Over a year since, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, nearly 20,000 Indian students were evacuated by the Indian Government through operation Ganga and were brought back home safely from the war-torn cities of Ukraine.
Even though the country remains embroiled in a war, many Indian students have gone back to the war-torn country to complete their medical studies.
A look at why they are choosing to return.
Viresh Kumar, a student at Ivano Krankvisk National Medical University, stated “We did not get any help from NMC, either with transfer or with any arrangements in India. They did gave us options to transfer our courses at universities in neighbouring countries but my family could not afford that. This decision just became a chance for agents to charge huge amounts from students” Viresh told FPJ.
Mostly senior students of medicine, who need to join practical classes in hospitals, are returning to Ukraine in a hurry. There are several other reasons why they have decided to take this step.
Rajnish, a fifth year student at Dnipro State Medical University stated, "Despite having multiple transfer options, coming back to Ukraine was solely my decision as the transfer process was too complicated as it needed huge amount of money and paperwork which seemed as a hassle to me, also the emotional connection with the university mattered to me a lot and also it was more cost effective as well".
Expressing frustration towards National Medical center(NMC), Akash Singh a 4th year student from Zaporizhia State Medical University, is planning to go back to Ukraine in the coming weeks as he’s left with no other option and is tired of waiting for the verdict since last year.
“Over a year since waiting for a positive verdict that may come. This is situation where we need their help, but I cannot afford to waste more time which is why I’m planning to move back to Ukraine” he added.
Justifying his decision, Akash said: "Even if I attended the online classes, it wouldn't have helped because the National Medical Commission wouldn’t consider offline classes," Akash told FPJ.
As per government estimates, approximately 15,783 medical students returned from Ukraine. Till January, 170 students secured admissions to partner universities in different countries under the NMC's academic mobility programme. Over 14,973 continue their online classes. Though there is no official estimate on how many students have returned to the war zone since, the number could be around 700, most among them senior-year students.
Rajnish understands the risks involved. "My parents tried to stop me. But, I wanted to finish my course so I convinced them. I managed to get a visa to Moldova from there, I crossed the border to Ukraine," he added.
Viresh added, things were far from fine. Though where he lives was not a war zone - one reason why his college was conducting offline classes - life was traumatising. "The initial months were calm but air sirens were daily reminders of what was happening in the country. Staying at bunkers were a daily norm, but a lot of students like me were ready to stand all sufferings so that we can continue our studies," he added.
According to Rajnish and other students who managed to get back to Ukraine, they depended on the Moldova border for the same. However, by October, Moldovans authorities began monitoring its border with Ukraine, forcing these students to turn to Polish and Hungarian borders.
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