Author - AIS Admin

A Student’s Perspective: Why I Love Art

Long been taught, encouraged and showcased, Art at AIS is a subject deemed fundamental and one in which every student should be given the opportunity to develop in. Over the years, AIS has been lucky enough to uncover some incredible passions and talents and as a result has seen outstanding, unique and thought-provoking pieces of art.

Witnessing such motivations and skills, AIS wanted to dig a little deeper and decided to visit some students in AIS’s Art Department to find out more. Whilst there, the students showed us some of the projects they were currently working on, and we took the opportunity to ask them some questions directly. Firstly, why they loved the subject so much and secondly, why they thought Art was important to be taught in schools.


Why do you enjoy studying Art?

“I love art because of how limitless it is. Studying many artists and their styles fuels my understanding of their techniques and views of the world, which I find fascinating. That and the ability to create worlds with endless possibilities, to create characters, tell stories, to make others feel inspired, is why I love studying so much!” Mary Bindzus, Year 10

Mary Bindzus, Year 10

“I’m learning art simply because it’s my hobby. Apart from that, I’d like to try and become a freelance illustrator in the future. I enjoy posting my Art on social media and thus, art connects me to many other people online across the world.” Katie Tran, Year 9

Katie Tran, Year 9

“I like art. I like seeing art, like hearing art, making art, I really enjoy it. It enables me to have better comparison, judgment, and creativity.” JinMing Shi, Year 9 

JinMing Shi, Year 9


Why is Art an important subject to be taught in schools? 

“I think art is important because it lets people be themselves, allow their imagination to run wild, give people the ability to express their opinions and feelings to the world through different art mediums. Art helps inspire people, encourage people, entertain people. Art, I think brings people together.” Mary Bindzus, Year 10

Mary’s artwork

“To other people, art could be a hobby or a subject they must attend at school. In my point of view, Art is something I need in order to reach my goal.” Katie Tran, Year 9

Katie’s artwork

“The most important meaning of art is that it allows people to have a better ability to compare, judge, associate, and create, as well as have a stronger expression and a chance to acquire performance skills in the field of art.” JinMing Shi, Year 9

JinMing’s artwork

For AIS, the school is a firm believer of the importance of Art and knows that while the subject can reveal some outstanding talent, the school also understands how Art can greatly support all students, regardless of ability. At a young age for example, teaching Art helps children with the development of their basic motor and language skills, and for their creativity and decision making. As students grow up, Art also becomes incredibly useful in learning perspective, problem solving, and critical thinking.

For students who are very passionate about the subject, Art is a fantastic foundation and highly relevant for a broad range of careers. It can therefore be the first step in discovering the drive to be an architect, digital designer, or multimedia artist, among many others.

Check out our News and Events page to find out more information on Art at AIS and other activities throughout the school.

Thank you to Mary, Katie and JinMing for giving us their time and sharing their thoughts with AIS.


‘Exciting New Developments’ at AIS Sports Department for 2020/2021

Physical activity at Australian International School (AIS) is considered to be essential in ensuring a well-balanced and well-rounded education for its students. From kindergarten to upper secondary, it is well-known that sports provide an incredible benefit to both students’ physical health as well as their mental well-being. Consequently, AIS is always keen to offer the very best sporting opportunities for its students, and this academic year, 2020/2021, is no exception.

Mr Matthew Washer, AIS’s Athletics Director, recently shared on sports at AIS as well as on some of the many ‘exciting new developments’ AIS sports will see this upcoming school year. ‘We are very lucky at AIS because sport is one of the three pillars of Inspired Education, the others being academics and performing arts, so sport is very much a part of our school and our wider community.’

Currently at AIS, the school provides a very comprehensive sports programme, offering the chance to participate in fifteen different sports with forty coaches, both internal and external, and a wide array of facilities, including a double gymnasium, outdoor courts, football field and two 25 metre length swimming pools. As a result, each year, typically over 600 students at AIS are involved in one or more sports, which is about half the school’s population.

Despite all these great standards, sports at AIS has no plans to stop there, with AIS Sports Department always on the look out to implement new ideas and approaches to provide the very best for AIS students. For 2020/2021 specifically, Matthew revealed just some of the numerous ‘exciting new developments’ occurring in the sports programme at AIS this year:

External Sporting Partnerships – AIS recently partnered with a number of external organisations to provide students an extra layer of support. Organisations include Juventus Football Academy and Saigon VBC (Volleyball Club). Under this partnership, experienced sporting professionals will come to AIS to directly provide coaching and training for students.

