Work with the admissions team for a successful group move

Christine Byrne, former Head of Admissions, ISHCMC, shares her experiences of supporting families on a group move and confirms that going the extra mile for families makes all the difference to a smooth transition and successful relocation.


International School Ho Chi Minh City

Relocate Magazine January 2020
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In my experience as head of admissions at ISHCMC for more than 20 years, I have found that companies of any size are now becoming more globally diversified and integrated. The leadership of such companies genuinely value and understand that the successful transition of their employee and their family to a new country is of great benefit to the company.This can be even more important if there is to be a group move. Naturally, families prioritise schooling as the first aspect of their new life to agree upon, followed by housing. 

World Mosquito Program case study

In 2017, the World Mosquito Program (WMP) Australia established its flagship programme in Vietnam, rolling out trials to breed dengue-resistant bugs in a bid to tackle the world’s leading mosquito-borne diseases. Its HR director contacted me for advice and support to relocate a number of its staff accompanied by their families to Ho Chi Minh City.
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From discussions with WMP’s HR director, I felt it best to take a personal approach to better understand each family’s needs, above and beyond the standard admissions procedures. Recognising their passions, extra-curricular activity preferences were taken into consideration to ensure a smooth and seamless transition to ISHCMC. With Vietnam being the first international experience for some families, they had questions surrounding the differences in education at ISHCMC as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, offering all three programmes. Some also wanted to know what to bring from home and what is available in Vietnam in terms of shopping, entertainment, diet, health care facilities, community support networks and practical day-to-day services.

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A year on and the WMP families very much appreciated the support that they have received through my department and the warm and welcoming community of Ho Chi Minh City – and ISHCMC. A number have said that they have enjoyed the opportunities to travel around Asia and of having diverse friendship groups.

What is the best way to help students develop?

ISHCMC encourages a balance between academic achievement and the development of the whole child. Learning and personalised student growth in a safe and caring environment are at the centre of all that we do as a school. To support every child in reaching their potential and to become independent and self-reliant learners, we provide daily time for mindfulness, encourage positive emotions, provide social and emotional counsellors and other specialist student support services faculty.Beyond the classroom, there are genuine opportunities for students to develop artistic, cultural, sporting, creative, outdoor, leadership and citizenship skills that will serve them well now, as well as going forward into the future. Our students, whether they will experience relocation once or many times, have a school-based support network and have the skills needed to cope with anxieties they may feel.One of the core strengths of ISHCMC is to regard the wellbeing and happiness of our students to be in equal standing with academic achievement. This very much aligns with my principles and values, which I believe is central to any family who is moving to a new country to live.For more information visit

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