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Global Citizenship at the Forefront of Education at European International School

“Global citizenship is a way of living sustainably that demonstrates respect for the environment and for others,” says Jo Roberts, Acting Head of School at European International School (EIS).

“Global citizenship is a core value to the school, and students are encouraged to contribute meaningfully to the local and wider community, demonstrate intercultural understanding; be socially responsible; and promote equity.”

Jo Robert at Operation Smile's Opening Ceremony of its surgical programme at Bệnh viện Răng Hàm Mặt Trung Ương 2.

It’s obvious why parents would want their children to develop these admirable qualities that define what a global citizen is at EIS. But it’s more complex to understand how the traits are cultivated. It requires a holistic approach that spans classroom curriculums, extracurricular activities, teacher and staff example-setting, and community involvement. The comprehensive cultivation of a broad mindset of social responsibility and empathy will be on full display during an upcoming Friday Tour on March 15 and March 29. Ahead of the school tours, Roberts shares some insight into what families and parents can expect from the world-class international school.

Global Citizenship Integrated into Conventional Curriculums

EIS strives to foster an understanding of the world's interconnectedness, empathy for people of all backgrounds, and the motivation to create positive change. Doing so is as much a part of the routine coursework as learning math formulas or a second (or third) language. Roberts explains, “global citizenship is an integral part of our curriculum at all levels so there are often teachers integrating this into their units and lessons.”

Many familiar subjects and lessons provide opportunities for instilling these values. For example, in a grade 10 Individuals and Societies class, students are completing a research project where they investigate local charities and NGOs, present them, and discuss ways the greater EIS community might be more involved. A representative from Blue Dragon Foundation will also meet with the class to give them a more personal look into the work of local NGOs. This is a perfect example of how students practice conventional skills such as inquiry-based research, public speaking, group collaboration and reflection while also expanding their understanding of the world and their potential to impart good.

EIS Young Entrepreneurs raise fund to Capital Foundation.

All Year 12 and 13 students at EIS participate in the globally-recognized International Baccalaureate Degree Program (IBDP) which includes the CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) Program component that aligns perfectly with the school’s concern for global citizenship. To complete the program, students volunteer with local organizations, manage fundraisers for charitable causes, or initiate sustainability projects that emphasize improving local communities. They have, for example, collaborated with Saigon schools and orphanages to run arts or English classes. These efforts sometimes continue past the CAS as well. The “Boxes of Hope” which collects school supplies, food, and clothing for children at a local shelter initially started as a CAS project. “These experiences help students develop a sense of social responsibility and empathy towards others,” says Roberts.

Responsibility, Empathy and Awareness of Inequities Cultivated through Extracurriculars

EIS seeks to develop self-motivated students who are inspired to create and contribute to meaningful change regardless of grades or accolades, and it is thus not surprising that global citizenship is fostered outside the classroom as well. Extracurricular activities are powerful ways to raise awareness about global issues and then connect with local organizations to work towards meaningful solutions. Middle and high school students at EIS can join groups including the SAGA (Sexualities and Gender Alliance) which raise awareness about LGBTQIA+ issues; Paw Prints, a group that creates animal-related art that they sell to raise money for local animal charities; EnviroClub, which works in collaboration with Green Network Saigon on a variety of sustainability projects; The League of Women which has collaborated with the Saigon chapter of “Period. The Menstrual Movement” to raise awareness about period poverty and break period stigma; and the Young Entrepreneurs Club which facilitates the creation of fundraisers and business ventures and activities that raise money for Vincapital charities.

EIS Sudents working on a recycling project.

Building bridges and networks is an integral part of global citizenship and EIS collaborates with other institutions in Vietnam. For example, this past November, EIS students hosted the first in-person GIN Conference (Global Issues Network) since COVID-19. The student-led and run conference brought together teens from eight international schools in Saigon to discuss global issues that directly affect them and propose solutions that they can work towards.

Connecting with Teachers, Parents and Community Members

Much of EIS’s efforts to cultivate open-minded and generous individuals involve student-initiated and led classroom activities and organizations in line with a holistic learning philosophy that emphasizes self-motivation, but school staff, family and outside community members have an important role to play as well. Roberts explains that teachers and parents often donate their time and energy after school and on the weekends to support students in their passions. Such undertakings have included beach clean-ups; collecting toys, books, clothes and dried goods for orphanages; and raising money at events for chosen charities as well as ongoing student initiatives such as “Green Saigon,'' who have collection points in school for recycling tetra paks. Additionally, the parent community raises money every year for Operation Smile. Such dedication is not only helpful for students to achieve their goals but presents powerful models for what global citizenship can look like independent of school and required assignments.

Assembly by Choice Vietnam at EIS for the importance of celebrating and caring for our Earth.

As part of its efforts to instill the importance of working across experiences and perspectives, EIS frequently engages with communities beyond the school and its network of families. This can involve organizing family events for the surrounding area, cultural celebrations open to the public, and inviting guest speakers from various backgrounds. “By fostering these connections, the school encourages families to engage with the broader community and promotes a sense of shared responsibility,” Roberts says.

When EIS opens its doors during the upcoming Friday Tours, parents and students will have the opportunity to see the school in action and experience the curriculum. Families will see examples of classroom activities, extracurricular opportunities and community connections to get a sense of how the school develops global citizens. As Roberts summarizes, “Our ‘educational village’ is a community where students, teachers, staff and parents work together collaboratively. The school's structure provides opportunities for students to engage with communities beyond its walls through partnerships, exchanges, and collaborative projects, thereby encouraging a sense of global connectedness.”

Attendees to EIS's Friday Tours on March 15 and 29 will have opportunities to learn about the 100% scholarships available for students from grade 10 to grade 11 and discounts of up to VND 11.5 million VND. Application fees are waived for those in attendance. Register here.

European International School's website

+84 28 7300 7257

info@eishcmc.com

730 Lê Văn Miến, Thảo Điền, Thủ Đức, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

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