What’s happening?

“Why is the water in toilets in B8b dirty?” It’s not dirty water, it’s rainwater! Have you ever noticed you’re walking on a rainwater collection system when you enter the Canteen?

What are we doing about it?

Rainwater is collected from the roof of B8b and flows through a drainage system into this 40 m3 rainwater collection tank. The water then feeds through a pump system into all the toilets and urinals throughout B8b. Harvesting and using rainwater reduces our use of processed water services and naturally recycles rainwater. Every 40 m3 tank of rain water we collect provides over 88,000 B8b toilet flushes, that’s a lot of processed water saved!

What can YOU do to help?

Other easy ways that everyone can save water at home include:

1.  Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.

2. Turn off the tap while washing your hands.

3. If it’s yellow, let it mellow. This tip might not be for everyone, but the toilet is one of the most water-intensive fixtures in the house. Do you need to flush every time?

4. Fix your leaks. Fixing leaky faucets can mean big water savings.

5. Shower Bucket. Instead of letting the water pour down the drain, stick a bucket under the faucet while you wait for your shower water to heat up. You can use the water for flushing the toilet or watering your plants.

STEAMfest – 18 May

You are invited to…

Join us for a day full of exciting activities! Come connect, share ideas and learn how Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math come together to form STEAM!!

Students, staff, and parents are invited to share an activity or demonstration on STEAMfest. Email Sarah Schneider at sschneider@unishanoi.org by 18 April 2019 to sign up!

Who: UNIS Hanoi community
What: Showcase of STEAM-related work and ideas including:

  • Local STEAM celebrity guest speakers
    1. Trang Tran: CEO & Founder of organic & sustainable agricultural company Fargreen
    2. Luong Trung Tien: Founder of creative science/ STEM channel called Táy Máy Tò Mò
  • Variety of demonstration booths and challenges
  • Underwater robot obstacle course
  • Lunch options provided for purchase

Where: UNIS Hanoi (B8B & pool)
When: 18 May, 9 AM – 1 PM

Questions, comments, or concerns? Email sschneider@unishanoi.org

Our Alumni

Kevin Wade (Class of 2009) is running for Virginia House of Delegates. Kevin will be on the ballot for the Democratic Primary Election on June 11. Kevin comes from a Thai-American family and attended UNIS Hanoi from Grade 9 to Grade 11. Click here to find out more about Kevin and support him.

Every week we feature a short profile of one of our global alumni in Tin Tuc. UNIS Hanoi is connected to 55% of all alumni students, families and faculty with our very own world wide web connecting UNIS Hanoi in the four corners of the globe!

From the Head of School

Dear Parents,

We would like to thank everyone who attended the Community Meeting that was held last Tuesday. If you were not able to make the meeting, the notes can be found here.

Have a restful and safe break.

Yours sincerely,

Jane McGee

Grade 10 Work Experience Program – Can our Grade 10 students join your workplace for a week?

The goal of the Work Experience Programme is for students to develop a better understanding of the links between school and the skills students will need in their working life. This Work Experience will also give students a chance to meet working professionals to inquire about the daily tasks, responsibilities, working day structure, qualifications needed and to learn more about how they arrived at where they are today in their profession. We feel confident that students will enhance not only their communications and leadership skills, they will learn more about their own strengths and interests throughout this process. Work experience may also help students navigate future university and career decisions.
This year’s Work Experience Programme will take place June 3 – 7, the final full week of school. Work Experience is compulsory for all Grade 10 students and will function as the cumulation of their MYP learning journey. We are currently working towards developing a database of workplace options, however, if requested and approved, students can arrange their own work experience placement.
Please consider registering to host two or more students in June by completing this FORM by 3 May. We are reaching out to the UNIS Hanoi Community for your help in creating meaningful work experience placements.  Even if your workplace is not a match for students this year, we would still appreciate adding your company or organisation to our database of placement options for future years. We want to expand the options for our students as this programme grows.
Your support is VERY much appreciated!

