“I want people with disabilities to feel encouraged”

 Do Gyun Kim, also known as Alex, is super excited to be   graduating. The 18 year-old from South Korea can’t wait to finish   school and reconnect with his big sisters and grandmother who   are eagerly awaiting his return home. With plans to head to   university to study computer science engineering, Alex’s   childhood dreams are falling into place. 

 But there’s another reason he’s elated. “I can’t believe I’ve   completed the IB Diploma!” Alex confessed. “There was a time   struggled so much with my courses, I was ready to quit.”


The time he refers to was just twelve months ago. Alex, who has been hard of hearing since he was a year old, had found it challenging to keep pace with classroom learning. To get by, he lip reads in both English and Korean - a skill he taught himself in Grade 4. By lipreading and with the support of phenomenal friends and teachers, Alex has performed well throughout his school career. 

He revealed however, “It wasn’t until Grade 11 that I decided to take control of my learning. This meant having the courage to ask my teachers to wear a microphone in every single class so that I wouldn’t struggle to hear them. Lip reading alongside the use of the audio amplification system has worked well for me. I ultimately learned that if I willingly use the resources available to me, I could achieve my goals. I’m pleased to have been able to complete the IB Diploma - a programme that’s incredibly rigorous.”

Determined to positively use his personal story of triumph over struggle, Alex has been mentoring younger students with hearing challenges. Working with the School’s Learning Support team, Alex encourages other UNIS Hanoi students to utilize the services available to them, just like he learned to do. His work with young people and his personal resolve to overcome challenges was recently recognised in the form of an award. 

Describing how he felt when he received the School’s Director’s Award at a special High School assembly last month, he said, “I’m pleased to be seen as an inspiration to other students. I want people with disabilities to feel encouraged that they too can succeed at School, despite any challenges they may face.”

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