When eighteen year-old Francesco Silva heads off to France for university this summer, it will be the first time in eleven years the French-British national will be living in his country of birth. Francesco, is one of just a handful of students from the Class of 2022 who’s spent the majority of his school years at UNIS Hanoi.
“I feel rooted in Vietnamese culture” Francesco shared, “Although the Sciences Po campus I’ll be joining next year has a large Asian population, I’m aware my peers will view me as a caucasian European man, when actually, I feel more Vietnamese.”
Growing up in Hanoi and attending UNIS Hanoi has been a positive experience for Francesco. Thanks to the School, he’s learned the importance of being kind, open-minded and analytical. They are values his family instilled in him since he was an infant, he says, but having them reinforced at school has made him a better person. He added, “The UNIS Hanoi community has nurtured me to be caring.”
One way Francesco expresses his care for others has been through his efforts to address economic inequalities. “For my Personal Project in Grade 10, I chose to investigate taxes believing that taxing as much as 99% of income from the uber rich will ensure the lives of poor people would improve. I soon learned it wasn’t that straight forward.”
Despite not finding the right solution yet, Francesco remains undeterred in his quest to reduce inequalities in the world. “The older I get the more I want to learn,” he stated.
For the IB Diploma, Francesco opted to study economics and global politics, subjects that would deepen his understanding of how societies work. In addition, he's been an active participant of Model United Nations and a founding member of a debate team that competed in the prestigious Hanoi Debate Tournament. “Participating in the national debate contest was a whole different experience for me,” he said. “I enjoyed debating the topics we were given and disassembling the opponents’ point of view.”
Now with university on the horizon, Francesco believes he’s well prepared for the future. “I’m going to Europe with an open-mind and knowing that I’ll always have a home in Asia.”