Dalat International School

Dalat International School is an international day and boarding school in Penang, Malaysia. Founded as a boarding school for children of missionaries in Southeast Asia, it has grown into an international school with a diverse student population. As of the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, there are 650 students representing 28 different countries. It is one of eight schools on the island and is the only one offering an American curriculum.

Dalat International School
Tanjung Bunga


TypePrivate International School
Day & Boarding School
MottoEducation for Life
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
DirectorKarl Steinkamp
PrincipalShantel Seevaratnam (K-4)
Tressa White (5-8)
Brian Brewster (9-12)
Enrollment700 approx.
CampusSuburban (beachside)
Colour(s)Blue and Gold
Athletics conferenceACSC (Asian Christian Schools Conference) and MSSPP in Malaysia
MascotFlorence the Eagle
AffiliationsEARCOS and Association of International Malaysian Schools(AIMS)
Athletic DirectorJ.J. Davis


Dalat School was founded in 1929 as a private Christian boarding school in Dalat, Vietnam to provide a North American elementary and high school education for children of Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) missionaries in Indochina. In 1962, Reverend Archie E. Mitchell, who was on staff at the school with his wife Betty, was abducted by Viet Cong guerrillas.[1] As the Vietnam War escalated, in 1965, the teachers and staff were evacuated by the USAF to a temporary location in Bangkok, Thailand.[2] Eight months later, the school relocated to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia where it remained for six years.[3]

During the late 1960s, the British forces based in Penang were withdrawing from the peninsula after the conclusion of the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation and school administrators were looking for a new location at that time. In June 1971, Dalat moved into the former British R&R facility known as "Sandycroft" along the beaches of Tanjung Bunga in Penang, Malaysia where it has been ever since. Despite some renovations and additions to the buildings, the initial architecture and layout of the property remains largely unchanged since the school moved in.

Since 1999, Dalat has been governed by an inter-denominational school board.


Dalat is divided into three sections – Elementary School (PS-4), Middle School (5-8) and High School (9-12) – and each has its own principal, who report to the director.


Dalat still serves its purpose of educating "MKs" and the North American expatriate community but has since opened its doors to students of all faiths and nationalities who meet the admissions criteria. Priority, in terms of financial aid, is still given to students whose parents work for Christian organisations.


Dalat International School uses the United States standards of education, "McREL Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks". Dalat also uses Expected School-wide Learning Results (ESLRs) employing teaching methods that focus on cooperative learning and activity-based content learning.

As a Christian school, Dalat requires students to take Bible classes and attend chapel. Chapel services are held weekly and Spiritual Emphasis Week and Missions Emphasis Week are special events each year.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered for students wishing to earn college credit. AP English, AP English Literature, AP Calculus AB and Calculus BC, AP Psychology, AP Environmental Science, AP Mandarin, AP Art Studio and AP Music Theory are offered while other AP courses are made available through distance learning.

Dalat DIScovery

Dalat International School (DIS) extends an invitation to young Christian men and women in grades 9 through 12 to experience a year or semester learning, living and serving abroad! Dalat DIScovery welcomes an elite group of high school students to study at Dalat, live with a dorm family and participate in outreach opportunities in Southeast Asia.


Dalat’s sports teams are called the Eagles. Dalat is a member of the Asia Christian Schools Conference (ACSC) with schools from 6 countries in the region. Dalat participates in the Penang Schools Athletic Conference (PSAC) with other Penang international schools. Dalat occasionally competes in the Penang Schools State Competition (Malay: Majlis Sukan Sekolah Pulau Pinang, abbrev. MSSPP). Dalat offers 10 varsity sports including soccer, volleyball, basketball, track & field and softball/baseball. Most sports have JV, middle school and U13 age group teams.


Since its foundation, the school has a boarding tradition which continues to this day, despite the fact that most of the current student population are day students. The boarding program mainly serves North American missionary and expatriate families based in Southeast Asia but is open to all students based on the availability of space.

The students are housed in mixed-gender, mixed-age dorms with "dorm parents" who live in the building itself with their families to create a family-like environment.

There are three dorms: Jackson, Jaffray and Ziemer.


  1. Boese, Joy (2005). Adventures in Learning to Trust God. Infinity Publishing. pp. 21–22. ISBN 9780741424662.
  2. Stemple, Charlotte (2010). My Vietnam. Xulon Press. p. 260. ISBN 9781609578145.
  3. http://www.dalat.org/site/dalat/dalat-history/new-home-malaysia-1970s/

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