Scurrying to safety, Indian students hopeful of normalcy in Ukraine

According to the Indian Embassy in Kyiv, over 18000 students from India are in Ukraine studying medicine or engineering, forming roughly 24 per cent of total international students

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Russia | Russia Ukraine Conflict | Ukraine

After the latest Russian attack on Thursday, several compatriots of third year MD student Nikheta Francis are still stuck and worried at her Bogomolets National Medical University in Kyiv, Ukraine.

“So far the university was offering online classes which got cancelled today after the attack. Classes will remain cancelled until further notice even as the university has asked students to stay safe and be packed and ready. However, this was not the scenario even till yesterday despite the media frenzy,” said Francis, who returned to Ahmedabad a week ago via an Air Arabia flight from Kyiv to Hyderabad via Sharjah.

On its part, the Indian Embassy in Kyiv issued an advisory on Thursday asking Indians in Ukraine to remain calm and safe in their homes, hostels, accommodations or in transit. “All those who are travelling to Kyiv, including those travelling from western parts of Kyiv, are advised to return to their respective cities temporarily, especially towards safer places along the western bordering countries,” the advisory further read as tweeted by the embassy.

According to the Indian Embassy in Kyiv, over 18000 students from India are in Ukraine studying medicine or engineering, forming roughly 24 per cent of total international students.

However, the attacks do not seem to dampen Indian students’ spirit or preference for studying in Ukraine even as they await for things to normalize, said M Kalidhas, director of Mediseats Abroad, a leading Chennai-based medical education consultant.

“Of so many Indian students in Ukraine, hardly a few hundreds have returned. There was not much panic until Thursday and universities have also assured that classes will resume at the earliest in the hope of returning to normalcy. Also, with flight tickets being very high, it is not an easy decision to come back,” said Kalidhas.

“We flew 182 students from Ukraine to Delhi today. We have six more flights planned to Delhi till March 3 and 1500 students have booked to travel. The Ukrainian airspace is closed so we have to wait and watch for now,” said Isha Goyal, CEO of Stic Travel Group, India representative of Ukraine International Airlines.

Meanwhile, seconding Kalidhas is Francis who said that some of her classmates have booked flights for as far as May 2022 even as they hope to return to their universities given that third and sixth year of their MD programs are crucial years in their medical education.

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