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"Grateful Daughter have meets You"
How time flies! Our daughter has been experiencing her new study life in the UK for almost six months now. As a parent, I still remember the many questions we had to consider for our daughter to study in the UK. Would her chosen school be suitable? Would she be able to adapt to life in a foreign country with a different cultural background? In the new campus environment, would she be able to keep up with the learning progress? Would she have any problems with the different language? In the boarding school, would she feel out of place, or worse, feel like she had been exiled to an isolated island? How would she get the right and adequate support when she encountered problems? Under the UK education system, how do students handle problems, and how would she adjust to that? Who could share and understand her feelings on academic issues? A variety of different issues, often in the hearts of parents is very worrying!
We let our child study in a foreign country, but we are so far away from her. We are particularly concerned about our child’s academic performance and campus living environment. Therefore, we were so pleased to meet with the guardian ‘Abby Plumb’, after she had just given a lecture. She plays a critical role for us as parents and for my daughter. She not only succeeds in being a platform for conveying information efficiently, but also provides a spiritual pillar for my daughter who is living away from us. Although it is true that information technology is well developed, there is nothing better than a person by her side. Even if the guardian gives a simple kind word to the child in person, it provides much reassurance for the parents that our daughter is truly cared for. As parents we have of course a strong desire to be reassured about our daughter’s life abroad, especially that she is ‘fitting in’ to the local life.
In addition, because parents who are so far away are unable to participate in regular school meetings, parents’ evenings and cannot directly communicate with the teachers, Abby plays a most important role to ‘bridge the gap’, so that we are able to have clear feedback about our daughter’s progress and any issues. We get firsthand information about the evaluation of our daughter's learning and any necessary adjustments are therefore made in good time.
As parents, we naturally worry that our daughter does not have us to help and watch over her and she might be embarrassed to speak about any difficulties she encounters to others. At this time the role of the guardian is as a ‘parent away from home’. Abby makes sure our daughter gets the necessary help and has someone to talk to and confide in and ensures that the best learning environment is obtained even though the parents are not around. In particular, Abby discusses with the teachers of the various subjects, adjusts the child's learning plan according to her progress and deficiencies, and provides appropriate guidance for her future study career based on her extensive knowledge of the UK education system. She helps our daughter to understand her own strengths and weaknesses and equips her to meet the challenges of the future.
In summary, we are most grateful to meet Abby. We consider her as our daughter's life coach and one who brings out her full potential. The road is still long but we firmly believe that sending our daughter abroad to study with Abby as her guardian was definitely the best choice and the decision was the right one for us.
"My feelings about UK Guardianship Service"
I feel very honored to have found my daughter's UK guardian, Abby Plumb, through the introduction of Macau OSC. As a mother, I feel the role of the guardian is very important. She acts as the ‘UK Mother’ for my daughter while she is studying in the UK. She solves problems, teaches her how to be independent, how to communicate with people, to accommodate group strengths and helps students to enter the campus life. Abby goes into the school on a regular basis and communicates with the various teachers to understand the difficulties each student faces in learning. Abby includes the parents at every step, and I am very pleased to learn how to help my daughter choose subjects and prepare for university in the future.I am very happy because It really helped reduce the pressure on us as parents.
Parents Testimony - "A guardian most worthy of entrustment"
"Abby is a very infectious person, she is good at communicating with young people, giving people a kind feeling, like mother's care, giving people the confidence and encouragement."
My son is a Special Educational Needs (SEN) student with limited concentration and social difficulties. His ability to learn English is stronger than that of Chinese. Understanding the concepts of logic and complex abstraction is the most difficult for him. Therefore, all subjects related to Chinese are particularly weak, such as Chinese language, Chinese history and general knowledge. The academic system in Hong Kong requires that the Chinese Language is compulsory in order to progress to university. Consequently, for my son to obtain admission to any university in Hong Kong would be almost impossible.
During the summer of 2018 my son participated in the school's ‘British Study Tour’, a ten-day experience of UK school life, which ignited his dream of going to the UK to study. Considering that my son was bullied and suffered much unpleasantness in his class at Hong Kong Middle School, after discussion with my husband, although our economic ability is a bit tight, we decided to arrange for our son to go to the UK so he will have a chance to start again.
We didn’t know anything about studying in the UK, we started to learn from the Internet and our friends. I also participated in different overseas study lectures and found several agencies who arranged for my son to take the entrance exam and be interviewed. At the start, there were several UK schools offered to him. However, we felt there were many questions that were not answered clearly. The ‘intermediary company’ was being concealed in order to achieve business, the information was unclear, and I felt that much of the information we were given was unreliable, which made us hesitate and nervous. Only when we met Abby Plumb and Miss Wong from Link that we felt confident and decided to send our son to the UK to study.