STEAMfest – Save the date!

You are invited to…

Join us for a day full of exciting activities! Come connect, share ideas and learn how Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math come together to form STEAM!!

Students, staff, and parents are invited to share an activity or demonstration on STEAMfest. Email Sarah Schneider at sschneider@unishanoi.org by 18 April 2019 to sign up!

Who: UNIS Hanoi community
What: Showcase of STEAM-related work and ideas including:

  • Local STEAM celebrity guest speakers
    1. Trang Tran: CEO & Founder of organic & sustainable agricultural company Fargreen
    2. Luong Trung Tien: Founder of creative science/ STEM channel called Táy Máy Tò Mò
  • Variety of demonstration booths and challenges
  • Underwater robot obstacle course
  • Lunch options provided for purchase

Where: UNIS Hanoi (B8B & pool)
When: 18 May, 9 AM – 1 PM

Questions, comments, or concerns? Email sschneider@unishanoi.org


What’s happening?

Do you know that UNIS Hanoi has community gardens across three school divisions? Do you know that the vegetables grow in our gardens are 100% organic?

What are we doing about it? 

Have you ever asked yourself what it takes to bring vegetables and grains to your dining table?

UNIS Hanoi, Sustainable UNIS Hanoi, Sustainability Committee, Green UNIS Hanoi

A group of HS students has devoted 3 hours per week to learn about sustainable gardening. The students started this project from the beginning of the school year as part of their Service learning activity. By cultivating this piece of land from scratch, the group has learnt that gardening and organic gardening, in particular, is an ongoing process and requires huge efforts to make it happen.

Even though it is truly rewarding to see the plants sprout and grow, there are a lot of work needs to be done on a regular basis including turning the dirt, sowing, watering and weeding until the harvest days.

What can YOU do to help?

Appreciate the food that you eat every day.

Reduce food waste.


Our Alumni

Brendan McGibbon (Alumni Faculty) wrote to share about his most recent project – an AI character that can help in the classroom. Read Brendan’s message below:

“Hello from Japan!

I left UNIS about 4.5 years ago and I really miss my friends there and of course – beautiful Vietnam. I left because I was offered the opportunity, with my wife Izumi, to start a new boarding school in Japan and design a 3- year stand alone leadership course that focuses on Mindfulness, Neuroscience, Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship. It has gone really well and it’s now the cornerstone of the school ethos. I think the school wide leadership course is really unique and would love to share it far and wide.

Right now my most recent personal Leadership project is starting to take off. I am focusing on how we might use AI in the classroom to help students think through difficult problems when they get stuck. I created the character TIVI and he is helping people in two ways. Firstly I am writing some good old fashioned graphic novels aimed at creating a growth mindset in elementary students and help reframe challenges as opportunities to learn about themselves and secondly I have created a fun conversation bot. When I have enough data I will refine it and begin the laborious work of coding the AI. 

Here is the link to the Kindbot Beta TIVI: https://landbot.io/u/H-140105-20LRFAH93KRY9Y0I/index.html

I’m at 500 users now and growing. Each time someone uses it it can be refined and expanded to learn more scenarios and I can program more features. Try it out.
I wish UNIS well and please reach out if you are in Japan – want to know more about the leadership program (Gr10-12) or my AI project.

Kind Regards,
Brendan McGibbon”

Every week we feature a short profile of one of our global alumni in Tin Tuc. UNIS Hanoi is connected to 55% of all alumni students, families and faculty with our very own world wide web connecting UNIS Hanoi in the four corners of the globe!

Hot Tips for Hot Summer

It’s time to start preparing ourselves for health concerns while we enjoy the hot season in Hanoi.

Our bodies create a tremendous amount of heat. Normally, it is cooled through sweating and by heat radiating through the skin. But in very hot weather, high humidity, and other conditions, this natural cooling system may begin to fail, letting heat in the body build to dangerous levels. This can lead to heat illness, such as heat rash, cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.

