The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) provides students with an international mindset and global opportunities – just ask Khoi Anh Pham. Since graduating from EIS four years ago, he managed to fast-track his Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology and HR Management and launch a high-octane career in Canada. During a recent visit to Saigon, Khoi Anh stopped by to tell us what he’s been up to. We couldn’t be prouder!
Returning to EIS
The emotional connection with his alma mater - and the memories and experiences during his years at EIS - will always remain close to Khoi Anh’s heart.
"Visiting brings back a flood of memories, both good and challenging. This school has played a significant role in shaping me as a person and teaching me valuable life lessons, such as perseverance and discipline,” says Khoi Anh.
He still keeps in contact with his three best friends, speaking to them as often as he can. His fondest memory?
“In Grade 12, students are allowed to go off campus during school hours to get food or drinks, and have some freedom. We would go out together when we didn’t have classes. Those are the times I enjoyed the most - just spending time with my best friends.”
But as well as setting Khoi Anh up with enduring friendships and life skills, EIS laid strong foundations for success at university and beyond.
“The IBDP not only taught me academic skills, but also instilled the importance of effective communication, leadership, and the ability to work collaboratively. These skills have been crucial in my university studies and career.”
The decision to leave
“The IBDP instilled in me the values of becoming a global citizen and taught me the importance of working in and learning from different cultural backgrounds. I always knew I wanted to study abroad and experience life in another country.”
While he initially set his sights on Germany, after careful research, he decided to pursue Canada instead.
“You can stay long term after completing university in Canada. I received a scholarship to Saint Mary's University, and because of the IBDP, I had university credits. This allowed me to start university as a sophomore.”
Post-grad life in Canada
Still based in Canada, Khoi Anh has been working for the past two years – initially as a business consultant with IBM and now he recruits university students as part of KPMG’s talent acquisition team. He feels great gratitude for the opportunities the Commonwealth country has offered him - his tertiary education, a solid career, and the opportunity to become a permanent resident and dual citizen.
"Living in Canada has been an incredible experience. The culture is so diverse, and I get the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world. I have friends from Europe, Canada, and Southeast Asia.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Khoi Anh now has plans to pursue a master’s degree and possibly become a licensed psychologist.
Advice for future grads
As someone who has successfully navigated the IBDP, university in a foreign country, and launched an exciting career, Khoi Anh has plenty of valuable insights to share with EIS students. Here are his top tips:
- Stop and really think about your future and career path.
- When it comes to scholarships, do the research. Find out what schools offer scholarships and start your application early.
- Once you’re at university make the most of internship opportunities. Internships are critical because they help you figure out what you do and don’t like, yet people often overlook them. Take on internship opportunities, even if it means that you will take longer to finish school.
- Do extracurriculars – but make sure they’re ones that align with your studies and future career. For example, if you want to be an engineer, join a robotics team. It shows that you’re focused and serious.
- Lean on your support system. Get help from your teachers and school counsellor – they’re great resources. And don’t forget your friends and family, as they’ll help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Although the IBDP program can get overwhelming and stressful at times, keep pushing forward. You may not realise the meaning behind all the challenges now, but it will be worth it at the end. You will come out as a stronger, more resilient person ready to take on greater challenges.