Frequently Asked Questions
How culturally diverse is your school?
We are proud that our school community is truly diverse with over 60 nationalities and over 40 languages spoken among more than 1100 students. Many of our students also hold multiple citizenships and these can be registered in our school information system. However, we appreciate that diversity goes beyond nationality and as such, our school celebrates a wealth of cultures within our community. Throughout our curriculum, our students learn what it is to be an outward-looking global citizen while also learning from and respecting those whose values may be different from one’s own. Our affiliation with the UN underlines the values of tolerance and acceptance in our efforts to achieve a better world through inspiring learning, connecting communities and being responsible. Our cultural diversity policy is what sets us apart from many other international schools because we do not permit any one nationality to exceed 20 per cent of the student population.
How is UNIS Hanoi different from other international schools in Hanoi?
UNIS Hanoi is the first international school established in Vietnam, one of only two United Nations Schools in the world, and the original IB World School in Asia. We are a not-for-profit school. Tuition fees are invested directly in providing the highest quality education and inquiry based learning environment for all our students. Our mission is to encourage students to be independent, lifelong learners who strive for excellence and become responsible stewards of our global society and natural environment, achieved within a supportive community that values diversity and through a programme reflecting the ideals and principles of the United Nations.
Where are our teachers from?
Our classroom and subject teachers are drawn from a multicultural mix of English-speaking countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, the UK, and the US. Our foreign language teachers are nationals from France, China, Italy, Spain and Brazil. As well, our mother tongue teachers come from China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and Sweden. And we are most fortunate to have a very competent group of Vietnamese faculty who are foreign language teachers, mother tongue teachers and teacher assistants. Our faculty possess a broad range of international experience and are tasked with inspiring our students everyday in their learning journey.
Does UNIS Hanoi offer learning support?
UNIS Hanoi is able to serve a managed number of students with learning, behavioural and emotional needs and some grade levels do reach capacity in our learning support programmes. We offer limited student support services at this time, such as counselling, learning support and speech therapy. Families should be aware that there are limited facilities and specialists available in Hanoi and it can be difficult to access services such as occupational therapists, paediatricians, physical therapists and other professionals within the local community.
How many students are there per class?
We endeavour to maintain class sizes that offer students maximum opportunities for instruction and learning. The maximum number of students enrolled per class is 22. The classrooms of our early learners have both an expatriate teacher and a local teaching assistant to support students (the number of teaching assistants per grade level decreasing as children grow in independence).
How is UNIS Hanoi connected to the United Nations?
UNIS Hanoi is very proud to be one of only two UN schools in the world.
In 1988 the international diplomatic community requested that the United Nations establish an international school in Hanoi to support the development of Vietnam. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the UN Resident Coordinator and the Vietnam Ministry of Education and a start up loan was made available by UNDP and UNICEF. The Head of School at UNIS New York, Joe Blaney, was instrumental in establishing the Hanoi school premises and furnishing resources, including the secondment of a UNIS NY teacher to become our first Head of School, Dr Alice Ann Winner.
Today, we welcome over 1,100 students each day and UNIS Hanoi actively continues to use the work of the UN to set context and provide case studies and problem-solving challenges for our students. With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, the commitment has grown even stronger and new curriculum with direct links to the SDGs has been introduced across Elementary, Middle and High School, with more initiatives in development.
The 17 SDGs provide a framework for the school’s Service Learning programme which involves students at every grade level. This helps in ensuring that taking action and service are real and meaningful learning experiences, linked to real issues and situations.
UN Day is celebrated across the world by international schools and UN agencies every year. At UNIS Hanoi a more meaningful link between the learning that takes place in the classroom and the work of the UN is forged through a range of activities and a formal celebration.
The Model United Nations at UNIS Hanoi has grown from a group of 30 to more than 100 Middle and High School students in the last five years as the programme has developed. In addition to sending delegations to MUN conferences internationally, UNIS Hanoi hosts annually a three-day MUN conference focusing on engaging Vietnamese high schools with more than 200 students from 15 Schools.
What is your curriculum?
UNIS Hanoi is an IB World School. It is the only school in Hanoi and the first school in Asia to offer IB education at all grade levels, from discovery through to grade 12. The International Baccalaureate incorporates a learning cycle of enquiry, action and reflection that promotes critical, creative and analytical thinking. Our Elementary students up to grade 5 participate in the Primary Years Programme while students in grades 6 to 10 participate in the Middle Years Programme. In grades 11 and 12, our High School students undertake the academically challenging two-year Diploma Programme in preparation for university entrance. For more information, please consult International Baccalaureate Education.