Heat Rash

Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children.

Rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts and in elbow creases.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles may be the cause of heat cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. It is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. Symptoms can include increased thirst, weakness, fainting, muscle cramps, nausea and/or vomiting, irritability, headache, increased sweating, cool, clammy skin and elevation of body temperature, but less than 40°C. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 41°C or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include an extremely high body temperature (above 40°C), red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.

An Ounce of Prevention

Prevention is the best way to manage heat-related illness. Some tips to prevent heat stress include:

  • Keep up your fluids – you need to drink more during hot weather, regardless of how active you are. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Drink plenty of water or other cool, non-alcoholic fluids. Avoid alcohol or drinks that contain lots of sugar. Don’t have extremely cold liquids, as they may cause stomach cramps.
  • Limit physical activity – too much physical activity on a hot day can lead to heat stress. If you can, restrict activity to cooler times of the day.
  • Protect yourself outside – if you must be outdoors, remember to protect yourself from the sun –‘slip, slop, slap’ by covering exposed skin with lightweight clothes, using sunscreen and wearing a hat, ‘seek’ shade and ‘slide’ on sunglasses.
  • Don’t leave children or pets in cars – even on cool days, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Children or pets that are left unattended in parked cars for even a few minutes are at risk of serious heat-related illnesses and possibly death. Never leave children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are left open a fraction.
  • Take it easy – rest often and, whenever possible, stay indoors or in the shade. Teach kids to come indoors, rest, and hydrate immediately whenever they feel overheated
  • Stay cool – and keep air circulating around you. Use air conditioning if possible. (If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping centre or public library.) Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
  • Keep up your energy levels – eat regular, light meals.

For more information on Heat related illness

UNIS Hanoi School Health Centre

Lockdown Drill


Dear Parents,

Health and Safety is one of our highest priorities at UNIS Hanoi. On Tuesday, 23 April at 13:20, the school will be conducting a lockdown drill on campus. This is an announced drill and all staff and students have been informed and trained on what to expect during a lockdown drill. A lockdown drill is one of the emergency preparedness standards required for our Council of International School (CIS) accreditation. The drill will be conducted in the same manner as our regular evacuation drills. Our hope is that we never have an actual need to go into lockdown mode. However, if this unlikely event occurs, please be assured that UNIS Hanoi is prepared to deal with it appropriately. Your child may come home with questions or concerns about this drill.

Some key messages that you may wish to reinforce with your child are:

  • That we should always listen to an authority figure for safety information
  • Practice means being prepared – knowing what to do keeps us as safe as possible
  • This is a ‘just-in-case’ plan – it’s like wearing a helmet when we ride our bikes. We wear helmets and knee pads when we skateboard. We don’t expect to fall, but if we do, we’ll be protected. Then we don’t have to worry. We can just ride our bikes and boards and not even think about falling, because we have the situation covered.

All guests on campus will be required to participate in the drill. If you are visiting that day, please be prepared to follow instructions or move to an area where you are inside and out of view. The gates to the campus will be closed so we ask for your understanding if you arrive during the drill and are asked to wait outside.

Warm Regards,

Misty Shipley
Director of Finance and Operations

Earth Day Actions YOU can do!

Building the world’s largest environmental movement. Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.” (www.earthday.org)

UNIS Hanoi students are taking action for Earth Day this year and they are asking for all community members to take part!

Looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd? We’ve got two ideas to share…

1) Go Green – Literally! Wear your green shirts, shorts, socks, dresses, shoes, what-have-you!

2) Have a look at our UNIS Hanoi Earth Day Action Calendar! Each day connects one small action to a Sustainable Development Goal. Practice one action a day, and challenge yourself to see which actions you can turn into habits for your daily life.

3) PYPX Action – Hour of no Power  Everyone is encouraged to join in this action to raise awareness of effects of climate change and highlight the essential changes needed in consumer behavior to reverse these negative global effects.

