A Brief History

The Australian International School first opened its doors in August 2006 with a Secondary campus in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.  It was founded by Mrs Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy and Mr Nigel Russell in response to the increasing demand and lack of choice at that time for high quality international education in HCMC. 

Thuy (centre front) and Nigel (right front) together with AIS’s first School Principal, Mr Chris Faisandier (left front), the Australian Consul General, Mal Skelly (next to Nigel), and representatives of RMIT University and the business community in HCMC, at AIS’s Opening, August 2006.

The campus was, in fact, a beautiful old French villa that had been renovated and expanded by RMIT (of Australia) and used as the first site of its university in HCMC.  When RMIT moved out to its new campus in District 7, AIS moved in. 

Secondary students and staff of AIS, March 2007

While the Secondary campus grew quickly in its old French villa, Thuy and Nigel decided to open a Kindergarten & Primary campus in Thao Dien. AIS took over and renovated a Kindergarten called “Dynotots” that had been operating for some years in the leafy, popular APSC residential compound in Thao Dien, and it also converted a nearby villa in the same compound to a Primary campus. The “Lotus” and “Cherryblossum“ parts of AIS’s Thao Dien Campus, together with a brand new adjacent Sports Centre, opened in August 2007. A new, stand-alone Kindergarten was built and opened in Xi Riverview, Thao Dien, in August 2009.

Cherryblossum”, Thao Dien Campus, under construction, June 2007

Thuy and Nigel’s sons, Jay and Max, enrolled at AIS in 2007, and their daughter, Skye, enrolled at AIS in 2010.

Max, Skye and Jay Russell, in 2010. As at 2019, Max is in his final year of high school; Skye is in her final year of primary school; and Jay is studying a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor Medical Science at UTS (all in Sydney)

Meanwhile, ACG Australian International Education Services Company Limited, a privately owned education company based in New Zealand with a number of premium private schools in New Zealand and Indonesia built an impressive new school campus in Thu Thiem (ACG Vietnam), which also opened in 2007.

Thu Thiem Campus, under construction, Jul 2007

With excellent teachers and relentless investment in teaching and learning resources, AIS and ACG Vietnam quickly grew to over 500 students at each school. 

By 2011, AIS had outgrown its Secondary campus in District 3, and it accepted an offer from ACG Vietnam to share its campus at Thu Thiem.

In 2013, AIS and ACG Vietnam merged to become one school, while retaining the name “Australian International School” (AIS). 

Now over 12 years old, AIS is one of the top IB “World Schools” in Vietnam with over 1,300 students from 40 different nationalities at 3 campuses in District 2.  Many of the School’s alumni have graduated from the best universities in the world.

AIS’s Thu Thiem Campus

Thuy and Nigel have been actively involved in the management and governance of AIS since they founded the School in 2006 – Thuy as General Director till 2013 then Deputy General Director till 2019, and Nigel as Chairman till 2019. 

They continue their commitment to the School and support of its students in two ways.  First, by donating a cash prize at the end of each academic year to the Dux of the School and to the Year 13 student who the Executive Principal considers best exemplifies the philosophy of the School.  Second, by bringing an international guest speaker to present to the senior students each year, on subjects that are likely to interest them, eg climate change, sustainable development, and international affairs.

In 2019 AIS Vietnam and ACG Schools joined Inspired, one of the leading global groups of premium schools.