The Ukraine-Russia war-like tension has the entire world on its toes.
The White House has warned that Russia which has more than 130,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders, could launch a full-scale invasion any time.
India, among many countries, has asked its citizens especially, around 20,000 Indian students, to leave the eastern European country and return to India.
In an advisory issued on Tuesday, India said, ” In view of the uncertainties of the current situation in Ukraine, particularly students whose stay is not essential, may consider leaving temporarily. Indian nationals are also advised to avoid all non-essential travel to and within Ukraine.”
The Ministry of External Affairs today said that it has also set up a control room for information and assistance in view of the prevailing situation in Ukraine. The embassy of India in Ukraine has also set up a 24-hour emergency helpline.
Canada and the United States have evacuated diplomats from Kyiv with the potential launch of full-scale invasion by Russia.
In such a tense environment, many Indian parents are worried about the safety of their wards studying in Ukraine.
While on the one hand, parents have made a representation to the Presidential secretariat in New Delhi for the safe return of students, the Indian students in Ukraine seem to present a picture of normalcy.
Families of some of the Indian students in Ukraine also made a representation to the Gandhinagar secretariat and demanded that special flights be arranged to facilitate their safe return.
Many Indian students studying in Ukraine, hail from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Telangana.
Some students in Ukraine however told VOI that life is normal.
Mayank Raval, a 25-year-old student from the International European University in Kyiv, said, “Everything in Ukraine is fine and we are functioning as per usual.”
Mayank was on his way to the university when VOI contacted him. He showed us the beautiful streets of Kyiv with people leading their lives as per usual.
“I am not planning to return to India anytime soon. I have also talked to my friends pursuing studies in different universities and they are also planning to stay on,” said Raval.
He said that if the situation actually becomes tense, his friends and he had planned to go to a nearby town and take refuge there for a fortnight.
“We are living our life as per usual, there is not even any night curfew or restrictions. The Army is not in the capital and everything is functioning as per usual,” stressed Raval.
“My parents did worry after hearing the news back in India. We talked and I told them the ground reality. Now, they are quite assured,” said Mayank.
“Two days back, we were worried after what listening to news bulletins but yesterday we saw news from different European nations and felt better after understanding the ground reality,” said a parent whose son is studying in Kyiv.
“A video call last night with our son helped us breathe easy. He reassured us about the situation in Ukraine and now we are relieved,” said the parent.
Samaya Patel, (name changed) first-year medical student at Lviv Medical University, said, “I panicked after hearing the news at first, especially as my parents panicked, but the situation here is quite normal. We are going about our life in a routine manner. I will stay back as long as my university is functioning,” added Patel.
According to reports, Indian students mostly go to Western Ukraine, while the tensions are growing at the Russia-Ukraine border in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine is quite a hotspot for Indian students, especially for pursuing MBBS.
” Indian students began going to Ukraine for pursuing medicine. Apart from medicine, there are many courses that attract Indian students to the eastern European country,” said Rahul Sheth, Founder of Golden Future, Education Consultancy.
“From 2016, students from Gujarat started going to Ukraine for other studies as well,” added Sheth.
Ukraine is quite pocket-friendly in comparison to other countries such as Canada and the United States. “The cheapest course that can be pursued costs around Rs 2.5 lakh,” said Sheth.
Ukraine, among other countries such as Armenia, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, has recently become popular hotspots for pursuing medicine.
A few thousand students from Gujarat are currently pursuing medicine in Ukraine. For more than 15 years, students from Ahmedabad have been going to Ukraine to pursue medicine and engineering. There are two intakes in September and January.
“Most students go to Ukraine to pursue MBBS. There are very few candidates pursuing Engineering,” said the founder of Royal Education World, Manu Gajnani.
Around 16 lakh candidates register for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) or NEET (UG) with only, 83,075 seats, according to the official government data.
“Most of the students pursuing MBBS in Ukraine have scored 50 per cent or less than that in their 12th boards and qualified in NEET,” added Gajnani.
Students pursuing higher studies in Ukraine return to India to pursue their careers. Students have to appear for the Medical Council of India (MCI) Screening Test to practise medicine in India.
“The average tuition fee for the six-year MBBS degree is between Rs 20-22 lakhs, which is supposed to be paid in part according to the semester,” said Gajnani.
The total cost including processing fee, accommodation, travel, food and tuition adds up to Rs 28-29 lakhs which compared to other countries is very reasonable.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday called on the country’s people to fly flags and sing the national anthem in unison on February 16.
After India asked its citizens to return, the fare has risen to Rs 1 lakh usually was priced between Rs 35,000 to 39,000.