How are students assessed throughout the school year at UNIS Hanoi?
The evaluation of student progress by teachers is a continuous process and we communicate to parents about the progress and attainment of your children in a variety of formats throughout the school year.
In Elementary School, 3-way parent-student-teacher conferences take place twice a year; school reports are also issued twice a year. In the spring, student-led conferences occur, which involves the children discussing their work and their progress, in a selected area of learning, with their parents.
In Middle School and High School, teachers examine all areas of student development including homework, participation, quizzes, tests, project scores, organisation and independence. 3-way parent-student-teacher conferences are held shortly after the first and third quarters. School reports are issued at the end of each semester and progress reports are issued mid-semester. In grades 9 and 10, the reports also show progress towards the IB MYP criteria for each subject area.
Do you use standardised tests?
Yes, we employ two types of standardised testing at UNIS Hanoi.
Students in grades 3 to 9 undertake the International Schools Assessment (ISA), which is based on the internationally-endorsed reading and mathematical literacy frameworks of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It is used by schools with an international focus whose language of instruction is English.
Students in grades 3 to 8 also participate in the Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) test twice each academic year. The test provides additional data on student achievement and progress in order to support our understanding of individual learning and the quality of our educational programme. UNIS Hanoi students do the Mathematics, Reading and Language Usage components of the MAP test.
What is the PYP Exhibition and the MYP Personal Project?
The student-led PYP Exhibition takes place towards the end of grade 5 and represents the culmination of learning that has taken place throughout the Primary Years Programme. The Exhibition provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to initiate and manage their depth of understanding and enquiry into their topic.
The MYP Personal Project takes place over several months in grade 10. Students conduct a sustained, self-directed and in-depth investigation into a topic of their choice to create a product, write a formal report and record the process in a journal. The Personal Project enables students to demonstrate the skills, attributes and knowledge required to complete a project over an extended period of time, and to demonstrate responsible action through, or as a result of, learning in a global context.
What is the IB Diploma Programme?
The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) spans the two years of grade 11 and 12 and provides a balanced pre-university curriculum, encourages social responsibility and self-management, equipping students for higher education. Students undertake external exams and externally-moderated internal assessments in grade 12. The IBDP is highly respected by schools and universities worldwide, with some universities offering advanced placement credits that acknowledge the academic level achieved by students.
What is the Bilingual Diploma?
The Bilingual Diploma is awarded to students who successfully complete two Language A courses, one in English and one in a language in which the student is fluent. Students may take the additional Language A course as a self-supported subject. Past UNIS Hanoi students have accomplished the Bilingual Diploma with the additional languages of Danish, Dutch, Italian, Malay, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
What sort of personal technological devices are used to enhance learning at school?
UNIS Hanoi’s vision is to be a leader in the region in the use of technology for learning. We strive to create learning experiences where technology is integrated through all curriculum areas in the context of classroom learning. The school currently implements a 1:1 device programme from grades 3 to 12. All students from discovery to grade 12 have access to shared iPads. Students in grades 1 and 2 have access to shared laptops.
We are a Google Apps for Education school and our students currently use a combination of iPads, Chromebooks and Fujitsu Lifebook tablets. We install WebRoot, a computer-based filter, on all Fujitsu tablets. In addition, we install an appliance to filter all network traffic on campus. These seek to prevent students from accessing inappropriate websites both at school and off-campus. Students are expected to use all technology ethically and appropriately.
Beginning in August 2018, UNIS Hanoi is moving to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model in High School. All students in grades 9 to 12 are required to bring a computer of their choice to meet their learning needs. BYOD programmes allow students to make choices about which device to use and how to use it to meet situational learning needs, to choose applications for completing assignments, to organise resources and to collaborate on projects and presentations. This decision-making process is an important aspect of building independent, lifelong learners. The school will train students to use their own devices to enhance their learning at school in addition to home use.
Students in grades 3 to 8 receive the following equipment when starting at UNIS Hanoi:
- Chromebook or Notebook PC with Tablet features and Stylus or Macbook (device to be determined);
- Electrical Charger;
- School-approved Case or Carry Bag.
When should I submit an application?
We offer rolling admissions, which means that families may enquire for an application at any time of the year. You should contact us well in advance of your anticipated starting date. Applications for our school are not available on the website and shall be released only for grades which are open to further applicants. The academic year at UNIS Hanoi starts in mid-August and finishes in mid-June. Vacancies shall be filled throughout the school year; however, admissions open around January for the following school year starting in August.
What is the policy regarding grade allocation and age placement for elementary aged students?
