the reaction is triggered by the digestive system.

  • Symptoms of food intolerance include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, and nausea.
  • Symptoms of food allergy include hives, swelling, itching, anaphylaxis, and dizziness.
  • Food sensitivities

    Food sensitivities and intolerances are more common than food allergies. A food triggers an intolerance in your digestive tract. This is where your body can’t properly break it down, or your body reacts to a food you’re sensitive to. For example, lactose intolerance is when your body can’t break down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products.

    Symptoms of food sensitivity vary. But the symptoms of intolerance are all digestive-related. These can include:

  • gas and bloating
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • cramping
  • nausea
  • Food allergies

    Your immune system is your body’s defense against invaders like bacteria, fungus, or the common cold virus. You have a food allergy when your immune system identifies a protein in what you eat as an invader, and reacts by producing antibodies to fight it.

    Food allergies can be fatal, unlike a food intolerance or sensitivity. In extreme cases, ingesting or even touching a small amount of the allergen can cause a severe reaction.


    Staying Healthy in October

    October is the season for Hand Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Northern Vietnam. The French Hospital in Hanoi has released the following list of symptoms: fever, loss of appetite, fatigue and sore throat. Sores will form in the mouth, and/or on the hands, feet, knees, elbows, buttocks, and sometimes the genitals. Sores may look like small spots, bumps or blisters. Sores in the mouth can make eating and swallowing quite painful.

    We can reduce our chances of contracting HFMD by washing our hands regularly throughout the day, as it is transmitted via bodily fluids.

    Cold or Allergy?

    Do you know how to tell the difference between a cold and an allergy? Are you sure?

    A cold is an infection caused by a virus. Allergies are your immune system's reaction to a substance like pollen or pet dander. Because the two conditions cause similar symptoms, like sniffles and stuffiness, many people get them mixed up. Knowing which is which can help you get the right treatment, and that will help you feel better faster.

    It's Probably Allergies If:

    Your mucus is clear or watery. And it will stay clear, instead of becoming thick or discolored like it can with a cold.

    Your eyes are itchy or watery. It's rare to have itchy eyes when you have a cold.

    Your symptoms stay the same. Allergies may feel extra intense for the first day or 2, but you'll have the same symptoms day after day.

    You've had the sniffles for more than a week. A cold usually clears up in 7 to 10 days, but allergies can last several weeks or longer.

    Your symptoms show up only in certain situations. Find yourself sneezing every spring or fall? Those are common times for allergies. Another allergy tip-off: Being in a specific place makes you feel miserable -- for example, in a house with a cat.


    Hygiene & Hand-washing

    Our Nurse, Miss Ngan, wishes to remind all members of the school community of the importance of infection control. Communicable diseases can be spread via hand-to-hand contact, and hand-eye and hand-mouth contact. Washing and drying our hands regularly throughout the school day will considerably lessen the chances of contracting contagious health problems

    Sugar addiction

    The World Health Organisation now recognizes sugar addiction as a disturbing health issue. While the maximum daily cane sugar intake for children is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons, we know that many children exceed this amount on a regular basis. We encourage parents to promote fruit as a healthy alternative to sugary snacks and water as an alternative to sugary soft drinks. For most children, there is no need for cane sugar in their diets, so aiming for a sugar-free diet is a healthy approach.

    Image result for sugar addiction

    Starting School Anxiety

    Back to school anxiety is extremely common, for both new and returning students. It's normal for students to worry about issues such as the prospect of meeting new teachers, missing the school bus, where to sit at lunch time and so on. Sometimes, a child's anxiety about starting a new school year can even have physical manifestations, such as sleeplessness, loss of appetite and eczema.

    As parents, one of the best ways we can help our children deal with this anxiety is to ask exactly what is worrying them, to show empathy and to help them develop a coping plan. Also key is ensuring that our children get to bed at a reasonable time and that they have access to plenty of healthy food options during the school day.

    Best wishes, Nurse Ngan


    Pink-Eye Season

    Conjunctivitis or Pink-eye has reared its ugly head in Hanoi during the past couple of weeks. This is a highly contagious disease and we insist that affected students must stay at home until they are no longer able to transmit the virus to others.

    We can reduce the chances of contracting conjunctivitis by washing our hands frequently, not touching our eyes and not sharing cosmetics such as mascara with others.

