In just six years, Concordia International School Hanoi as established itself as a popular American school in rural Hanoi, where expat and local students can work towards AP and dual credit courses on their path to university.
From its academic programme to after-school activities, Concordia International School Hanoi offers a genuine American school experience to students in Hanoi. Also, as part of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the United States, the all-through Concordia Hanoi delivers a very values-based approach to education that is grounded in the Christian faith. While this is one of the newest international schools in Hanoi, it has quickly become oversubscribed with applications from both Americans and foreigners, as well as local students.
Founded in 2011, the not-for-profit Concordia Hanoi follows a US-based curriculum that includes Advanced Placement (AP) and dual credit courses in conjunction with Concordia University Wisconsin. It teaches children aged four to 18 years at its elementary, middle and high schools – all located on one purpose-built suburban campus. There’s also a strong emphasis on sport and the creative arts here, and the school says,
“At Concordia, students, teachers, and parents are dedicated to academics, creativity, and service in a caring and engaging community of learners discovering their talents as scholars, artists, and athletes.”
Concordia Hanoi is the latest addition to the LCMS family of schools, which has been active across the US since the 1860s. More recently LCMS has opened two schools in Asia – Hong Kong International School and Concordia International School – Shanghai. In many ways Concordia Hanoi is a typical US school with a large proportion of female American teachers, homeroom teachers, and even a more casual uniform. In other ways, it has adapted its teaching methods for its international setting and expat student population, including a modern languages programme from elementary school, and while the school has a large American student population, it is home to more than 20 nationalities.
An American education
This all-through school lays down the foundations for an American-style education with its early years programme for children aged four and above. Learning focuses on literacy, maths, science, dramatic play, construction, art, music, water, sand, large motor skills and technology, and the school says that young learners are given “opportunities to grow creativity as they play, create, and explore”.
The school then offers a very holistic education throughout its elementary, middle and high schools. The curriculum is American with “an international flavour” and includes the core subjects and specialist lessons in art, music, PE and Vietnamese culture. The modern language programme, which starts in elementary school, gives students the choice of studying Vietnamese or Mandarin (or English enrichment). Small class sizes of around 20 students ensure that students’ individual needs are met, and the use of classroom computers and tablets gives students the technology skills needed for the modern world; from Grade 3, there’s a 1:1 laptop programme for all students.
In high school, students enter a rigorous academic programme that prepares them for university entry. Seniors sit SATs exams, which are required for freshman entry to many, but not all, colleges and universities in the US. All students have the option to take Advanced Placement courses and work towards the Advanced Placement International Diploma, which is a US-backed, globally recognised qualification that is recognised by universities worldwide. Also, students can choose to enrol in a dual-credit programme that’s run in conjunction with Concordia University Wisconsin; this gives students the opportunity to study university courses and earn both high school and university credit. Concordia only opened its high school in 2013 and had its first graduating class in 2017, so it’s still early days to judge its academic performance.
While many international schools in Hanoi follow the International Baccalaureate programme, Concordia Hanoi stands out with its American curriculum. So, what are the pros and cons here? Well, the AP programme is more flexible as students can select only to study the subjects they are strong in; the IB programme, however, is a fixed two-year programme that focuses on an integration of subjects. Whereas AP offers students a wide variety of individual courses, the IB has more emphasis on writing, extra-curricular activities, service and developing critical thinking skills. Also, AP is typically cheaper than IB exams and is taken by more students worldwide than the IB.
Beyond the classroom
All Concordia Hanoi students are required to take part in the off-campus learning programme, Interim. This week-long, annual residential trip involves camps, community service and adventure challenges that “develop communication, leadership skills, self-reliance and compassion, by drawing students out of their physical, emotional, and intellectual comfort zone”. Much like the Week Without Walls programme run in many international schools, Interim offers students those all-important real-life experiences that you can’t teach in a traditional classroom.
Concordia Hanoi also offers opportunities for students to participate in extra-curricular activities including school clubs, choir, instrument ensembles, ICT, art, academia, theatre groups and the Model United Nations. The campus is also the venue for Hanoi's first-ever Scouts Troops, which are open to all English-speaking students living in Hanoi. In terms of competitive sport, the school is part of the Hanoi Activities Conference (HAC) and fields teams in basketball, swimming, football and volleyball.
There’s a very close-knit community at Concordia Hanoi, and this is due in part to the involvement of parents who volunteer in the library, the classroom, attend field trips, read with students, and much more.
After starting out in temporary location in Hanoi, Concordia has moved to a new purpose-built campus in Van Tri Lake, complete with athletics, arts and science facilities. Located close to the expat-friendly West Lake area, this campus is in the rural Hanoi district of Dong Anh.
Admission and fees
Place are sought-after at this school, and there are waiting-pools in many of grades. Tuition fees are not currently available on the school's website.
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