Helping students on their journey through high school, continuing onto university, and then later onto a successful and satisfying career, is a process that begins early at European International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS); and while many of the staff and teachers play important roles, the process is overseen by the school’s University and Careers Guidance Counsellor, Myriam Harley.
Harley, originally from Newmarket in England has been living in Vietnam with her family for six years. Prior to that, she spent many years working for NGOs all around the world, including Australia, India, Cambodia, Afghanistan and the UK.
During her time working in Cambodia in 2007 for Hagar International (an NGO supporting exploited women and children) Harley helped establish a Career Pathways Programme to help train young people with job-ready soft skills, and connecting them directly with employers through apprenticeship programmes.
“It was amazing to see these individuals dreaming of a future and realising their potential,” Harley said. “I used to take them out in a big tuk tuk to visit different employers, to ask questions and to learn together about the roles, helping to broaden their horizons.”
Ostensibly, her job at EIS is to provide students with university guidance through one-on-one interviews, conversations, class advisory sessions, and supporting student applications to universities all over the world. It also involves building a network of universities and hosting their visits to the school.
Harley was quick to point out that it is a collaborative process involving many people, both inside and outside of the school. “It is a team effort”, she said, “working closely with the diploma coordinator and homeroom teachers, as well as the essential support staff providing transcript, marketing and IT support. There is also the collaboration with universities, employers, organisations, other schools and university counsellors. It is clear we all want the best for the students.”
In considering future careers and universities to apply to, Harley said it was important for students to know themselves, their interests, talents and values, and how that might fit with a particular career role or context.
Research becomes a key part of the process at this point, both in terms of the university they wish to attend and the ultimate career path they wish to take. When researching particular universities they might look at their preferences in class size, faculty to student ratio, location, clubs and associations, housing, affordability, pathways to citizenship and part-time work opportunities.
“Students also need good labour market information that can support their research, and knowing how to access robust information about the real world of work and the opportunities open to them, both now and in the future, is especially important when the world of work is continuously changing, with more global careers and rapidly developing technologies,” she said.
Harley said she had found EIS to be a very supportive and nurturing environment whilst also striving to encourage students to help themselves, to take initiative, develop curiosity and search for answers themselves – all key skills that would support them in adulthood and whatever career role they might find themselves in.
“Seeing students getting excited about the future and hearing their stories and their hopes, it is a privilege to get to know these amazing individuals, each with their own unique identity, interests and talents,” she said.
EIS has only 17 students graduating in 2019/20, and two important benefits of being part of a small graduating class, is (1) the increased access that students have to their teachers (this individual attention helped EIS graduates achieve some of the best average IB scores in HCMC in 2019), and (2) teachers are able to spend more time with each student to get to know them on a personal basis.
From this ‘class of 2020’, there are two students taking gap years for language acquisition and work experience before transitioning to universities in Europe. From the remaining 15 students, applications have been made to the UK, US, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
At the end of February, 60 percent of those students who have applied to universities, have received one or more conditional offers, with a further four students receiving conditional scholarships of up to $42,000 USD per study year as well as other financial aid provision.
“We are full of admiration for our students and their efforts in both study and the many other activities they are involved in,” Harley said. “They have put a great deal of work in and we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”
Contact us now to book a School Tour and discover why so many families are now selecting EIS as their preferred school of choice.
📞 (+84 28) 7300 7257