AIS Joins ASAC – AIS became an affiliate member of the international sports conference Asean Sports and Activities Conference (ASAC). The conference provides under 14 and under 19 sports competitions in a range of different sports, such as volleyball, football and basketball. Being an 8-member conference with schools from Vietnam Indonesia and Cambodia, joining ASAC provides a fantastic opportunity for AIS’s top Titan athletes to compete internationally at a high level.

Partnership with Vita Tennis Academy – Also this year, AIS has seen a great boost to its tennis programme with the new collaboration with Vita Tennis Academy. Now, students at the Thu Thiem Campus can walk over a short bridge and access three top of the line tennis courts. Thanks to this, and the facilities at AIS’s Thao Dien Campus, the programme is already currently providing over 60 students with tennis coaching.

Students Join AIS’s Sports Council – For the first time at AIS, students have become part of the inaugural AIS Sports Council 2020-21. Currently, six senior students can now devise and introduce student driven ideas to support the growth and development of AIS’s sports programme. This is a brand-new approach to the department and provides for an exciting year ahead.

Speaking generally on AIS’s approach to sports teaching and coaching, Matthew shared that the core value behind everything AIS Sports Department does is to make sure they offer opportunities which ‘provide something for everyone’.  He also went onto share that AIS’s approach depends considerably on the age of the student. ‘At a really young age, year one, two and three, we provide an after-school programme where young children can develop their gross motor skills and learn and improve their physical literacy. At upper primary school we focus on fun competition and participation, while at secondary school, students have the opportunity to enter serious competitions and interschool leagues.’

AIS’s Sports Department is incredibly active and constantly evolving. To keep up to date with everything that is going on, do visit AIS’s Sport’s Department’s web page or follow them on Facebook:

Rob Haggett


Music News – September 2020

The performing arts department would like to extend a big jazz hand welcome back to all our parents and students. We are so excited to start making music and performing again after a long summer break. There are been some significant changes to the department at the beginning of this year and some exciting performance opportunities coming up for the students.

The cast of this year’s school show has been working hard to prepare for the upcoming performance of Mamma Mia! They even turned up to an all-day Saturday rehearsal before school had even started! Such amazing dedication! The dates for the school show are November 13th and 14th – details of how to buy tickets will be coming out soon.

The IB DP music program has had a dramatic and exciting overhaul. The new course inspires learners not only to be responsible but also motivates them to be efficient and creative individuals. A significant advantage of the new IB Curriculum is that it incorporates not only the cultures and music traditions of the past but also the cultural context and technology achievements in music made through the 21st century. This is particularly important for future university learners and performing artists. The course gives learners the opportunity to develop a life-long love of music and also gives practical, transferable research, organization and critical thinking skills.

In Years 7-10 we have had a great start to our music program and will be integrating music technology and instrumental tuition into this year’s curriculum and students will get the chance to learn an instrument from the Concert Band family (brass, woodwind and percussion). In light of the current climate, the music department would like to inform you how we intend to disinfect our mouthpieces so they are as safe as possible for students to use. The concert band program is an incredible opportunity for the students and we want to make sure that our students are as safe as possible when they are using the instrument. A detailed letter will be sent out to parents explaining the process and photos are included here to show our current routines.

Music clubs and bands will be back in full swing from Monday 24th August. If you want your child to join one of the school ensembles please get them to check the notices to find out what is available and contact Mr Burstow or Mr Agafonov for more details. We also have a new performance opportunity at AIS “AIS Open Mic Lunch!” Once every two weeks we will set up a stage in the cafeteria and any solo instrument, singer or ensemble can sign up to perform some songs for the AIS community.

The Performing Arts Team


Musicals: The Unsung Hero in a Student’s Personal Development

From The Wizard of Oz, James and the Giant Peach, to Legally Blonde, Australian International School (AIS) has a long history of putting on some fantastic musical theatre performances, giving students a great chance to take the spotlight. Such shows are of course incredible fun for both actors and audiences alike, but as Mr Colin Burstow and Mrs Suzette Bradfield reveal, there are actually significant, deeper reasons why musicals are always part of AIS’s yearly curriculum.

‘Musicals are a hugely important part of education.’ AIS’s Secondary School Music Teacher, Colin Burstow shares, ‘They instil a sense of camaraderie between year groups and develop friendships that will last throughout school life and beyond. They also help develop confidence and pride with achieving an often very challenging goal.’

At AIS, through each musical theatre show’s entire process of production, from the first rehearsal to the final performance, confidence in public speaking and team building are two key skills that are encouraged and discovered by the students. Whether through developing their language abilities, learning to project their voice and enunciate to observing and listening to others, students develop great communications skills whilst facing challenging, yet motivating, experiences together.

