Back Sponsored Listings » Education » From Digital Societies and Theatre to Environmental Systems, Sport and Computer Science: BIS HCMC’s Wide Range of IBDP Subjects Prepares Students for Exciting Futures

When you picture secondary school students absorbed in their coursework, you are unlikely to envision them learning about Digital Societies, Computer Science, Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS), and Theatre.

But students at British International School Ho Chi Minh City (BIS HCMC) are studying these exact forward-looking and creative subjects and many others, alongside more traditional academic subjects, right now. As part of the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), BIS HCMC students curate a personalized course of study from over 30 different available subjects that prepare them for top international universities while developing them as well-rounded individuals.

Alongside the enormous benefits of the IBDP being an Internationally recognized qualification, this curriculum fosters holistic learning supported by a broad and balanced knowledge base. It empowers students to achieve academic excellence and personal growth with an emphasis on wellbeing. As stated in its official Learner Profiles, graduates of the program are enquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, balanced, and reflective.

Freedom to Explore Skills, Interests and Passions

All BIS HCMC students choose from more than 30 IBDP subjects that are spread across six groups (Studies in Language and Linguistics, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Arts, and Mathematics), focusing on three to study at a higher level and three at a standard level. 

But students also have a huge range of co-curricular activities to explore their interests too. As part of the core IBDP, students also follow CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), which requires all students to complete a creative experience, physical activity and community service opportunity.

CAS provides students with further opportunities to develop as well-rounded, responsible and caring students who have positive relationships with their peers and community. “My most significant CAS experience has been my role as a first aid leader; it’s taught me how to communicate, persevere and try to inspire change at BIS. I think this is a key skill I’ll need to bring into my future career,” said Atom, a Year 12 student. 

Sonali, a Year 12 student, prefect, academic mentor, Model United Nations chair, and VEX Robotics enthusiast noted her desire for more women to join the technology field when explaining why she selected Computer Science as one of her six subjects. “I want to go into computer science, especially web development but one of my teachers suggested that I get into politics, philosophy and economics, so I could become a lawyer too,” she added, alluding to the multifaceted study inherent to the IBDP and the number of options that BIS HCMC, in particular, excels at providing. "Everyone wants to be a well-rounded person because they genuinely are so passionate. There’s a lack of a box and people just get to enjoy what they do and be passionate about it and the school fosters that and allows it to grow, even in IB."

Having so many different subjects available and the freedom to choose allows students to explore what they think they might want to do in the future, balancing discovery with the honing of skills in areas they already hold expertise. The personalization of the IBDP is not new for BIS HCMC students, who select their subjects from age 16 in their IGCSEs. Having already had the chance to explore their interests and skills, they have a better understanding of what to pursue at IBDP. Amanda, a current Year 12 student who is studying Literature & Performance, Biology, Geography, Visual Arts, Math and Spanish explains how this environment is helping her explore and plan for a career: “I am in the school production and musical and I think that’s really going to help me in the future, especially with creating a community. I think the school fosters a really good atmosphere for creativity. It helps me grow as a person … I have considered doing musical theatre for my future and it opens more opportunities for me.”

Joel, another Year 12 student has also found ways to investigate his potential career via the IBDP curriculum alongside school extracurriculars. He selected Sports, Exercise and Health Science as one of his six subjects, volunteers as a basketball coach and applied to work in a local hospital’s nutrition division to “get an insight into what life would be like in that field,” he explained.

Both the IBDP and BIS instill a sense that anything is possible, as shown by the number of career paths the students choose. Joshua, another Year 12 student, aims to “study nuclear fusion” at a University in South Korea, so he “can help save the world” he half-jokingly adds. In fact, the school’s mission statement itself encourages students to be visionaries and changemakers in the world; “United as global citizens, we develop the skills and characteristics to create a more peaceful and sustainable world.”

Wellbeing and Physical Education are also core elements of overall student development that impact traditional academic achievement. A comprehensive well-being program at BIS HCMC, underpinned by respected academic research ensures students thrive both academically and beyond the classroom. BIS HCMC understands that for students to fully benefit from the advantages of the IBDP, they must be socially, physically and emotionally healthy. 

Preparation for University and Beyond

In addition to helping students know what they want to study in university, the IBDP Program helps them get accepted to top institutions around the world and excel once enrolled. Thanks to the program’s rigor and the development of self-motivation and responsibility, students find themselves prepared for university expectations in and outside the classroom. Particularly, the IBDP’s required Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay prepare their critical thinking and essay writing skills so they are thinking and performing at university levels before having even graduated high school. “My first year of university was very easy, it was basically 50% of what I had already done in IB, so it really prepared me for that transition to a totally different environment. My study load reduced a lot which gave me more time to settle into university life,” explained Yu a 2022 BIS HCMC graduate now studying Material Science and Engineering at Seoul National University. 

“I am able to have a balance of creative subjects and STEM. Especially when going back to Denmark I think there are a lot of options I can choose and I have a good variety of subjects that allow me to qualify for universities there,” Amanda, the Theatre student noted when explaining her selection of such seemingly unrelated subjects. A simple glance at the school’s university destinations reveals how successful students are in their applications and the astoundingly diverse range of fields they pursue. This is in part down to their dedicated College and University Guidance team, who advise students early on what subjects and co-curricular activities will support their university applications and future goals.

Recent BIS HCMC graduates are now studying Neurobiology & Behaviour in the US, Marine Biology in Australia, Pharmacology in the UK, Medicine in Ireland, Computer Science in the US, Politics & International Relations in The Netherlands and Biotechnology in South Korea. 

Indicative of BIS HCMC’s foundational support of creative and unconventional passions, recent graduates are thriving outside conventional academic paths as well. Jeremie is a swimmer for Vietnam’s national team; Jess is a pilot; and Kisum founded the social enterprise Rice Inc. with the ultimate goal of ending food poverty in Southeast Asia.

Reading about these impressive students allows families to envision the opportunities awaiting at BIS HCMC, but it's even more powerful to have first-hand experience. Thus, the school is inviting prospective students and parents to attend a student-led open day on 22nd February During the evening Year 13 student Anya will share her IBDP journey alongside several Year 12 students. Parents will also have an opportunity to visit booths for each of the six IBDP subject groups and the college and university guidance team will be present to discuss study plans, paths and preparations. The open day is an ideal way to gain an understanding of how the IBDP Program at BIS HCMC, bolstered by its unrivaled selection of subjects, sets students on bright career and personal trajectories. 

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BIS HCMC's Email

+84 (0) 28 3744 4551

BIS HCMC, Seconday Campus, 246 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng, Street, Thủ Đức City, HCMC



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