The academic year at our school runs from August to June, and the cut-off date for our age to grade level placement is 31 August - UNIS Hanoi Age Placement. It is our normal practice to place elementary aged students into their age appropriate grade levels in our programmes. A final determination regarding grade allocation shall be made by the School Principal upon review of a completed application.
What is the policy regarding grade allocation and age placement for middle and high school aged students?
The academic year at our school runs from August to June, and the cut-off date for our age to grade level placement is 31 August. If your child is applying for placement outside their age range, consideration of their academic performance, school history and full application information will be made in confirming appropriate grade. In all cases, the School Principal shall make the final determination regarding grade allocation based on the potential for each child to be successful within our programmes.
I would like to have a campus tour. How can this be arranged?
We would be delighted to meet with you! If you would like to visit our school for a campus tour, please contact us by submitting an enquiry form and request a tour. Campus tours are available from 9:00 am to 16:00 pm on weekdays. Please contact a member of the Admissions team.
How does the waiting list operate?
Completed applications will be placed on the relevant waiting list on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis in accordance with UNIS Hanoi admissions policies. Waiting lists look different in each grade level. We endeavour to enroll new students throughout the school year as placements become available. However, due to the admissions policies that are applied to our school, such as prioritisation, cultural diversity and caps on support programmes, it is not possible for us to guarantee placement in advance for each child who applies. As the school year progresses, we can provide further details about the possibility of placement for waiting list applicants which will be based on the number of student withdrawals, priority applications and availability of places within our EAL and Learning Support programmes, all of which influence the number of vacancies in each age group.
Do you need to be proficient in English to be accepted into the Middle School and High School?
All students entering into the Middle School and High School must have sufficient English language skills in order to be accepted into the programme. In addition, at UNIS Hanoi, students entering the High School must have reached a high level of language proficiency as there is no support offered in English as an Additional Language (EAL) from grade 9 to 12.
Do we need to have academic documents translated into English?
If your child’s school reports are not in English, please provide a notarised English translation. Please contact your admissions advisor for details and assistance.
I have no school reports for my pre-school child. What do I submit?
Please request the current or past kindergarten/nursery teacher to issue a letter or development report that includes information on what your child has learned at the kindergarten (subjects, activities, etc) and how your child has performed and progressed within their programmes. If your child has never attended kindergarten/nursery, please inform your admissions advisor accordingly.
What is the high school transcript?
This document is required upon entry into grade 10 to 12 or into the semester 2 of grade 9. Please ask the current school to issue the "official transcript" which includes information such as subjects taken and grades/credits earned by your child during their time spent in High School (grade 9 and above). This is an important document because it is an official representation of your child's learning to date and will be required as part of any university application. We would appreciate families to submit the end of semester or final transcript following withdrawal as soon as they are available to you.
Why is it necessary to provide a full medical examination and vaccination information before my child starts school?
In order to complete administrative tasks related to each child’s transition into the school, families are required to submit a completed medical package, inclusive of a medical examination and full immunisation history, for review by the nurse in advance before the child starts school.
We appreciate that many families will have to consider planning for a child’s medical during an overseas transition. You can choose to have your child’s family doctor complete the health check or you can access medical facilities within Hanoi whom many of our current families will use throughout the school year.
Aiming to keep our community healthy, the School Health Centre stresses the utmost importance of vaccinations, particularly in Vietnam where the local population are affected by many of these diseases. UNIS Hanoi requires all students have an up to date immunisation schedule as per the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Please refer to the CDC immunisation schedule for your information.
What is the process for paying tuition and fees?
After parents have completed and signed the enrolment contract indicating their choice of payment, the school business office will issue a debit note to families with deadlines for payment.
Please kindly note that payment of the tuition and fees is the legal responsibility of the parents. Parents may nominate a third-party representative to be included in correspondence, however, parents are responsible for any non-payment of the tuition and fees. UNIS Hanoi does not enter into third party negotiations regarding the tuition and fees payment.
Do I need to pay full annual tuition and fees at one time?
Parents may choose to pay full annual tuition and fees at the beginning of the school year or pay quarterly. A quarterly payment plan has no refund option and a four percent finance charge will be levied on the annual tuition fee.
Does UNIS Hanoi offer discounts in tuition and fees?
Families with three or more children simultaneously in attendance at UNIS Hanoi will receive a ten percent discount on tuition fees for the third child and a fifteen percent discount on tuition fees for the fourth child and subsequent children. For children who have attended UNIS Hanoi for four consecutive years, a discount of USD500 of the Annual Capital Fee will be applied, beginning with the fifth year of attendance.
Does UNIS Hanoi grant scholarships for students?
