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From the Principal's Desk

3rd October 2019

This week we hosted 5 staff members from the US Embassy in Hanoi. The visit included a school tour and a discussion of our inclusion and safety policies, and finished with a pledge for the Embassy and HIS to work more closely together in the future.

School is closed next week for Autumn Break. We wish everyone a safe and restful holiday and look forward to seeing you all on Monday 14th October.

19th September 2019

Elementary parents are invited to attend a workshop next week, presented by Dr Orly Dafni, a Paediatrician with over 18 years of experience. If you would like a translator to assist you at this workshop, please contact our Main Office.

This past week we have celebrated World Rhino Day in the hope that we can reach out to all members of the community with a message of conservation and preservation of the planet's genetic diversity. As you may know, the rhinoceros is at risk of extinction, due mostly to the illegal trade of rhino horn. Please help us to spread the word and please boycott this terrible market.


Terry Hamilton


29th August 2019

Dear HIS Community,

I recently announced that I will retire as Principal of HIS from the end of the 2020 - 2021 academic year, and we are currently recruiting to fill my position. We will let everyone know once a suitable candidate has been secured.

This week our entire secondary cohort participated in Camp Week, with great success. We thank our teachers for their hard work, supervising students - day and night.

Parents and students are reminded that there will be no school this coming Monday 2nd September due to a public holiday.


Terry Hamilton

19th August 2019

Parents are warmly invited to attend our Open House evening this week on 21st August. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet your child's teachers in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

24th May 2019

Our entire school community is invited to celebrate the art work of our students this coming Monday evening. We hope to see you there!

2nd May 2019

Last week we held our annual Other Tongue evening in the auditorium, to celebrate our students' achievements in their additional languages. For the next month, our auditorium will be "home" to our Grade 12 students as they sit their external examinations for the IB Diploma. We wish them every success & look forward to their Graduation evening on 31st May.

24th April 2019

This week we hold our annual PYP Exhibition in the school's auditorium. It's a celebration of teaching and learning, and I am always happily surprised to learn how confidently our Grade 5 students can communicate their ideas to others. Please join us at the exhibition today and tomorrow.

14th March 2019

This week we are proudly hosting the annual MRISA Arts Exchange at HIS. Thank-you to our entire school community for assisting with this marvelous event

28th February 2019

We are delighted to announce that the HIS community has opened its arms to accommodate all the participants in the upcoming MRISA Arts Exchange. We'll publish information regarding the logistics of this event soon.

20th February 2019

We encourage our whole school community to show their Tiger pride by ordering some Tiger athletic merchandise by 25th February. Please refer to the email we sent out earlier this week to all parents, or follow this link

This week we held our first EAL parent coffee morning for 2019 in the library. Parents were able to find out about our new testing program, the WIDA, and asked questions about how our program helps students to build a strong English language foundation for their international education.

31st January 2019

We wish our entire HIS community a very happy and safe Lunar New Year & look forward to seeing our students back at school on Monday 11th February.

Families are reminded that we need MRISA hosts for March - please open your homes & accept a billet from one of our partner schools.

24th January 2019

This week we hosted the entire Grade 5 cohort from Morning Star School for a high school experience day. We thank everyone who made this event possible.

We ask HIS parents to open their homes to host students during the up-coming MRISA Cultural Exchange in March. We must host 70 students from international schools in Lao, Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam and really need your support.

15th January 2019

Welcome back to the second semester of the school year. We trust that everyone had a safe and enjoyable winter holiday and we're looking forward to a very busy Quarter Three.

Our annual board meeting, which was held during the winter break, was very successful and supportive. Our Main Office has said good-bye to Miss Trang, who served at HIS for nearly 12 years. Miss Kelsey has taken her place as admissions officer, a role she is sharing with Miss Han.

We have been actively recruiting staff for the 2018-2019 school year and most positions have been filled to date. We are delighted to announce that from August 2019 HIS will have a Teacher Librarian, Miss Deborah Wells Clinton, who will join us from UNIS Hanoi. In coming editions of our newsletter we will announce further staff appointments.

Health Matters

September 2019 Update

This week I would like to draw attention to Whitmore’s disease and how to prevent it. This is a tropical infection that is generally contracted through contact with polluted water or soil. Symptoms can resemble pneumonia and can include low blood pressure and inflammation of the joints. More prevalent in Thailand, this disease sometimes occurs in Vietnam.

Efforts to prevent Whitmore’s disease include: practising hand hygiene, drinking only clean water, and avoiding direct contact with soil, flood-water, or heavy rain.

Nurse Ngan

August 2019 Update

We are currently approaching Dengue Fever season and during the holidays, the school took the precaution of spraying the grounds and classrooms to eradicate potential mosquito breeding zones. We encourage students to wear personal insect repellent to school every day, and to re-apply it after swimming or intense physical activity.

April 2019 Update

It’s time to consider deworming the whole family now that the warm weather has arrived. Intestinal worms are common in Vietnam and can be contracted by eating raw vegetables, under-cooked meat and raw fish. Worm eggs can also be passed on by human-to-human contact, so it’s important to wash your hands regularly throughout the day, especially after touching door handles or money, and shaking hands. Deworming tablets can be purchased very cheaply from your local pharmacy.

March 2019 Update

Families are advised not to purchase or eat any pork products sourced from Vietnam until the country is cleared of the African Swine Flu. We have instructed the school cafeteria not to serve any pork products until the disease is eliminated.

February 2019 Update

The measles virus is currently in the spotlight in many South East Asian cities, so we'll take this opportunity to remind families about vaccinations. Children can be immunized against measles from the age of 12 months upwards. Measles is a highly contagious skin rash that is easily prevented with a series of vaccinations. See your family doctor for advice if you have not yet immunized your children.

January 2019 Update

Bronchitis season has arrived in Northern Vietnam. The symptoms include coughing, mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, fever and a tight feeling in the chest.

For low-level symptoms we recommend wearing a mask, especially on days when the AQI is high. For persistent symptoms, visit your GP.

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