    Remember to Hydrate

    In recent days, temperatures have been over 30 degrees Celsius and with summer just around the corner, Hanoi will soon be hot and steamy. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone in our school community to keep themselves hydrated during the coming months.

    Dehydration can occur swiftly during the summer time and can result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, fainting and in extreme cases, brain damage and death, so we take this condition very seriously. Please follow these tips:

    • Avoid drinking drinks containing caffeine
    • Wear a hat when you’re outside
    • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink - sip water all day long
    • Check the colour of your urine regularly; the darker the colour, the more dehydrated you are
    • Eat plenty of water-filled fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupe and oranges
    • Drink water before, during and after exercise
    • If you’re engaging in heavy exercise, drink plenty of water as well as an electrolytes supplement

    Dengue Fever Returns to Hanoi

    During the past week, several cases of Dengue fever have been reported in Hanoi and this is no surprise, for this virus always surfaces when the when starts to warm up. While there is no immunization for Dengue, we can take the following precautions to avoid contacting this mosquito-borne virus:

    • wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts
    • Apply insect repellent every morning and re-apply it throughout the day
    • Clear away pools of stagnant water from your gardens and balconies
    • Sleep under a mosquito net

    Health Matters


    We often see an increase in cases of bronchitis during the spring time in Hanoi. Students with bronchitis can present with blocked noses, sinus pain, shortness of breath, headaches and sore throats.

    We recommend that families seek medical help for bronchitis, especially if it persists. Treatment can include cough medicine, antibiotics (for bacterial bronchitis) and oxygen therapy.

    Are our children getting enough sleep?

    The UK government recently released some new guidelines on how much sleep children & teenagers need in order to maintain optimum physical & mental health. Here they are:

    5 year-old children: 11 hours per night

    10 year old children: 9 hours, 45 minutes per night

    Teenagers: 8 to 10 hours per night

    One of the leading reasons students don't get enough sleep is overuse of digital devices, especially use immediately before bedtime. Laptops & smart phones over-stimulate the brain, making us more alert and therefore delaying the onset of sleep. The blue lights emitted from screens send messages to our brains that it's daytime, making it even harder to get to sleep.

    We recommend that students stop using digital devices at least one hour before bedtime to ensure healthy sleep patterns.

    (photo credit : Huffington Post)

    Allergy-induced asthma

    Now that “Moldy March” has arrived, students with allergy-induced asthma should be extra vigilant. This kind of asthma is triggered by mold spores, pollen and cockroach waste, as well as pets like dogs and cats. At home, we should eradicate mold by keeping our bathrooms and kitchens well ventilated and dry and by using a dehumidifier to lower the amount of water in the air. Cockroaches thrive in dusty and dirty conditions, especially in isolated corners of the house and in the back of food cupboards, so a regular approach to vacuuming will keep these pests out of your home.

    Respiratory infections can also trigger asthma attacks. We can reduce the chance of contracting colds and influenza viruses by washing our hands regularly and keeping our hands clear of our eyes, noses and mouths.

    If you’d like to discuss your child’s asthma with the school nurse, please email Nurse Ngan at .

    For more information about asthma, visit

    A Healthy Eating Reminder

    With Tet fast approaching, we should be mindful about healthy eating. During the next few weeks most of us will increase our calorie intake as we attend family feasts and Tet parties to celebrate the New Year. Let’s remind ourselves of the healthy eating food pyramid:

    • The foods we should eat the most of are vegetables, fruits and grains (brown rice is healthier than white rice!!)
    • Dairy, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts & seeds should be eaten in moderation
    • Healthy fats such as those found in olive oil should be kept to a minimum

    Avoid sugary drinks, candy and super sweet desserts because they add to our risk of developing diabetes and cause tooth decay.

    I wish you a safe and happy Tet - chúc mừng năm mới !!!

    Regards, Nurse Ngan


    Hanoi International School maintains strong links with our ex-students, tracking their progress through their tertiary education and beyond. Visit our Alumni Blog to see news from our past students

    Please help us to build our alumni register

    If you are an ex-student of Hanoi International School and would like us to add you to our register, please send a short description of where you are and what you are doing to the University Guidance Counselor, Miss Ali at