4) The SDG Guardians have created a Stop Single-Use Plastic Petition. We invite you to have a read through, and complete this petition. Please add any questions you might have in the comments section, and let us know if you would like to join us in our work!

5) No meat for a lunch! The canteen will also join forces with the student initiatives by having a meat-free lunch on Earth Day. Meat-free protein options will be available.

Happy Earth Day!


The Solution for Plastic Ocean Problem? – Expert Visit at UNIS Hanoi

Dr Sandra Whitehouse is a Doctor of Philosophy, a Marine Biologist and a senior policy advisor with Ocean Conservancy. While she was here in Vietnam talking to different Government bodies about ocean plastics and marine debris, both in the oceans and river systems, she found time to visit with a group of grade five and six UNIS Hanoi students.

Dr Whitehouse made it clear that the problem of plastic entering the world’s oceans is something that can be fixed in 10 to 15 years. She also explained that the issues of plastic and other debris aren’t simple ones. For example, she is often asked why people don’t get rid of plastic water bottles and go back to glass bottles. “The simple answer, in most cases, is the cost of the ‘carbon footprint’ on the climate and a more comprehensive solution to the problems are recycling and reusing.

Dr Whitehouse explained that Ocean Conservancy and corporate companies are actively looking for ways to reduce waste that is environmentally damaging, through an initiative called the ‘Trash Free Seas Alliance’. Working closely with large corporate companies such as Coca Cola, DOW, WWF, Walmart and AMCOR, to name a few, to bring about change in production and strengthen their responsibility for product disposal, is a high priority.

Another subject in Dr Whitehouse’s presentation was Government spending. The amount of money spent by Governments to support waste management systems is minute compared to money spent on other areas such as schools, water and sanitation, and infrastructure.  

Students had the opportunity to ask Dr Whitehouse questions.

Where is all this plastic coming from?

There are two major sources of ocean plastic. 20 percent is actually still coming from sea-based human activities, direct dumping of plastic in garbage off of boats, fishing gear that’s either been lost or improperly discarded, or from containers spilled into the ocean. But what we also know is that 80 percent of plastic is originating from the land from human activities there, and, in that case, it’s from a number of different sources. We now know that the 50 percent of the leakage of plastic into the ocean is currently coming from five rapidly developing countries in Asia and Southeast Asia, and those are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

According to Dr Whitehouse, about 66 percent of wildlife is impacted by marine debris either by damaging digestive tracts, poisoning, or entanglement, and about 8 million metric tons of plastic is getting into the ocean every day; 80 percent coming from land-based activities. Much of the problem is caused by direct dumping due to the lack of waste facilities. So while some countries are producing more plastic, 99 percent ends up in landfills, whereas developing countries such as Indonesia and China don’t have the proper facilities and necessary management.

What is the solution?

“There isn’t one single solution,” Dr Whitehouse said, explaining that there’s a process and some countries struggle with one specific aspect or another, whether that’s collecting the trash or providing a landfill for dumping. “They’ll need to be tailored for each country.” Dr Whitehouse explained that the Ocean Conservancy is working to solve plastic production and disposal issues from the home, to waste management systems such as landfills.

Dr Whitehouse reminded students that part of solving this worldwide problem was in their hands too. By continuing to be well informed about these issues, spreading awareness and educating others. “You are our future and without you, we don’t have a chance to fix these problems”.

Saturday Service Community Day – Sign up now!

Join Saturday Service Community Day on 4 May to make a Better World together!

This Service Learning community event is for UNIS Hanoi students, parents, faculty, staff, our service partners and the wider Hanoi community to connect with each other through fun and meaningful service activities and we hope that you will join in.

