EUR-students from Ukraine share their story: “I have no idea when I will see my parents again”

Anna Rudya and Daniil Glotov woke up on Thursday the 24th of February with the news of shelling on their hometown Kyiv in Ukraine. Obviously, the lives of these students of Erasmus University Rotterdam have changed completely in the last few weeks. What have they been dealing with mentally, physically and financially? 

“My family was evacuated from Kyiv a few days ago. They took everything they were able to take with them from our family home for over 60 years. Including two cats and a dog”, tells Daniil, a second-year student International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics. “They are now near the Romanian border and we send each other messages every two hours so I know they are safe.”

“We have no plan, we’re just driving”

Anna Rudya is a second-year student International Bachelor Communication and Media. Her family also had no other option but to leave Kyiv and the main office of their business there. Because there is a mobilisation and men between the age of 18 and 60 cannot leave the country, they decided not to cross the border. Anna tells: “When I phoned my mother when they were in the car, I asked them what they were planning to do. She said: ‘We have no plan, we’re just driving’. I have no idea when I will see my parents again.”

“My mind is there, even though I am physically here”

“I can’t believe my parents are not home and that they can’t go back. I can’t believe so many places are destroyed and that there is more destruction everyday”, Anna says. “Every next step shocks me more and more. The situation in Mariupol is horrifying. Why? What is the purpose of doing this? My whole mind is there, even though I am physically here.”

Daniil tells his mind is so occupied, he only sleeps about 4 hours a night: “My parents told me to focus on myself here, but how is that possible?” Nevertheless, he feels the urge to take action and is busy organising Solidarity with Ukraine Day on March 17th on campus Woudestein, amongst other things. “But I know of other students who immediately got depressed. They are so occupied that they cannot focus on their studies in any way. We need academic support here. Luckily, I feel supported by my student councilor, but I have heard other stories.”

Zero income in Ukraine

Next to the psychological impact, there are also financial implications. Daniil: “When Russia invaded the country everything immediately came to a stop. Everything closed. People evacuated or took arms. There is zero income right now.” Both Anna and Daniil’s parents are businessowners. “My parents have an advertising production company in Kyiv”, Anna tells. “They left Kyiv and their main office there. All their employees have spread across the country or even left the country. They have a smaller production premises in a town near Kyiv where there is severe fighting. We don’t know if it’s still there. Eventually when the war will end, is there something we can go back to? Will people even need advertising then?”

“Doing a master’s degree is an unfulfilled dream already”

Can they continue to afford their studies here?

To help EUR-students affected by the war a new EUR Student Emergency Fund is established in collaboration with the Erasmus Trustfonds. With this fund, financial support is provided to students who are currently facing urgent financial problems. "What my parents have saved goes to family and helping others out in Ukraine”, Anna tells us. “What will next year look like? It is very disturbing that there is no safety net.” Daniil adds to that: “Doing a master’s degree is an unfulfilled dream already.”

Feeling guilty

When asked about the future, Anna and Daniil tell it is something they can hardly think about. Daniil: “We are feeling guilty that we are not there, while we want to do everything to support our country.” Anna says: “What is going to come next? Where will my parent be going next? It is so hard for us that we cannot do anything to stop this.” Daniil concludes by saying: “I do however feel supported by people I personally know here and that so much money was raised in the Netherlands already. It is nice to see our European brothers care so much.”

Help students like Anna and Daniil and donate

If you would like to help students like Anna and Daniil, please make a donation to the EUR Student Emergency Fund. They need your support! Prevent the war from defining the future of our students.

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