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  • A brief overview of some of the considerations you’ll need to make as an expat parent.

    Choosing an International School for your child is one of the most difficult, expensive, and time-consuming exercises you’ll have to face as an expat. When it comes to choosing which amongst Saigon’s international schools you’re eventually going to settle on, you’ll need to be aware first of the criteria that distinguish between them. These are by no means straightforward, and the following checklist is far from exhaustive:       Which international syllabus is offered, and at which grade levels What universities your child will be eligible or best prepared for once he or she graduates What accreditation the school has What specific qualifications are awarded by the school When the beginning of the school year is, how long the terms are, and when holidays are scheduled Between which hours of the day classes are held Which language(s) classes are conducted in Which academic subjects are prioritised, and what is the general academic focus Which teaching philosophies bear on the instruction method How much personal attention your child can expect to receive How much the fees cost, and what other expenses will be involved How meals will be provided, and whether your child will have any special dietary requirements met How easily your child will be able to pass across to another schooling system, or back to the system of your home country What is the ratio of local students to foreign students, and which nationalities is your child likely to be studying with Will your child be eligible to enroll, and how long it will take to secure a place at the school The availability of after school services and extracurricular activities Whether or not the school has a parentteacher organisation Whether or not the school is involved in any community immersion programmes, such as local visits and charity

  • Vietnamese law allows for foreigners to adopt Vietnamese children under certain conditions.

    Disclaimer on Legal Documents Published on Atexpats The direct translations of Vietnamese legal bulletins and laws published on this website are not in themselves official documents, and are provided for educational and reference purposes only. While these versions are believed to be relatively accurate, Atexpats is not a legal agency and is not licensed nor qualified to interpret Vietnamese law in any official capacity. For the most accurate legal information, please consult with a registered law firm. Highlighting and summarial overviews of these laws contained in this article are observations added by Atexpats in order to draw readers’ attention to clauses that may be relevant to foreigners and are not intended as interpretations or guides. Atexpats may not be held liable for the actions of any individual or entity based on this information. This Law provides the principles and conditions for adoption; competence, order and procedures for settling adoptions; rights and obligations of adoptive parents, adopted children and natural parents; and responsibilities of agencies and organizations in adoption. Adoption aims to establish permanent parent and child relationships in the best interests of adopted persons, ensuring that adopted persons are nurtured, cared for and educated in the family environment. In this Law. the titles below are construed as follows: The State protects the right to adopt and the right to be adopted in accordance with this Law and relevant laws. The State encourages organisations and individuals to provide humanitarian assistance for the nurture, care for and education of children in disadvantaged circumstances. Humanitarian assistance must not affect adoption. The Government shall stipulate the receipt, management and use of humanitarian assistance referred to in this Article. People's Courts are competent to settle requests for titleination of adoption in accordance with the law on civil procedures. Vietnamese citizens who seek and are eligible to adopt a child under this Law but cannot find a child yet for adoption shall register their adoption needs with the provincial-level Justice Departments of the places in which they permanently reside; if having a child for adoption, the provincial-level Justice Department shall introduce the prospective adoptive person to the commune-level People's Committee of the place in which the child permanently resides for consideration and settlement.

  • The art of elegance and precision.

    To answer the most pressing question of expat ao dai lovers out there – yes, there are indeed classes in making these extraordinary garments available in Ho Chi Minh City, and they are open to expat students. As an exquisite article of clothing in its own right, it’s no surprise that many foreign fans of the ao dai are prepared to extend the same interest and enthusiasm in the appreciation of the garment as they are towards learning how to make their own. Making an ao dai is neither impossible for expats, nor is it especially hard. It does, however, require a very high level of dedication from learners, especially in terms of patience, attention to detail, and a solid (or at the very least workable) level in tailoring and hand sewing. Like the Western formal suit or the Japanese Furisode, ao dai making is a specialised field within the Vietnamese tailoring industry, requiring several unique skill sets. For this reason, ao dai classes take far longer time and cost quite a bit more compared to tailoring classes for other clothing items. Basic tailoring skills are a must On average, a normal course in ao dai making, the end of which would see students capable of making basic no-frills ao dai styles, costs from VND10-18m, and usually takes several months of intense learning and practice to complete. Classes conducted in English or other languages (Mandarin Chinese being a popular alternative in districts 5 and 6) tend to cost a bit more, but not significantly so. In general, ao dai specialists of the level required to teach others their craft are both proud and serious about what they do, and they have good reasons for being so. While a rudimentary command of the craft is enough for a run-of-the-mill tailor to

  • You’re not getting your scooter on the luggage rack on your flight out of here.

    Settling down in Ho Chi Minh City can be difficult enough – but you’re likely to face just as many issues when you leave. If you’ve bought a vehicle, you’ll need to decide on the best way to deal with it when you move on, whether permanently or otherwise. If you’re selling your car or bike, it’s ideal if you can sell it on to someone you know and trust if you want to avoid risky transactions. If that’s not an option, an agent may be able to help you with this for a commission. Private agents advertise online on Vietnamese forums, but not all of them are trustworthy – you’re probably better off keeping things offline and taking a drive along Ly Tu Trong in District One or Phan Dang Luu spanning Phu Nhuan and Binh Thanh districts, where most of the second hand vehicle markets are based. Representatives from the various showrooms may be able to help in locating a buyer for you. Parting too soon Once you’ve managed to find a purchaser, you’ll need to complete the legal transfer procedure (following clause 6, Circular 36/2010/TT-BCA) once you’ve successfully negotiated the price. It’s been said that locals often skip some of the legal requirements for vehicle transfer, but if that ever was the case, new regulation number 71/2012, which imposes a heavy fine and confiscation of vehicles not being driven by their registered owners, will have put a stop to that. In any case, as cheats & tricks abound – especially with bike sales – you’ll be well-advised to follow procedure. It’s relatively straightforward. In general, whether sold through an agent or privately (and do be aware that bike sales in this city are more often than not sold to people who are personally known to the seller),

  • Developing great minds.

    Expats are an unusual breed in themselves, and they live differently to most folks. It not just that they live overseas – they tend to be open minded, highly independent, and they generally hope that their kids will be the same. It’s for this reason that Montessori schools tend to win a lot of support in cities like this one with a strong expat community. Perhaps unfairly, the Montessori Method is sometimes considered a little on the fringe in a number of developed countries with good public education sectors, but in places where expats like to roam, the idea of a schooling system that fosters independent thinking, decision making, early reading skills, and respectful relationships with one’s peers is just what the doctor ordered. The Montessori Method uses phonetics to accelerate reading skills The method originates from the work of Italian educator Maria Montessori, who developed her ideas about the natural development of children’s psychological makeup at around the turn of the 20th century. Essentially, Montessori believed that children have an innate ability to create and develop their own personalities, and that under optimal conditions – in a stimulating, free environment within reasonable limits and with the encouragement of trained professionals – a child will independently achieve their own balance. They will become communicative, diligent abstract thinkers; they will engage in creativity and actively explore their environment; they will develop precision of mind and behaviour and learn to adjust their own environment to suit their goals. Maria Montessori In order to help children make these achievements, Montessori developed an ideal learning space for children that she called a ‘prepared environment’. Montessori-style classrooms even today still exhibit these standard features, including:       An arrangement that facilitates movement and activity Beauty, harmony, and cleanliness Materials limited to those that support

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