Many AEGIS accredited guardians are supporting Ukrainian students at this difficult time. Marianna Slivnitskaya, Head of Guardianship at English Guardian (part of UK Study Group), recounts her experience supporting two siblings from Kiev. The resilience of international students during such times really is extraordinary.
“Our twins Liza and Fedir, from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, have always made us smile. It was a real pleasure to watch them flourish and grow from children, into lovely young people with plans to study Economics in London, wanting to make a real difference in the business world back home. As students at Embley School and under our guardianship, they had a bright future ahead of them, and didn’t expect their home would turn into a war zone just a few months before the start of their final exams.
They turned 18 in February and felt lucky that their birthday fell on the February half-term as they could celebrate this big day with their family. But no one knew that the war would start just a day before their return flight to the UK and it would take them another three weeks to get back to Hampshire. It is difficult to imagine how they felt then but we know that their plan is to return to Kiev in the summer once they finish their A-Level exams so they can help to protect their country and be close with their family.
During the Easter break we were lucky to find amazing British hosts in Bedfordshire who were willing to help Liza and Fedir as our volunteers. They invited them to spend Easter in their peaceful farmhouse, surrounded by fields, where they finally were able to rest and study for their exams.
Here is what Jane, the host, said after their stay: “We were privileged to host three Ukraine boarding school students for the duration of the Easter holidays (25 days). The students were a delight, eloquent and well mannered. We came together every night for an evening meal, covering many interesting topics. They felt comfortable with us and we enjoyed taking them out and provided a few lifts, which they were grateful for. We would certainly host again on our farm. We found Marianna very thorough and supportive throughout.”