Abby was originally from Hong Kong and has lived in the UK for many years now. She has more than 20 years of experience as an international student guardian. When I first met Abby, I was naturally attracted by her enthusiasm and positive character. When she knew that my son was SEN and needed special support, she took the initiative to meet my family. She spoke personally with our son in detail to understand his personality. What are his special strengths and weaknesses? I learned more about my son through observing Abby talking to him and guiding him to establish his goals. Having established the initial goal of studying abroad, Abby, with her knowledge and experience about UK schools, recommended a suitable school to us, with Miss Wong, Link Overseas Education Consultant. Miss Wong also specially arranged for our son and Abby to meet again to let us know more about the UK academic system and the school chosen for him. Miss Wong had previously visited the school that was suggested for our son! That gave us even greater confidence.
For SEN children, resilience is the biggest challenge when leaving their parents and entering a completely unfamiliar environment. SEN students often have difficulty expressing themselves and are not good at voicing their emotions. Therefore, the guardian who can give our child a sense of security and is good at communicating with him is going to be my first choice. It is also important that the school will be able to provide timely assistance, which also depends on the enthusiasm and insight of the guardian. Abby was able to determine quickly that the evaluation report from the Hong Kong school psychologist was nowhere near as unfavourable as was written. She communicated the facts clearly to the school, so that the Head could decide whether his school would be able to provide the necessary special help our son needs.
Because Abby is a very infectious person, she is good at communicating with young people, promoting a kind feeling, like a mother's own care, which gives people confidence and encouragement. Combined with Abby’s professional attitude of asking the right questions and giving open and clear answers, lead us to be sure that we had found an excellent guardian for our son. Therefore, we have finally decided to send our son to the UK to study.
Abby is like a friend who we have known for many years. She is willing to share, help us to analyse the situation, dispel my doubts and make me feel at ease. Abby is a guardian most worthy of entrustment.
"A very reliable guardian"
Thank you to Abby for taking care of our daughter Annabel. She was originally living with an English host family but because they suddenly had a personal emergency, they were no longer able to take care of Annabel. Fortunately for us Abby learned of our situation and anxiety and immediately stepped in to help Annabel. Within a couple of months, I got to know Abby well, I learned that Abby was quick to respond to parents' needs and doubts.
"When should I let go? A must for every parent"
My daughter had been studying at a famous Hong Kong traditional girls’ school since she was young. It was ideal for parents. She had been very quiet, enjoyed reading and painting, but was not good at communicating, she didn’t draw any attention from us. When she was eight years old, under the school's suggestion, they arranged an assessment. She was diagnosed as having ‘Asperger Syndrome’ and could also be regarded as having ‘mild autism.’ Therefore, we found that she was not only unsociable but also rejected by school friends. Every day she was chatting with the school workers to keep her loneliness at bay. We were sad for her but all we could do is tell her we are there in spirt when she was facing unpleasantness from others, and somehow find a way to cope with it.
In order to help our child grow up, we involved social workers through the school. We also arranged speech therapy and help from various professional doctors. Although her progress was not obvious, she highlighted the characteristics of such children in her academic performance. She is highly focused and has a very good memory. Therefore, she was still a stable student in the original main stream school.
Hong Kong's schools are the cradle of competition, the traditional schools are even more intense. Providing a somewhat aggressive atmosphere even in a girl’s school! My daughter does not have a very clear speech, and with ‘Asperger’s’ the child tends not to be interested in reading other people's facial expressions. She became even more unpopular among people. Some people suggested that she should go to a less stressful and more open international school, however, the child's problem is communication, not learning difficulties. I insisted she have Chinese language ability, although this is her weakest link, but if she didn’t establish this foundation when she was a child, she would have to suffer in the Chinese society in the future.
During the years of junior high school, it was also smooth. Her mother arranged the Girl Scout activities for her. With the help of the teachers she had a kind of social life. When year 10 began, the major problems appeared. My daughter’s ability with English literature was very good. Chinese was weak, often between a fail or barely a pass. In addition, she enjoyed science and hoped to have the opportunity to develop in the direction of scientists, but because of her mathematics and her chemistry score not being outstanding, the school didn’t want her low result to affect them on the league tables, therefore only allowing her to study biology. This was a light bulb moment for me to plan the future for my child. Under the existing system in Hong Kong, if you fail Chinese it is impossible to go to university. Additionally, she only had biology, her dream of becoming a scientist was squashed. The option for her was to leave Hong Kong and pursue her studying and dream aboard. Although she had not completed her Chinese education in Hong Kong, she had persisted into the fourth year. I believed her Chinese foundation was enough for her to continue learning if she is interested in the future.
In Hong Kong, if you want to study abroad you need to find an agent. Frankly speaking, most of them are focused on making money, and some even offer a price of HK$90,000 (c.£9000) service fee to find the best middle school in the United States. Honestly speaking, the commercial society needs to make money, however, it is much more concerning when you consider this is about a child's physical and mental development. Although I emphasize that children should be happy to learn, academic performance was not my worry, but the child's ‘Asperger’ problem was making the process so much more difficult. I was unable to find a suitable secondary school for my daughter until we contacted Miss Wong from the Link Education Overseas Consultancy. She recommended Abby Plumb who was recruiting in Hong Kong at the time, finally the project of finding a school for my daughter had found a smooth road.