The UNIS Hanoi Scholarship Fund offers the opportunity for Vietnamese students from low-income families, who are excelling at their local schools, to enter UNIS Hanoi with a full (100%) fee waiver until graduation.
Do you offer an English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme?
Our student population represents a diverse range of languages and cultures and many of our students are non-native English speakers. These students participate in a comprehensive English language support programme (English as an Additional Programme - EAL) to help them succeed at UNIS Hanoi. School policy limits the number of EAL students in each age group up to grade 8, which helps to maintain a strong language-learning environment. Kindly note, all students entering the Middle School and High School must have a proficient level of English language in order to be accepted into the programme.
How do we determine EAL applicants?
Kindergarten and Elementary School students participate in the WIDA Access Placement Test to determine their English proficiency. Please refer to the English as an Additional Language (EAL) section on our school website for details. Middle School students participate in the English assessment provided by our school.
Do you offer a home language programme?
UNIS Hanoi believes in the value and importance of students maintaining and developing their home language (sometimes called Mother Tongue language). All the Home Language programmes, except for Vietnamese, are paid for in full by the community members participating in the programme. This is in addition to the payment of full tuition and fees of the regular UNIS Hanoi programme. Home Language community groups are self-formed and take the responsibility for finding a suitable teacher. Home Language classes can be organised to meet during the school day at times that fit within the UNIS Hanoi schedule, or after school. Please see this page for details of current home language groups at UNIS Hanoi.
What foreign language classes do you offer?
For grade 1 to 5, French, Mandarin and Vietnamese are offered as World Language classes (World Languages section of Grade Level Guides). In the Middle School and High School, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese are offered as Languages of Acquisition (Language Acquisition section of Curriculum Handbooks - G6-G10 MYP / G11-G12 DP).
Do students wear a uniform?
UNIS Hanoi does not have a school uniform. Students should wear practical and comfortable clothing and footwear that allow for the freedom to be involved in many ‘hands-on’ activities that take place at school. Students should dress neatly and respect the diversity of our community. Extremes in styles are to be avoided.
UNIS Hanoi is a sun safe school. This means students are to wear hats/caps when working and playing outside. In addition, students are required to wear a PE uniform during Physical and Health Education classes.
What time does school begin and end?
School starts at 8:10 and finishes at 15:20 every day for Elementary School students and 15:25 for Middle School and High School students, except Wednesday when school finishes early at 14:30 for all students.
A typical example of a student day in Elementary School would be as follows: 7 classes of 40 minutes, a morning break to snack and play at 9:50, a 50-minute lunch at 11:35, and an afternoon break for play at 13:55. A typical example of a student day in the Middle School and High School would be as follows: 5 classes of 65 minutes, a morning break at 10:40 and a 40-minute lunch at 12:30 pm. In addition, students may choose to take part in various after school activities and sports from 15:30-17:30.
Does UNIS Hanoi provide a school bus service?
UNIS Hanoi contracts an external transport company to provide daily travel to and from school. Bus monitors are present to assist students on every bus route. The school provides late buses for students who take part in activities and sports after school.
Currently, about 45% of all enrolled students use the school bus service. UNIS Hanoi provides the bus service to students from various locations in Hanoi, mainly from the West Lake, Ciputra, Ba Dinh, My Dinh, Minh Khai, Long Bien and the city’s center areas. A journey may take around 15-60 minutes, depending on the distances.
During enrolment, families can register for the school bus service when completing the enrolment contract. The Transport Manager will contact families directly to arrange the bus before the child starts school.
Does the school provide lunch?
Students can bring their own packed lunch from home or purchase lunch from the school cafeteria (See school cafeteria). Lunch is provided by the school for Discovery (full day programme) and Kindergarten 1 students and is included in the tuition fee.
What is the difference between Discovery partial day and full day?
Partial day students attend from 8:10 am - 12:00 pm. Full-day students attend from 8:10 - 15:20 every day except Wednesday when all discovery students finish at 12:00 pm. Lunch is included for full-day discovery students.
What do we need to bring to school?
Sun-hat – students are required to wear a hat during recess and PE.
Water bottle – drinking fountains are available throughout the school.
School bag – large enough to carry an A4 folder (stationery is supplied by school).
Daily healthy snack.
Change of clothes for younger children.
PE uniform – UNIS Hanoi shirt and shorts/skort/leggings in the winter.
Swimming gear – for swim unit in PE (one piece suit for girls, swim shorts for boys, towel, cap and goggles).
Performance attire – black trousers and white button-up shirt with collar.
National attire – On United Nations Day students are encouraged to wear something representing your “national” dress or clothes from a place where you have lived.
