Kolkata: Comfortable beds may have replaced rough bunkers, and love and warmth of parents and friends may have replaced cold nights, but for students back home in Bengal from war-torn Ukraine, one thing has remained unchanged — spending hours scrolling through university WhatsApp groups and Twitter feeds to check updates about the war and information on resumption of their online classes, currently suspended till March 14.
“It feels good to be home, but my heart is 6,000km away in Ukraine. I am worried about my teachers, university officials, the future of my course and my career,” said Krishnashish Ghosh, a final-year MBBS student at Dnipro Medical Institute who returned to his Seoraphuli home with his cat three days ago.
Twins Rumki and Jhumki Ganguly had spent nights in Kharkiv bunkers and had walked for several kilometres passing by missiles and bullets raining on the road till they were rescued and brought home on Tuesday. “We had always dreamt of becoming doctors. Our father toiled hard to arrange for our course fees. How can we let that dream shatter?” said Rumki, a first-year student of Kharkiv National Medical University and a resident of Durgapur.
With several students complaining of being haunted by war trauma after returning home and suffering from PTSD, psychiatrists say such an impact is common among the displaced during war and partition. They advised students against exposure to such news and constant queries about their future.
“I know doctors and seniors are advising us not to watch news about the war. But that is what our future depends on as we are not sure if we will be able to continue our studies there. Although I want to spend time with my family, I end up spending hours on my phone chatting with classmates about the uncertainty, and checking the university website and WhatsApp groups for updates on the resumption of studies,” said Parnashree Das, a third-year MBBS student of Ternopil National Medical University.
The most worried lot are third-year and sixth-year students who have an impending national licencing exam — KROK — scheduled in four months. “There are so many questions. We can continue classes online like during Covid, but what about the mandatory KROK licencing exam that we have to appear for offline in June?” asked Anubhav Chandel, a third-year MBBS student of Vinnytsia Pirogov National Medical University and a resident of Dum Dum.
They are calling up student coordinators in Kolkata and Ukraine, seeking suggestions. The latter, who helped rescue the students out of Ukraine — are asking them to stay calm for now.
“Our duty is not finished with evacuation. We have to sort out all the other problems related to studies. There is always a solution. The real warriors of this evacuation are students,” wrote Hardeep Singh of Bobtrade Education Consultants, who is currently in Ukraine.