At the time I was away on a business trip and not in Hong Kong. I sent a colleague to take my daughter to see Abby alone. At the age of 15 she usually didn't talk much. However, after the meeting I listened to her telling me about the meeting, which was rare! I was surprised to see that she was full of confidence in being able to go to the UK to study. I decided to appoint Abby as my daughter’s guardian literally over the phone. I was just landing in Hong Kong as Abby was leaving Hong Kong, so I missed the opportunity to meet her in person. We talked over the phone from the customs hall to the boarding gate. Abby’s warm and happy laughter could be heard clearly from the phone. Her passion for helping student is infectious and it was pleasant and reassuring to talk to her. Abby was a Hong Kong citizen who had grown up in Hong Kong. After studying in the UK, she made it her home after her marriage and children.
The most important thing I communicated from her was in her first sentence; "Mr Hung, I am not the kind of guardian who gets the children's grades to meet the expectations of the parents. I am more focused on the children's ability to enjoy life and start to develop some independence ability." This is exactly what I wanted. For me, I was not worried about my child's academic ability, and I was not worried if she could or couldn’t really become a scientist. Life is full of all kinds of twists and turns, and I was most concerned about how to help her grow into a healthy independent adult who can take care of herself and hope that she will continue to love learning and retain her unique curiosity. After all, the little girl had been protected at home, and everything was taken care of by us. Her special circumstances often become a reason for us to over protect her and slowly the family has become a barrier to her growth. I promised my little girl a new life in a safe and happy place for her to be who she is. Abby replied; "I like your daughter very much and given her special circumstances I will find ways to help her with her new life, she will enjoy studying in UK." A guardian who has a passion for children’s best interest at heart, is indeed the best gift for my daughter.
In 2016 when I accompanied my daughter to the UK, I finally met Abby for the first time. I was very reassured by her sunny smile. She had many years of experience in caring for students, she used to run a children’s club. She is also good at communication and helps at various schools on a volunteer basis. There are eleven rooms in Abby’s house that accommodate her three daughters and the girls who she is hosting. Each girl has their own room. Although there are many people in the house, everything is well managed from cooking to cleaning. Abby has a good relationship with the relevant secondary schools and has direct access to the actual situation of the children with the various school teachers so she can help support the children. She also has a certain influence on the school's attention to Chinese students and keeps parents informed in a timely manner. Although Abby has the full authority and experience to take care of the children on behalf of the parents, she never over steps the mark and has a respectful attitude to parents on important matters and ensures that the child's development is also able to reassure parents. In addition to learning she also focuses on the socialising, she encourages the girls to come out of their rooms to socialise in the living room. During the holidays she also organizes various group activities such as; mountain climbing, swimming, cycling, horse riding, shopping, cooking, university visits, etc.
My little girl has been in the UK for almost three years now, and she has become more mature each time I see her. Although sometimes she is ‘too’ honest and she still makes people laugh, but Abby’s patience encourages her to express her ‘honest’ thoughts, some that may not be well received by others at the time! She has excelled in school, the teachers of mathematics, physics, chemistry and art all appreciate her academic performance. At the age of 18 she is also now ready to live independently. I am very grateful to Abby for her care and the help she gave my little girl over the three years. She has not only helped my little girl to live but has also tutored her in direction and prepared her needs for university. Abby let her safely overcome the pressure of transitioning into independent life. As a parent, seeing her grow up away from our protection and develop into a healthy and happy child is a great blessing. I am grateful to Abby for her care and thoughtfulness and I hope her work will continue to help more families and children in need.
"Helping our daughter to grow"
Abby Plumb is a responsible and true to her promise’s kind of guardian. She values the student's life style and supports and encourages students' performance in order to allow them to grow and progress. Because Abby is familiar with British culture, she will carefully introduce to the students how to integrate into the UK life, such as table manners, how to treat people as you would like people to treat you, helping the students adapt to the British study life, and encouraging our daughter to explore different extracurricular activities, enriching her life experiences and horizon. Most import to enhance her chance to achieve a top university place/ degree for her future.
In addition, Abby keeps in touch with parents as needed to enable parents in Hong Kong to feel reassured that their children are fine.
My daughter has been under Abby’s guardianship for two years. She has learned to take care of herself and her self-management skills have improved during that time. In terms of learning, through Abby's guidance my daughter has gradually learned about time management to make her studies more productive, which is a significant improvement from when she first arrived in the UK. Every time when our daughter returns to Hong Kong, she takes the initiative to bring back her school homework and notes to share with us. Her joy reflects her satisfaction with her study life in the UK. Additionally, whenever our daughter returns to Hong Kong, she also positively mentions Abby's teachings and points, which demonstrates that Abby's teaching is helping our daughter to grow.