Middle School / High School
Stationery such as pencils, pens, highlighters and a calculator should be provided from home.
Grades 6-8 students require a Casio scientific calculator (available for purchase at school).
Grades 9-12 students require a TI-Nspire CX (non CAS) calculator (available for purchase at school).
PE Uniform – UNIS Hanoi PE shirt and shorts/skort/leggings in the winter.
Swimming gear – for swim unit in PE (one piece suit for girls, swim shorts for boys, towel, cap and goggles).
Performance attire – Black trousers and white button-up shirt with collar.
National attire – On United Nations Day students are encouraged to wear something representing your “national” dress or clothes from a place where you have lived.
What is a House?
House Animals are used for competitive sporting events to foster team spirit. Each student belongs to one of the following house teams: Buffaloes, Eagles, Lions, or Tigers although siblings are placed together into the same group. Our school mascot is a Phoenix and his name is Phelix.
Where do school families live?
UNIS Hanoi families are spread throughout Hanoi, although a large number choose to live in Tay Ho district for convenience of access. Other areas where families live include Ciputra - the residential compound in which UNIS Hanoi is located, and the districts of Ba Dinh, Cau Giay, Long Bien and Hoan Kiem. Our school provides an efficient and extensive bus service to cater for students living in various parts of the city.
What sorts of activities are available in Hanoi?
Hanoi is the vibrant, culturally-rich and rapidly developing capital city of Vietnam that still retains old-world charm in pockets of town that are ready for unique discoveries. Walking around the bustling, shop-filled Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem lake (the latter is closed to traffic during the weekend) is a popular past time.
Entertainment opportunities in Hanoi for children include play centres, cinemas, outdoor parks, public swimming pools, lake activities. In addition, for adults there are road and mountain biking groups as well as an active running scene in Hanoi, with highly-organised marathons, half-marathons and triathlons occurring throughout the year in Vietnam and in neighbouring countries. Useful online resources include:
The Word - online version of the free English language monthly magazine with features and news as well as a guide to what's on;
The New Hanoian - Hanoi's community-produced local reviews, classifieds and answers guide;
The Hanoi Grapevine - online guide to events in Hanoi.
Are there any particular social clubs or business associations in Hanoi?
The expat population in Hanoi is wonderfully diverse, reflecting the more than 60 nationalities represented at UNIS Hanoi. There are numerous social clubs, community groups and business associations that welcome newcomers to Hanoi including the Hanoi International Women’s Club (HIWC), whose website provides much useful information, Asian Women and Friends in Hanoi (AWFH), Hola Hanoi, Friends of Vietnam Heritage, Internations. Useful and popular Facebook groups to subscribe to include Wheretoget Hanoi, Foodies in Hanoi, Hanoi Buy Swap and Sell, Hanoi Pet Lovers, Hanoi Kids, Hanoi Events. Joining the Hanoi Family google group is also very helpful. In addition, many chambers of commerce exist in Hanoi including American, British, Australian, Indian, German, French, Belgian-Luxembourg, and European. If you would like to find out about a particular cultural group once you are a UNIS Hanoi family, please contact our school’s Community Liaison Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
How can we connect to the UNIS Hanoi community on social media?
Social media apps abound these days enabling connections to be made all over the world. Facebook is very popular and, if you have an account, you can join conversations and gain information on topics relevant to families by subscribing to the following Facebook groups: UNIS Hanoi, UNIS Hanoi ES Parents, UNIS Hanoi MSHS Parents, UNIS Hanoi HS Senate (focuses on High School students) and UNIS Hanoi Phoenix (primarily for sports events). Start by typing in UNIS Hanoi in your Facebook search field.
What can I read to know what’s happening at UNIS Hanoi?
We have several publications available. Our main news delivery service is Tin Tuc, the e-newsletter published each Friday to all families via email. Tin Tuc is also available on our school’s website. Our biannual magazine UNiquely UNIS celebrates the stories of our school and demonstrates what it means to be a UN school. UNfolded is our story by numbers, inviting you to take a deeper dive from the headline numbers into the detail, including data on last year’s graduates, our MAP test results, on our school profile, our service learning groups, our school’s financial management.
What opportunities are there for the wider community to be involved in UNIS Hanoi activities?
There are many different ways in which families can participate in programmes and activities organised by or at UNIS Hanoi. These include our extensive Community Classes and Workshops for adults and children, Summer Programme and Saturday Soccer for children, Adult Sport Leagues in basketball, football and volleyball. In additional, sporting facilities at UNIS Hanoi are available for hire; for more details please refer to Sporting Facilities Booking.