For students at Queen’s University Belfast who will be under the age of 18 on their first day of studies, and who will not be living with a legal guardian or parent during their studies, their parents / guardians are encouraged to consider an educational guardianship arrangement while they are under the age of 18.
Educational Guardians are not the same as ‘legal guardians’. Educational Guardians have a parent’s permission to act as their representative in the United Kingdom, should the need arise while their son or daughter is studying here.
Information about Educational Guardianship, and guardianship providers can be found on the AEGIS (Association for the Education and Guardianship for International Students) website http://www.aegisuk.net
Different providers will offer different services, for a cost. Some Educational Guardians may offer visits to the student, provide additional support to settle in to a new city and country, or source host families for holiday visits. Guardianship organisations should provide a 24 hour emergency contact point for either students or parents, if problems should arise.
It is the case that boarding schools in the UK may require an educational guardian as a condition for admission. This is not the case with Queen’s University, though parents of international students are encouraged to consider the best way for their child, and their family, to be supported while their child is under the age of 18.
Please note that not all agencies will operate in Northern Ireland, so please enquire about this when speaking to an educational guardianship provider. You should also clarify the services provided (e.g. organising home stay visits with host families, frequency of contact with your child) and the cost of this provision, and what is offered by the organisation.