Meanwhile at UNIS Hanoi
Our Global Alumni Notes
Preyanka Clark Prakash (Class of 2000) wrote to proudly share about Bloomtown, the palm oil-free, vegan, cruelty-free body and skincare company she and her husband, Medwin Culmer, started in the UK. Palm oil is an ingredient hidden in many mainstream beauty and food products. After witnessing first-hand the environmental devastation caused by palm oil cultivation in Indonesia, the loss of virgin forest that is home to endangered orangutans, tigers and so much of the world's biodiversity, Preyanka made it her mission to offer truly ethical and cruelty-free body and skincare alternatives. Beautifully hand-crafted, the products are the combination of the founders' love of nature and Preyanka's botany and aromatherapy expertise. Find out more about Preyanka's story, her creations and the very thoughtful ethical policies on Bloomtown's website.
Bridie Taber (Class of 2013) was a part of the Victorian Roller Derby League B Team (Australia), the Queen Bees, that traveled to Dallas, Texas, USA in September 2018 to compete in the World Championships. The team won the 2018 B Team Championships, making them the first non-US team to win the title. Roller Derby is a full contact sport, played on a flat, oval surface where five players from two teams compete to score the most points. Bridie is working and living in Victoria, Melbourne. Bridie's sister Caitlin is also a UNIS Hanoi alumni and their parents Daryl and Cathy Taber are Alumni Faculty/Staff. (Photo: Duane Baker Photography)
If you're ever in bustling London and wish for a small oasis to recharge, look no further! Robin Baxter (Class of 2011) wrote in to share about his new project the Hideaway Coffee. Tucked neatly in a quiet corner of busy Soho, this cozy coffee place focuses on specialty coffee and other drinks. And if you're hungry, you can choose from a selection of salads, sandwiches, slow cooked sirloin or salmon as well as various vegan and vegetarian options. Robin and his business partner, who is originally from Vietnam, hope to create a space where young entrepreneurs can collaborate and develop ideas for positive social change. "We believe with the right tools, connections and confidence young people have the capacity to create innovative solutions to old problems," Robin shares. "Having worked in the hospitality for many years, we want to set an example of what employment in hospitality can look like, such as offering staff London Living Wage, full-time contracts and ensure their voices are heard when important decisions are made." So next time you are in London, don't forget to stop by and have a chat with Robin while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Tram Nguyen (Class of 2010) married James Brown in October 2018. UNIS Hanoi in attendance included Phuong Bui, Le Binh Do, Hau (Lisa) Nguyen, Hoa Le, Nam Vu, Lan Le, Phu Nguyen, Sung Sub (Billy) Choo, all from the Class of 2010 and Elaine who was a friend of Lalita (Lita) Stone (Class of 2010). After the wedding the couple spent a few days in Hoi An before returning to work at Tate and Bibliotheque Design in London. Tram and Billy also found some time to visit UNIS Hanoi right before going back.
Having been elected President of the Essex Feminist Society at the University of Essex, Bryony Rickard (Class of 2015) wrote to share: "I joined the Feminist Society at the beginning of my first year [of university] and have been an active member ever since. In 2016 we made national and international headlines (Huffington Post, RT, and The Sun to name a few) for running a bake sale highlighting the gender pay gap by charging women £0.82 and men £1 for a cupcake. I'm very proud to have been elected President for this academic year and last week welcomed 60 enthusiastic people to our very first meeting. The events we have organised for this year range from facilitating discussions on contemporary feminist issues and fundraising for women's charities, to attending local demonstrations on preventing violence against women and collaborating with other societies to ensure we're supporting the feminist movement on our campus. And of course, we have more bake sales planned so keep an eye out for any more headlines!"
Austinus Jogiono (Alumni Parent) wrote in to share an update: "We are all living in Brisbane, Australia now." Yoel Jogiono (Class of 2011) will soon become a PE and Math teacher, Rachel Jogiono (Class of 2013) is working as a nurse and Miriam Jogiono (Class of 2017) is studying International Business and Hotel Management. The family was at UNIS Hanoi from 2003 to 2006 and Agustinus was very involved with the School, helping with taking pictures or making films.
Izziany (Izzy) Mohd Jamil (Class of 2013) married Saiful Nor Adzhar in a beautiful traditional ceremony in Malaysia. Izzy's best friends from UNIS Hanoi Class of 2013 Yong Kamila (Kamila) Ahmad Solihin, Monica Dluzniewska and Ayaka Yokoyama were in attendance as bridesmaids.