Suzette Bradfield, AIS’s Primary School Music Teacher adds further, ‘Musical theatre helps to develop literacy skills and teamworking skills as well as support young people to understand the world around them. Being a part of a show can also be hugely beneficial for both students’ mental and physical health. Music and acting develop emotional understanding, and dancing supports positive habits in young people that continue into adult life. ‘

As each production exposes unique and thought-provoking narratives that reflect a variety of social cultures, issues and events, ranging widely, from dealing with themes of embracing your own identity, seen in Addams Family, to the transition from childhood to becoming an adult in Peter Pan. Having the opportunity to read, discuss, and perform, brings greater understanding of such topics, ideas, characters, motivations, and settings. As a result, AIS takes time in choosing which show to hold each year, knowing it is a fantastic opportunity to foster a student’s better social awareness.

Due to all these reasons, AIS is keen to provide children the opportunity to take part in musical theatre at a very young age. Each year in November, AIS’s primary school holds an annual concert which involves all children from as young as kindergarten all the way up to Year 6. For each show, every year group comes together to perform, either a song or a dance, as part of a yearly theme. Themes have ranged from ‘AIS Celebrates Broadway’, ‘AIS Celebrates Mistletoe Magic’, seen in the past two years, to this year’s ‘AIS Celebrates Life is Beautiful’. The entire primary school then comes together for a grand finale!

For secondary school students, once a year, AIS makes full use of its extensive musical facilities to put on fantastically glitzy productions! Much like in theatre life, students come for auditions and from there, depending on who is deemed best for each role, a cast is formed. Thanks to the diverse range of talented singers, actors, and dancers, seen each year, it can often be hard to pick! Additionally, AIS also provides further after school musical activities for those who want even more experience.

This November, AIS is proud to announce that its secondary school students will be staging the Abba jukebox musical romantic comedy film, Mamma Mia! With rehearsals already underway, and a stage created to showcase the performance like you have never seen it before, audience members will feel they have been whisked away to the beach for an evening. Whilst there, they’ll witness fantastic performances of beloved characters and dance along to some of the all-time Abba greats, such as ‘Waterloo’, ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ and ‘I Have a Dream’, to name but a few.

Follow AIS on Facebook to keep up to date with all the preparations for this year’s exciting performance!


Rob Haggett 


Lesson of 2019

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our returning students and their families, as well as to the significant number of new students who enrolled over the summer months and have joined AIS for 2020-2021.

As I mentioned in my AIS Yearbook article in June, 2019-2020 will certainly go down as the most remarkable year in my 35-year career as an educator. Who would have ever predicted that schools would close for over three months and, for the first time ever, the international IB and Cambridge examinations would be cancelled? This created some real uncertainty and anxiety for our Year 11 and 13 students regarding how qualifications would be awarded. The release of results – in July for IB, and in August for IGCSE – sparked a great deal of controversy worldwide and many students, teachers and schools protested that the processes used to award grades were unfair. To their credit, both the IB organisation and Cambridge International acknowledged the problems and decided to issue new results.

In the end, our Year 11 and 13 students achieved very commendable results, despite the significant disruption to their learning caused by the COVID pandemic. Special congratulation must go to 2019 Dux, Quoc Anh Andrew Tran, who achieved the highest diploma total with 43 points. The IGCSE cohort also performed well. They too achieved one of the best sets of results in the history of the school.

One of the ten IB Learner Profile qualities that we encourage in our students is to be reflective. So, as we start a new academic year, in a time of continuing uncertainty, the AIS teaching staff have reflected on the lessons that can be taken from the experiences of the 2019-2020 academic year.

The first of these is that we should not take things for granted. Situations can change overnight. The recent COVID outbreak in Da Nang was a powerful reminder of this. Therefore, it is important that as a school community we are both resilient and adaptable; ready to face any new challenges that may emerge over the coming year.

Educators have always known that one of the most important factors contributing to academic progress is the level of student engagement. And so it proved during the period of sustained online learning. Those students who consistently attended their online lessons, gave them their full attention and interest, and completed and submitted the required work made good academic progress during Semester 2.

Another lesson learned was that those students who worked consistently and aimed to perform to their potential throughout the whole year, did the best, and got the results they deserved, when exams were cancelled. By contrast, those students who did not work and achieve to their potential throughout the year, thinking that they could just work hard at the end of the year prior to exams, received results that did not necessarily reflect their true abilities.

