YES stands for – your Educational Support. But my word, since embarking on this journey we have come to appreciate how much more support is needed, and vitally for us as an Educational Guardianship how vital we are for the smooth running and ultimately, academic and general success of an International Students coming of age here in the UK. I think the below sums that up nicely about the kind of things that we go above and beyond to get involved in, as I write this on the 24th September I can’t quite believe all the below has happened in the first month of term.
There are many things I could write about – but one that is still fresh in the mind has been the last two exeat weekends. One planned, and one really not planned with the passing of Queen Elizabeth.
Our unplanned exeat was frantic, but successful with lots of smiles, laughs and appreciation as usual. We hosted 4 ourselves which is always a pleasure – mainly because it forces me to keep my cooking skills on point, and learning new foods, new skills and also letting our kids embrace these foods too. Only drama we had was some black hair dye on a carpet – but to our relief it came out. Speaking of cooking, we’ve also found the World Food section of our local supermarket being pretty bare during the school holidays. I wonder why. How will we cope without Nissin noodles, Tarczyński Kabanos, or Gaz Candy – heaven forbid if all the Hello Panda’s are sold out again!!! (Thank goodness for Amazon)
Lets be real. Regardless of the size of the organisation. Exeats for an Educational Guardianship take careful planning, they are short, sharp and have to be done with precision. Hosts like to go away at weekends : our own experience of this being one of our students being informed at 6pm that the school would be closed the next day – with no indication of anything else to the contrary at this point. Cue super emergency host for this very situation. Of course, right on time, students being asked to leave immediately due to testing positive for COVID to add to the frantic nature. I’m not sure this this a common theme, but no two schools seem to have the same guidelines when it comes to COVID, making our jobs as Guardians even more difficult.
Other than exeats, we’ve settled back down into the general day to day running. Constantly being in touch with all of our students, and indeed parents and putting any concerns or worries to bed.
We were invited to a local, large schools dinner time, which was lovely and got to speak to many students and parents before the official start of term – although the breaking news about the Queen did dampen the mood somewhat – it actually brought everyone together, with hugs, and conversations about how amazing, and one of a kind she was. Every one of every nationality harmoniously agreed on this one. We love doing things like this as a boarding school guardian.
The title of the blog – we have had an influx of students pull significant amounts of £50 notes out of cupboards, mattresses, shoes – which of course is an issue as they are no longer legal tender in the paper format from the 30th of September. (as well as £20’s). We’ve been helping with bank accounts, or changing these notes so that they are not lost. If you ask me where any branch of any bank is in our local town now, that knowledge is now permanently engraved in the back of my inner lobe. We also invested a lot of time trying to find another students very expensive coat – they were already cold in August being from the Middle East so it was a vital piece of fabric. However many emails and phone calls later, it unfortunately is lost forever.
Other than that the almost inevitable endless conveyer belt of School Uniform being delivered, tried on, sent back or altered for being too small/big – and then labelling up. Meeting all our students with welcome packs, and receiving lovely messages back from parents – to see an email saying how much confidence they have their loved ones will be looked after in the UK is humbling – and why we do this as an aegis guardian.
We have students embarking on getting their provisional licences, so been helping with this, as well as finalising and picking up BRP cards, and also students enrolled on the wrong courses and subjects at school. Thankfully now all sorted.
Signing out on a lovely, wholesome moment which happened just last night. One of our students has been feeling very homesick. We have been regularly dropping in, and sending them food (food is always the answer) from their home country to try and keep morale high. They were dropped off last night with us. Her Father had flown straight in from America, landed at Heathrow, and driven to us, (it took him 5 hours due to traffic), just to spend the weekend with her before flying back. He arrived and the hug – and the bond between Father and daughter was incredible. He thanked us so much for looking after her and for raising her spirits whenever she was feeling low. That hug though. Radiated so much energy, I think we all had a little tear.
Over and out for now.
I wish you all a pleasant term, and until the next “Has it landed yet?” episodes tracking the flights of our students leaving and returning for the school holidays – all the best. Lets keep ensuring our International Students are well looked after, and keep being that vital support package that is often misunderstood – and keep those smiles coming, just like we see every day in our YES Family.