What is a guardian?

A guardian is a student’s legal caretaker while they study and live abroad.  A guardian can be a relative of the family, a hired professional, or often the student’s own parents (if they reside with international students). The main duties of a guardian are the following:

Welfare: the guardian must advise and assist students in adjusting to their new environment and school

Academic: the guardian must track their student’s study progress and be ready to provide advice and assistance as well as attend any parent/teacher meetings and report developments to a student’s parents

Homestay: the guardian is responsible for liaising with a homestay provider or, in the case of a student in boarding, providing a homestay for weekends,

mid-term holidays and other holidays if the student does not return home during the break

Travel: the guardian must co-ordinate or provide transportation for the student for transfers from the airport to their accommodation, during homestays and for school trips if necessary

Guardians regularly contact the student under their care and are available to give support and aid in solving any problems that may occur.  Guardians are also reachable by the student’s school and parents at all times.

CETA guardians – our role 

Guardianship is an essential part of studying overseas for secondary school students under 18 years of age. In Australia, CETA is trusted by many schools to provide guardians who provide welfare and care services for international students.  All CETA guardians are certified with Working With Children Checks and meet all legal requirements.  CETA guardians are responsible for students’ safety and wellbeing 24 hours/day and are always on hand to provide support and help in emergencies. 

When a student first arrives, their CETA guardian will be with them to help them settle in and attend orientation with them.  From then on, the guardian will be on hand to meet and talk, and to provide advice and support for everything from school work to personal issues. The guardian will make sure that their student understands the rules of their school and national laws as well as make sure that they follow all regulations for living in their new country of study.  Apart from looking out for their student, a key task of CETA guardians is to keep in touch with parents and keep them informed of their child’s progress and wellbeing.  Parents receive reports about their children and can contact the guardian at any time to ask questions or note any further needs.

Laws and regulations

Under Australian law, students under 18 must have a guardian residing in the country who is fluent in English to ensure effective communication with the student’s school and relevant authorities. Young students only studying in Australia for less than five weeks can have their study tour leader or a staff member of their educational course serve as a guardian. For students spending more than five weeks in the country, however, a formal guardian is required.  The guardian in such cases must be found before students can receive an entry visa.


Whether a family friend, hired professional or parents themselves, a guardian is an important part of a student’s time studying abroad, watching over their safety and wellbeing as well as their academic development and welfare.

CETA’s guardianship services can help parents find suitable guardians to fit the legal requirements and give parents and students peace of mind that they have the support they need to make the most of their time overseas.