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Moving to Hanoi

On top of the fact that it is Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi is also a city rich in flavour and charm. With its unique culture and blend of old and new, Hanoi is the type of city that will quickly find a place in any expat's heart.

Due to the many new construction projects starting every day and the city’s western edge expanding ever outwards, it’s easy to see that Hanoi is fast becoming a city of more than just political importance in Vietnam.

Expats moving to Hanoi will find a city that maintains a balance between significant development, including large shopping malls, apartment complexes and new roads, and preserving a relatively cheap cost of living. With numerous lakes, fantastic restaurants, vibrant night life and some of Southeast Asia’s best preserved colonial architecture, Hanoi is an easy choice for many expats moving to Vietnam.

The local expat community is a very active one. There is also a multitude of accommodation options to suit any budget and the number of Western orientated grocery stores and restaurants ensures that missing home comforts is not something that will occur often.

With a significant diplomatic community, a large number of NGOs, ESL teachers and expat-employing businesses, Hanoi also has a range of healthcare and education facilities catering for its expat community.

Overall, Hanoi is one of Southeast Asia's best expat destinations and those willing to make the move will not be disappointed by the quality of life in the Vietnamese capital. 

Education and Schools in Hanoi

Expats relocating to Hanoi will find that the city has a range of education options, both public and private. While Vietnam's curriculum is sometimes seen as overly rigorous, expat parents can be sure that their children will at least not be receiving a substandard education.

Despite the good quality of public education, many expat parents prefer to send their children to international schools instead where they can be taught in their home language and, in many cases, can continue with their home country's curriculum. 


Public schools in Hanoi

In Vietnam, it is compulsory to attend school from the age of six to the age of 11. During this period, public school tuition is free of charge. Thereafter, schooling is optional and fees apply.

The Vietnamese government has been criticised for the short duration of compulsory attendance and the curriculum's focus on tests and essays rather than life skills. Despite this, many expat parents still feel confident in the quality of Vietnamese education and those who can't afford the sky-high costs of international schools are generally happy to opt for a good public school instead. 


International schools in Hanoi

Although Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's main hub of international schools, Hanoi has a number of good international schools on offer, too. However, like many international schools around the world, Hanoi's international schools suffer from over-subscription, and it can be difficult to secure a spot. For this reason, it's important to start the application process as early as possible.

Although there are many benefits to international schools, expat parents should be aware that tuition costs are uniformly high among them. To cover this, it is advisable for expat parents to try to negotiate an education allowance as part of their relocation package.

International Schools in Hanoi

Expat families looking to relocate to Vietnam will find that there are a number of good international schools to choose from in Hanoi. These schools follow foreign curricula such as that of the UK, the US and the International Baccalaureate. Though fees are high, international schools generally offer a high standard of education and allow expat children to continue with a familiar curriculum.

Below is a list of some of the city's most respected international schools.


International schools in Hanoi

British International School of Hanoi (BIS)

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate, English National Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE and A-Levels
Ages: 2 to 18
Website: www.bishanoi.com

Hanoi International School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 4 to 18
Website: www.hisvietnam.com

Lycée Français Alexandre Yersin

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.lfay.com.vn

United Nations International School of Hanoi

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.unishanoi.org