Savka Akester (Class of 2017) and mother Malena Akester (Alumni Parent) visited UNIS Hanoi during their week back in Hanoi. Savka is attending university in Cornwall, UK while Malena lives in Myanmar and travels back and forth between Myanmar, the UK and their home country Mexico. Savka's sister, who is also a UNIS Hanoi alumna, Hazel Akester (Class of 2012) is working in bio-diversity conservation in Cambridge, UK.
Anna Muehlichen (Class of 2012) is working for Igloo Music Studio, a Grammy winning sound recording facility in Los Angeles, USA. She recently worked as Assistant Audio Engineer at the recording session of the score to the highly anticipated superhero film, Deadpool 2. Composed by Tyler Bates, the score featured a 80-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony and a 34-person choir. "This was my first time in a scoring session of this size and it was absolutely indescribable. It was an absolute joy and huge learning experience to watch and assist the audio engineers of Igloo Music," Anna shares.
Risako (Class of 2012) and Rikako Tani (Class of 2014) and their mother Mariko Tani (Alumni Parent) visited from Japan where they currently live. Rikako is studying at university and Risako is working in communications/broadcasting. Rikako is delighted to visit her classroom from when she was at Elementary School while Risako remembers bits and pieces from her time in ECC. The family enjoyed catching up with Naoko Inui (Alumni Parent - Current Faculty/Staff) and visiting the new Canteen in the new building Ly Thai To Learning Centre. Risako and Rikako also got to purchase the new UNIS Hanoi hoodies from the School Shop.
Hazel Kevlihan (Class of 2019) published her first book Two Lies and a Diamond on Amazon. Hazel wrote in to share, "I started writing this book because I have always loved heist stories. The kind that stun you with their action-packed scenes and intelligent characters. Two Lies and a Diamond brings the ambiance of a heist movie to the streets of Dublin."
"I moved to Ireland after attending UNIS Hanoi, and I thought it was important to bring an international background to my book in order to reflect my own experience. As a result the characters, while primarily Irish, reflect a diverse range of family cultures. I'm excited to have this book finally published and available for purchase. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing such unexpected ideas come together, and being able to combine them into a complete whole."
Hazel's first published piece of work is Right Between the Eyes, a short story that was published in the Copperfield Review in August 2017. Hazel also won a commendation prize in the Irish Times' Read the Africa Day 2017 Writing Competition with her short story Drumming, which was based on her experience living in both Ghana and Ireland. Currently Hazel is working on a gender-bender fantasy with a flexible definition of magic with the working title Morningstar while toying with the idea of a food-truck based romance. Hazel shares her short stories and the progress of her works on her website hazelkevlihan.com
Rhianne Lovell-Boland (Class of 2008) married Samuel Lovell-Boland in lovely ceremonies in the UK and in Malaysia. Rhianne was thrilled to celebrate her wedding in the UK surrounded by her best friends from UNIS Hanoi, Kate Allison and Olwyn Griffith (Class of 2008). Rhianne and Sam met at university in London and both now live and work in media in Singapore.
Toby Penrose (Class of 2011) stopped by the School while visiting Vietnam this Autumn. He was thrilled to see all the changes on the campus. "There were certainly a lot of memories which flooded back to me. I met up with Mr Phi and discussed where we are in life and how much I have grown," He shared. Toby is living in the UK and studying to become a commercial pilot.
Monica Michaan (Class of 2005) married Nathan Ruiz in a beautiful ceremony in Spring 2018. The tables of the wedding reception were named after the places Monica and Nathan have lived, so one of the tables was named Vietnam. Monica herself has built and painted a wooden world map wall art to illustrate this. Monica and Nathan live in the USA.
Frida (Ahlsen) Hallin (Class of 2009) married Johan Hallin in a Vietnam-inspired wedding ceremony this Summer 2018. Nem and nước chấm was served as starter and everybody had cà phê sữa đá with the wedding cake. The bride and groom and the guests also danced Múa sạp with bamboo sticks brought from Hanoi. When the party was almost over, bánh mì was served to partygoers who had had been dancing all night long! There was a large contingent from the UNIS Hanoi Class of 2009 in attendance: Jessica Penrose, Duc Le, Gustav Laursen, Kenneth Benitez and Yena Kwak. The friends, who have known each other for 15 years, and some of whom hadn't seen each other for 10 years, spent many nights talking about memories and sharing stories of UNIS, from the old campus to the current. Frida and Johan had their honeymoon wild camping in Sweden, almost living off of nature. The couple hopes to return to Vietnam in the future for a second honeymoon. Frida is working and living in Halmstad, Sweden.