A group of Ukrainian students have the opportunity to complete their education interrupted by the Russian invasion of their country – thanks to support from the University of Birmingham.
Whilst most of the 12 students are using their time in the UK to complete their studies and emerge with degrees from both their home institution and Birmingham, others have come to the University because their route to higher education is blocked by the war in Ukraine.
The University has made available more than £300,000 in direct awards and support to students from Ukraine in addition to our support for the CARA scheme which works with academic staff and researchers.
In addition, a new Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme has awarded a further five fully funded scholarships and cost of living support to students who are refugees and asylum seekers fleeing conflict and persecution from around the world. The University is supporting seven international scholars through this scheme from countries including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Eswatini.
The Ukrainian students are completing a range of courses in Birmingham. First-year Business Management with Marketing student Mykhailo Pymkin – also President of the Ukrainian Student Society – commented: “This is a great opportunity to study on a beautiful campus and it is fantastic that the University of Birmingham has been helping Ukrainian students to continue our education with a range of support.”
Nataliia Chubenko is studying English and Creative Writing and is in her first year at Birmingham. She commented: “Our teachers at Birmingham have been lovely and very supportive – I’ve made some wonderful friends. I really appreciate being given the space to express our thoughts, stories and emotions – it’s very important to us.”
Second year Computer Science student Daniel Dubrov commented: “It brings me a lot of pleasure to be studying in Birmingham and feeling safe as I sit in my lectures. But the impact of war is still brought home to me as I get messages from home and I start worrying about my family and friends. I remember my Mum skaking me awake at 6am and telling me that war had begun. We watched the explosions happening on TV, shaking because we couldn’t believe that such a terrible thing could be happening.”
Karina Malinovska, a third year Biochemistry student, commented: “I’m enjoying my studies in Birmingham – it’s a different approach to studying in Ukraine. I want to use this experience to get my degree and return to Ukraine when the war is over to help in rebuilding my country – perhaps through teaching in a university.”
The support for Ukrainian students complements a partnership between the University of Birmingham and Ivan Franko National University, Lviv (IFNUL). Birmingham staff are working with their counterparts at IFNUL to develop joint research projects on refugees and migration; global security and geopolitics; Shakespeare studies; and analytical methods of chemical detection.
Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham, commented: “We are committed to supporting Ukrainian students during what must be a time of terrifying uncertainty – working together to help to fulfil the potential of the young people of Ukraine and the UK and support the future development of our two nations. I’m delighted that our Ukrainian students are making the most of their time with us.
“We have also provided support to students from Russia who have been affected by the ongoing conflict – recognising that students and other Russian citizens are not responsible for the actions of their state.”
Since the start of the Russian invasion, over 95 professional pre-higher and higher education institutions have been damaged. At least nine have been destroyed. University teams and Students’ Unions have arranged mass evacuations. Some students and colleagues are now protecting their country on the frontline. Others are spread far and wide desperately trying to continue their research and studies.
More than 75 mutually beneficial twinning partnerships have already been formed between UK and Ukrainian universities. Colleagues from both the twin universities stay in regular contact via online meetings to build relationships, make plans for sustaining Ukrainian education during the war, and create relationships that will make a real difference.