There is no doubt that the COVID pandemic continues to impact on life at AIS. The school has started where it left of in June, observing a range of preventatives health and safety protocols, and for the time being large gatherings and public events are suspended. Hopefully that situation will change and school life will return to normal soon. In the meantime, I would encourage all members of the AIS community – students, parents and teachers – to take a positive and optimistic approach and make the 2020-2021 academic year the best that it can be.


How to boost your child’s writing

Writing is something we all have to learn.

As babies, we speak and listen without being taught – it just comes naturally.

Reading and writing, however, are skills that we have to work on in order to improve. At AIS, the focus in the past year has been on improving writing levels among all students.

One of the most important factors in learning is having parents who are engaged and supportive, and we are fortunate at AIS to have such a great community of parents.

This article will, therefore, give you some simple tips and ideas for how to help your child improve their levels of writing in English. If you have any questions, please email

1) If you want to write well, you need to read well.

Research strongly suggests that the more a child reads, this will improve their writing. Reading helps us gain new vocabulary and subconsciously understand grammatical structures. Your child should aim to read for a short time each day (how long depends on their age and level). Students should read something they enjoy, and it should be a level slightly above where they are now. As a general rule, if there are more than 10 words on a page that a student doesn’t know, the book may be too hard for them.

2) Don’t let Google do all the work

Some students use Google Translate when they write. The problem with this is a) Google Translate is far from perfect and b) it doesn’t help students improve. It is far better for a student to make mistakes and learn from them than to rely on Google Translate (which nearly always also make errors).

3) Have Targets

We encourage students to reflect on the work they have done so that they can improve. Your child should be able to identify areas of their writing where they are confident, and also areas where they could improve. When students get feedback from teachers, they should look at this and reflect on it before doing any new writing. For example, if a student forgets to use paragraphs, this should be a clear target for their next piece of work.

Mark Beales – IBDP Coordinator



Congratulations to our academic achievements 2020

Congratulations to our International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) 2020 cohort

Students from the Australian International School (AIS) are today celebrating one of its best-ever IB Diploma results.

Among the school’s top-achievers was Anh-Andrew Tran, who achieved an incredible 43 out of 45 points, and Hyeonjun Kim, who was awarded 42 points. Both are now set to attend word-class universities in Australia and South Korea.

IB cancelled the final exams for May 2020 due to the Coronavirus. It used coursework, predicted grades and other data to calculate final grades. This led to complaints from many schools worldwide that the results did not reflect students’ abilities. IB has now decided to re-calculate the grades and issued new results that are said to better reflect students’ work.

AIS Executive Principal Davina McCarthy said: “We are delighted that the students have now been given the results that we feel they deserve. I am pleased to hear that many now have the grades they require to attend the world’s leading universities. These results reflect the students’ hard work and also the hard work and dedication of our teachers.”

The IB Diploma is the world’s largest and most-respected pre-university course for 16-18 year old’s.

Congratulations to our Cambridge International IGCSE 2020 cohort

An AIS heartfelt congratulations to all our examination students. In these exceptionally difficult circumstances, our students have not only done very well but have shown resilience and perseverance in the face of extraordinary uncertainties. Students have achieved results in line with previous school performance despite the challenge of Covid and online learning. We are very proud of our students and wish them every success as they begin the next chapter of their education.

Additionally, we would also like to congratulate and spotlight our six ‘Straight A students’.

NGUYEN Khanh Linh:

  • five A* ( in Chemistry, Physics, First Language English, English Literature, Geography ) and one A grade (Additional Maths )
  • to go with an A* in Mathematics and an A in Combined Science that she gained as a Year 10 student

MAI Diem Phuong:

  • five A* grades ( in Biology, Chemistry, English as a Second Language, Mathematics, Physics )

LE Anh Huy:

  • four A* (Chemistry, First Language English, English Literature and Physics ) and two A grades (Additional Mathematics, Biology)
  • to go with an A* in Mathematics and an A in Combined Science that he gained as a Year 10 student

LE Minh Khoa:

  • three A* ( Additional Maths, Biology, Chemistry ) three A grades ( First Language English, Geography and English Literature )
  • to go with the A* grades in Mathematics and Combined Science that he gained as a Year 10 student

TRIEU Khanh Han:

  • three A* ( First Language English, ICT, and English Literature ) three A grades ( Additional Maths, Art & Design, Biology )
  • to go with the A* grades in Mathematics and Combined Science that she gained as a Year 10 student


  • two A* ( English as a Second Language, Global Perspectives ) and four A grades ( Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics )

The IGCSE qualifications form a solid foundation, developing skills and approaches for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). AIS looks forward to working with students over the next two years as we support and guide them through the IBDP.

