Thousands of Indian medical students are still in Ukraine

Hands tied.
Hands tied.
Image: Reuters/Benoit Tessier
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The Indian embassy in Kyiv today issued another advisory notice, telling thousands of students from India to leave as soon as possible.

Until last week, parents in India were becoming anxious, but students were waiting and watching. Then, a war may have appeared more remote, and they wanted to avoid leaving their studies incomplete. Plus, not only have there been few flights, travel is also expensive. The cost of flying to India and back can be equivalent to half the semester’s course fee.

However, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine seemingly inching closer, panic is setting in.

Indian medical students in Ukraine

Nearly a quarter of all foreign students in Ukraine are Indian. There are currently around 18,000 of themthree-quarters of those are in medical school.

For students struggling to secure seats at government colleges or to pay the high fees at private institutes in India, Ukrainian medical colleges have been a boon. The courses are cheaper, and the educational standards higher.

But now, many students are ready to leave. Air Arabia, Fly Dubai, and Qatar Airways all have flights to India. Moreover, Air India has even organized special flights over the next four days to bring students home.

But the handful of flights will not be enough to bring thousands of students back. They are also too expensive for some.

Meanwhile, some students have been told their degrees are at risk if they leave.

“Despite the situation in Ukraine, some universities are refusing to allow foreign students to leave the country, as well as denying them the ability to take classes online,” Harsh Goel, a third year medical student at Ivano Frankivsk National Medical University in Ukraine, wrote for NDTV. “Schools are saying, ‘You are a medical student, you should focus on your studies, and if we opt for online classes, you will face trouble coping with your studies.'”