International students from Africa and India who were studying in Ukraine at the onset of the Russian invasion are still facing uncertainty in their lives and education over a year later.
Reports from NBC’s Zinhle Essamuah shed light on their experiences.
The conflict began in March 2021 when Russia invaded Ukraine, leading to a tumultuous situation for international students in the country.
These students encountered discrimination at Ukraine’s borders while attempting to escape the war-torn region.
Even now, after a year has passed, their futures remain uncertain.
One student shared her harrowing experience of trying to leave Ukraine, stating that they had guns pointed at them as they approached the border.
Aggression and hostility were prevalent during their escape.
Unfortunately, her account is not an isolated incident.
Verified videos have surfaced, depicting officials pointing guns at refugees and a uniformed official kicking black students.
Although some students managed to leave Ukraine, they still face significant setbacks.
When asked about the state of her studies, one student revealed that they are completely nonexistent.
The universities reportedly prioritize Ukrainian students, leaving international students in limbo.
Despite attempting to apply to European schools, these students faced discrimination as non-Europeans.
Currently, the majority of university students are attending classes online, except for medical students who have access to well-equipped shelters at the university’s clinical bases.
However, the university demands that students clear their debts to obtain academic standards.
Despite the challenging circumstances, a few students have chosen to return to Ukraine to complete their education.
One Indian student, who was trapped in a Ukrainian university last March, decided to go back due to limited options.
Obtaining transcripts or securing admission to another university proved to be exceptionally difficult.
The plight of international students in Ukraine, caught in the midst of the ongoing conflict, highlights the enduring challenges they face in their studies and lives.
Their stories bring attention to the discrimination, uncertainty, and limited opportunities they encounter, further emphasizing the need for support and assistance during these difficult times.