Ukraine has been invaded by the Russian forces, which has led to panic and fear in the hearts of thousands of parents in India whose children are left stranded in a country where bombs and missiles are being dropped and air raid sirens are being sounded out.
India is making efforts to evacuate its citizens from the conflict zone but the situation became even riskier after Ukraine decided to close its airspace.
But have you wondered, Why such a big number of Indian students are studying medicine in Ukraine? , or What is happening to them right now, and what are the advantages of studying in Ukraine?
Indian Students in Ukraine
- In 2020, it has been reported by Ukraine’s ministry of education and science that 24 percent of Ukraine’s overseas students were from India.
- India is among the top 10 countries of origin of international students in Ukraine. The others include Turkmenistan, Morocco, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Turkey, China, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and Israel.
- It has been stated by The Indian Embassy in Ukraine states that there are more than 18,000 students currently studying medicine or engineering in the country.
- Reportedly, Kharkiv National Medical University which is situated around 480 km from the capital Kyivthe is the most sought-after medical school in Ukraine.
- According to the sources, one of the first places where Russia launched its attack was Kharkiv.
Why medicine in Ukraine?
- According to the reports, Ukraine ranks fourth in Europe for having the largest number of graduate and post-graduate specializations in the field of medicine.
- It has been reported by Quartz India that in India students who struggle to secure seats in government colleges generally have to pay huge fees at private institutions. Ukrainian medical colleges are a boon to these students. Fees for MBBS in Ukraine can vary from $3,500 to $5000 (Rs 2.65 lakh to Rs 3.8 lakh) per year which is cheaper and affordable for the Indian students given the education standards are high.
- In addition to the above-mentioned privileges, all of the Ukrainian universities are accredited by the World Health Organization and UNESCO. Besides this, Ukrainian medical degrees are also recognized by the European Council of Medicine, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, and General Medical Council of the United Kingdom.
- Another reason for Indian students to opt for Ukraine is that they aren’t required to clear any entrance test to get admission to medical universities.
- Students also stated that it is easier for them to adjust and adapt as the medium language of instruction is English so they don’t have to worry about learning a foreign language.
Their current condition
- Students allege that they have been left stranded in Ukraine and without any help since the attacks by Russia.
- Several of them made appeals to the government desperately to facilitate their safe return.
- As metro stations could serve as bomb shelters, several of the students are now taking shelter in them.
Ternopil, Ukraine | Indian students request the govt to bring them back to India
“We came to Ukraine for studies. We are requesting the Government and our Embassies to take us back to India as soon as possible,” said two Indian students pic.twitter.com/k3AdiVONXt
— ANI (@ANI) February 24, 2022
An Indian student requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to make quick arrangements to evacuate Indians. The student is Manish Jaiswal, medicine in Ukraine from UP’s Ballia- Video reported by NDTV. Jaiswal said-
“We feel helpless. Three-four bombs have struck the city since morning. We are running low on supplies. Air routes are closed. I request Narendra Modi ji and Yogi Adityanath ji to make arrangements for evacuation of Indians as soon as possible.”
Another Indian student Nilesh Jain, studying in western Ukraine’s Ternopil, said that he and other people have been stuck at the metro station for nearly 30 hours. Jain said-
“The internet connection is not good. We can hear bombs exploding. Please help us. I appeal to PM Modi ji to evacuate us from here quickly.”
Indian students have taken Shelter in the basement of a University in Kharkiv, Ukraine. They are worried as Food, money, essential supply running out.#StopWar #RussiaUkraineConflict pic.twitter.com/FPLg5JFjq1
— Hemant Rajaura (@hemantrajora_) February 24, 2022
As reported by PTI, as Ukrainian stores have stopped trading dollars, many students were not able to exchange their currency.
Aprit Katiyar, an Indian student in Kharkiv, was found telling Al Jazeera-
“We don’t know what to do. We appeal to the Indian government to rescue us as soon as possible.”
Why the students didn’t leave earlier?
The Indian embassy advised the citizens to leave prior to the invasion on Thursday, then why the students didn’t leave Ukraine? Here are the answers:
- The students couldn’t leave owing to the excessive costs of plane tickets.
- One student had told Times of India that his booked ticket for India at Rs 20,000 skyrocketed to Rs 60,000.
- A fifth-year MBBS student and a resident of Chhattisgarh, Monica said that air tickets were quite expensive and she reached India taking other flights. At first, she took a flight from Kyiv to Doha and then returned to Delhi.
According to News18, another medical student quoted-
“Travel agents are exploiting the situation to mint money. We don’t have so much money. The news of this Russian-Ukraine conflict actually gave them an opportunity to push flight ticket booking charges citing the troubled situation over here, what can we do? We cannot afford this.”
What are they supposed to do now?
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s foreign secretary assured all Indian citizens by saying that the government would take all possible steps to bring them back safe and sound, including students, in Ukraine and their family members.
The Ministry of External Affairs reported to the News agency ANI teams are being sent to the land borders with Ukraine in Poland, Hungary, the Slovak Republic, and Romania to assist the evacuation of Indian nationals.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said-
“To assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine, MEA Teams from @IndiaInHungary, @IndiainPoland, @IndiaInSlovakia, and @eoiromania are on their way to the adjoining land borders with Ukraine.”
To assist in the evacuation of Indian nationals from Ukraine,MEA Teams from @IndiaInHungary, @IndiainPoland, @IndiaInSlovakia & @eoiromania are on their way to the adjoining land borders with Ukraine.
Indian nationals in Ukraine near the border points can contact these teams ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/OSd90I4DGH
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) February 24, 2022
Ambassador of India in Ukraine, Partha Satpathy, said that the embassy in Kyiv would continue to operate till every Indian is evacuated.
“The Embassy of India in Kiev continues to operate round the clock 24X7. Today morning we woke up with the news that Kiev is under attack, the whole of Ukraine is under attack. This has generated a lot of anxiety, uncertainty, and created tension. I would like to assure all of you that the Embassy of India continues to operate around the clock looking out for the safety and security of Indians here,” he said.
— India in Ukraine (@IndiainUkraine) February 24, 2022