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Tuan Le - Banner

Tuan’s IB Story

Tuan graduated from The British International School, Ho Chi Minh City with a perfect score of 45 in his IB Diploma, matched by less than 0.2% of students worldwide.

Tuan began his journey at BIS HCMC in Year 5 at the former Tu Xuong Primary Campus. He has since gone on to graduate in the Class of 2018 with a perfect score of 45 out of 45 points in his IB Diploma. This places him in the top 0.2% of students across the world and matched by only 6 other Nord Anglia Education students.

Inspired by his experience at BIS of the world’s largest STEM competition; F1 in Schools, Tuan is now heading to the UK to study Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London. Here’s Tuan’s BIS story…

Tell us about your background…

I started BIS HCMC in Year 5 at the former Tu Xuong Primary Campus. Prior to BIS, I had only ever been exposed to those who are like me, kids who were born and raised right here in Ho Chi Minh City: that meant we spoke Vietnamese every day at school, had a flag-raising ceremony every Monday and were permitted to nap after lunchtime.

Therefore, coming into an international environment, especially one as diverse as BIS, was extremely daunting for me. But this feeling soon disappeared as I got to know the teachers and students who have since become close friends and esteemed mentors.

Tuan Le IB Story

How would you describe your time at BIS HCMC?

I have always thought that a school should not be judged by its facility or faculty, but rather by its community – and it is not by chance that this is where BIS excels. It is a place where I was lucky enough to never feel like I’m alone, even on my first day at Tu Xuong when I could barely speak a word of English.

BIS is a place of immense kindness and warmth that made learning a joy to be had every single day. Here, I’ve found myself a group of tight-knit friends and mentors who I still regard as family.

What were your biggest achievements during your time at the school?

Attaining a perfect score of 45 is no doubt one of my greatest achievements in my time at BIS along with taking part in the F1 in Schools World Finals in Malaysia. After 6 months’ worth of labour, spent staying in school till 6 PM to machine our car models and waking up at midnight to respond to emails, our team, Photon Racing, competed in Malaysia as our school’s first independently funded team after garnering $15,000 from independent sponsors.

But my most cherished achievement would have to be when I learnt how to ride a bicycle at the tender age of 17 being taught by my friends after school one day. In preparation for the IB caving trip to Phong Nha Khe Bang National Park, I found out that I would have to ride 30 kilometres along the mountainside despite having never ridden a bike for longer than 3 seconds.

Tuan Le IB Story

It took blood, sweat, and (joyful) tears, but being able to circle that figure of eight along the BIS basketball court will always be one of my most cherished memories from my time at BIS.

Describe your experience at the F1 in Schools World Finals…

The journey to the F1 in Schools World Finals nurtured my creativity and curiosity in the IB. The design process of our team’s car sparked my interest in fluid dynamics and helped me decide on the topic of my Extended Essay: named ‘Vortex Shedding and its Induced Vibrations’. It was no doubt one of the most intensive and rigorous academic endeavours I undertook in my time at BIS but it was through this process that led me to pursue Engineering as a future career path.

F1 in Schools - Photon Racing

To those who have accompanied me throughout the IBDP, my achievements are as much mine as they are yours. It is the tireless passion for what you teach and boundless kindness that you offer that I was able to arrive at this point today.

How did you find the 2 year IB Diploma Programme?

Rigorous and well-rounded. The IBDP focuses not only upon academic rigour but also social awareness and social activism. Its well-rounded nature can be best proven by its exhaustive list of acronyms: EE, IAs, TOK, CAS.

These acronyms challenge students to explore our interest beyond what is given in the classroom and to become global and social thinkers within a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected; it implores us to question the validity of our own understanding thus encouraging us to rethink our preconceptions of the world. To me, it is one of the most rewarding journeys that I’ve undertaken during my academic career.

Tuan Le's IB Story

What advice would you give to other students undertaking the IBDP?

To always follow what excites you and never pursue the ‘easy way out’ because it is the journey that matters most.

What would you say to your teachers who supported you through your education at BIS HCMC?

To those who have accompanied me throughout the IBDP, my achievements are as much mine as they are yours. It is the tireless passion for what you teach and boundless kindness that you offer that I was able to arrive at this point today. All of you have changed the way I view the world and the way I view myself, in one form or another, and thus you have changed who I am as a person and I will always be grateful to have been given that chance.

BIS is a place of immense kindness and warmth that made learning a joy to be had every single day. Here, I’ve found myself a group of tight-knit friends and mentors who I still regard as family.

What are your plans now you have graduated BIS?

I’m going to be reading Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London as I want to investigate and innovate solutions to real-world problems. In an interdisciplinary world where historians can become bankers and scientists can become poets, I’m confident that a Mechanical Engineering degree will equip me with the skillset to instigate tangible changes in whichever field that excites me.

Tuan Le's IB Story

In what ways do you think your education at BIS prepared you for your future?

BIS made me think globally. It expanded my approach to the world and its problems. Its permeating internationalism challenged my understanding and preconceptions every step along my academic discovery, moulding me into the person I am today.

BIS also gave me the opportunity to befriend those who are the kindest and most supportive that I have come to know, and it is that group of people, who I regard as family, that I will have with me wherever my journey takes me.

Tuan Le, Class of 2018

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IBDP Graduation Ceremony 2018

IB Diploma Results 2018

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