Foreign students fleeing war in Ukraine fear for their future

A train arrives from Chop, Ukraine to Zahony, Hungary with refugees
A train carrying refugees arrives at Zahony from Chop in Ukraine. Photo/Al Jazeera

Thousands of students, many of them from countries such as Malaysia, Nigeria, India, Egypt and Morocco, are fleeing the war in Ukraine in dark blue trains and disembarking at the Hungarian borders, struggling to go to the capital, Budapest.

According to Aljazeera, it is estimated that there were 76,548 international students enrolled in Ukrainian universities of which about 18,000 come from India.

Hiba and Akhila, both 22 and originally from the southern Indian state of Kerala, told the international media at the scene that it took them 29 hours to get to the border.

Hiba, who spent four years studying medicine at Zaporizhzhia State Medical University in the city of Zaporizhzhia in the southeast of the country, said she fled when she heard a blast near her home.

The foreign students are very worried about their future and wondering when the war will stop and studies resumed.

“We don’t know when we will come back (to Ukraine). The university didn’t say anything about it and no one knows what will happen,” Hiba said.

Most of these international students have been studying medicine in Kharkiv, many of them in their final year.

Another group of students who were interviewed by the media at the Hungarian borders, said that “some of the foreign students are still stranded in Ukraine.

“We don’t know how they can get out. Many of them are still in the besieged city of Kharkiv,” a student from Egypt said.

It was also reported that many Foreign students could not managed to get a seat in the trains because of discrimination and racism. 

Joe David from Chennai, who studies internal medicine, said they decided to take the bus after hearing that there had been discrimination on some of the trains.

“One of the main reasons we didn’t take the train is that Ukrainians are given the first priority.

“Even if you book the train tickets, the Ukrainians were the ones who got the seats,” he told Aljazeera.

Graduate with a Master of Mass Communication. 10 years working experience in the media and broadcasting.

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