On Saturday 4 May there will be a variety of service activities for you to choose from:

  • A visit with Grade 6 students to the Tam Dao Moon Bear Sanctuary: The G6 students are currently collaborating with the Animals Asia on eight different action projects connected to the Moon Bear Sanctuary in Tam Dao. Volunteers for this activity will be led by the G6 students on a tour of the centre in Tam Dao and help them develop their abilities as Moon bear Ambassadors. Volunteers will also be asked to complete some other sketching, photography and research activities connected to the G6 Moonbears projects. This activity is for children of all ages, children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. We are looking for 30 volunteers. The group will leave midday and return to UNIS Hanoi at around 17.30.
  • Keep Hanoi Clean (KHC) clean-up morning: Join Keep Hanoi Clean volunteers in their efforts to contribute to making Hanoi a better environment for all of us. This clean-up session will focus on Hoa Binh Park (about 10 mins by taxi from UNIS Hanoi) and is a family friendly location. Gloves, tongs and water will be provided as we join the KHC team and volunteers to make a difference in the local community. We are looking 50 volunteers to join. Check out Hoa Binh park location on Google Map 
  • Games afternoon with blind students: This year UNIS Hanoi has established a new connection with a local organisation that supports blind and visually impaired children and their families. A group of Grade 8 students and teachers have led one successful day at UNIS Hanoi in Semester 1 and this will be our second session with the group. The Grade 8 students have prepared some educational story based activities for the students to take away and we will also work with the leaders of the group to run sports, arts and music activities with the children. We welcome 10 volunteers of 12 years old and above to come and join in the activities. Please note that children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Games and Art activities with children from Thuy An Village and the Huong La Centre: Come and play fun team and sports games with children from Thuy An Village Orphanage and Huong La Centre. A group of Grade 8 and HS students will lead the children through various sports and arts games. Volunteers will participate in games of football and other arts/ activities set up for our visitors. A great opportunity for members of our community that have an interest and/or expertise in working with people with disabilities to connect with these groups that UNIS Hanoi has develop close relationships with over a number of years. We are looking forward to welcoming 15 volunteers of 12 years old and above to join in.

SIGN-UP HERE to join your favourite activity

The UNIS Hanoi SCO Used Book Sale is happening on the same day in the morning and this year there will be a flea market as well. We will organise a BBQ that we will use to invite our service partners to have lunch with us.

A community that saves lives!

Thank you to community members who took the time to to donate blood yesterday. We appreciate it so much. Your effort shows your generosity, selflessness and dedication to helping others. Those are remarkable traits.

With the help of our 65 participants, we were able to collect 54 units of blood! The real winners are the patients in need of blood. Your effort is truly appreciated by the blood recipients, their loved ones and all of us here at UNIS Hanoi.

In addition to blood donation to the National Institute for Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT), we raised 4,900,000VND for the Service Learning group Operation Healthy Hearts! This event was an all round success and we are committed another blood drive in the following school year.

We hope that we can count on you at our next blood drive. And if you have not given before, consider donating next time!

If you are interested in organising a Blood Drive of your own, you can contact the NIHBT representative Mr Thuy (xuanthuy.dav@gmail.com). He is great to work with and it is very simple to setup. Happy to be of support if you have any questions or share any resources shared!

Thanks again,

Nathalie Grun, Susan McComic and Lan Anh Nguyen

SCO Project Funding Success in Middle School

A special THANK YOU from the “Middle” to the SCO this week!

We have returned from Spring Break to find beautiful, Vietnamese lanterns in B5 and B6.

The MS Leadership Team took it literally when offered last fall and applied for the grant through the invitation…

The SCO develop new initiatives from students, teachers and parents to enhance our school and our community. If you feel the need for some equipment on campus, or have figured out a way to implement the UN’s SDGs within our community, or have an idea for a workshop and need money to make it real, you can apply for funding from the SCO.

To learn more SCO Project Funding website.  Or email sco_funding@unishanoi.org.

Thanks again SCO for helping to enhance our community here at UNIS Hanoi!

Marc Vemeire and the MS Team