About Cambridge
The Cambridge International Curriculum is now taught to almost a million learners, in over 10,000 schools, across 160 countries. Setting a global standard for education and academic achievement, Cambridge qualifications are accepted by every UK university, by 600 universities in the US (including all the Ivy League colleges) and in many other major student destinations, such as Canada, Australia, South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands.


AIS Welcome Students to Exciting First Day Back!

Enthusiasm, happiness and anticipation filled AIS this morning as students and teachers returned to start another school year after a long summer break. As AIS provides classes for ages ranging from 18 months to 18 years, for some students this was their very first time in a classroom, while for others, they will be embarking on their final year, year 13, to finish their IB Diplomas.

Check out just some of the great snaps of when the doors opened and excited students filled the entrance hall before starting the new academic year!


Return To School Announcement

Dear Parents

We are looking forward to the start of the new academic year and in order to ensure our children can achieve their highest potential in a safe and secure environment, I am writing to you to remind you of the protocols and precautions necessary for school in a time of pandemic. We recognize that in order to be successful in school, our children need support from both the home and school. It is important to feel informed and reassured in a time of uncertainty. It is key that we stay well both physically and in our wellbeing. The guidance below will hopefully support a safe return to school for all our community.

We know as educators that a strong partnership with parents will make a great difference in our students’ education and wellbeing. As partners, we share the responsibility for our children’s success and want you to know that we will do our very best to carry out our responsibilities here at AIS.

Please go through the attached leaflet with your children to remind them of what was in place when they returned to school last term and, for any new parents joining our AIS community, please review the leaflet carefully so your children know what to expect when they join us in school. In this way we can build resilience and evolve a mindset to adapt to the changes that is needed to help us through this current Covid19 crisis.

Please note that if your child or a member of your family visited or transited through Da Nang in the period after July 1st, then in order to attend a Student Induction session next week, on either Thursday 13 or Friday 14 August, and/or to return to school on Monday 17 August, they will have to have:

  • returned to HCMC at least 14 days before these dates
  • self-isolated at home for 14 days
  • completed a COVID 19 test more than 5 days before these dates.

AIS has already put into place the Government’s guidance for schools in the circumstances of Covid19 and is following international school good practise. Many of these protocols you will be familiar with already but it is useful to refresh and review the information. The Government has provided very clear guidance for schools to continue social distancing and limit the size of groups, and we will be following these instructions closely. Until further notice AIS will not hold formal assemblies, events or public gatherings.

It is essential that all parents and students observe the following to understand what safety at school will look like:

  • Masks are mandatory and must be worn at all times in public areas coming into and out of school, in corridors, during transitions and all common areas.
  • Anyone entering the school will have their temperature checked and If their temperature is over 37.8, then they will be immediately sent home.
  • Students must observe the rules of social distancing signs and prompts around the school will help to remind students of this guidance
  • Students must observe the classroom protocols as instructed by their teachers. This may vary between school sections.
  • Hand sanitisers are placed throughout the school and should be used on entering classrooms or office areas
  • Bathrooms are to be monitored and sanitised throughout the day and students should note and keep to their designated bathrooms
  • Students are reminded of the importance to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly.
  • Classrooms will be daily disinfected and weekly deep cleaned. It is important that students look after their resources and personal items and keep them clean and sanitised.
  • Parents may only come into the school if they have a prearranged appointment or need to access the cashier or school shop. They may not enter just to drop off or collect a child.
  • If your child (or any member of your family) starts to cough, have a raised temperature or show flu like symptoms, they are to stay at home and NOT come to school. Students may not return to school until they have a medical clearance.
  • It is important that if students feel ill or distressed during the school day that they report their symptoms to a member of staff for further action
  • AIS has an isolation room on each campus. The school will send home immediately any child who is at school and displays a raised temperature (above 37.8) or other flu like symptoms. Please do not delay in collecting your child. These students should immediately go to the doctor with a parent. They may return when they have a medical clearance.
  • Students must follow evacuation procedures as normal; apart from Mask wearing the process will be the same.
  • External trips and visits are currently on hold and will be rescheduled if possible later in the school year

This list is not exhaustive and there are many more details specific to school campuses and student grades. These will be communicated in due course by teachers and Heads of school. It is, I feel, important to be transparent in making sure that parents and our school community are reassured about these changes to school life. When we return to school we will be sure to use social media to update parents with photos and news items to reflect our practises and protocols in action.

Thank you for helping prepare for the new school year. The supportive and caring staff at AIS and I look forward to greeting students and families again. Together, I know we will make this school year a successful one.


Kind regards

Davina McCarthy
Executive Principal