International schools in Vietnam are a fairly new phenomenon – the oldest international school in the country was established less than 30 years ago – but over the past few decades, many new international schools have emerged to fill a gap in the market and cater for the country’s rapidly growing expat population.
The top international schools tend to employ native English speakers or teachers who were trained in the country that the particular school is affiliated with. A major draw of these institutions is that they follow the curriculum of a particular country or an internationally recognised programme such as the International Baccalaureate (IB).
The most popular international schools in Vietnam tend to be oversubscribed and there are long waiting lists, so it's best to make applications as soon as possible. Luckily, most international schools in Vietnam accept applications throughout the school year to accommodate for the transient nature of the country’s expat population.
Admission requirements at international schools in Vietnam vary. Some have entrance exams that test potential students for their proficiency in Maths and English. In other cases, students and their parents may be required to attend an interview.
The major downside to international schools in Vietnam are the financial implications. Fees are high, with additional costs for services such as bus transport, cafeteria lunches, uniforms, extra-curricular activities and field trips. Expats who choose to have their child attend an international school in Vietnam should therefore try to negotiate an allowance for school fees into their expat employment contract.