University of Wales Trinity Saint David welcomes students from Ukraine
A glimpse of hope and a taste of bitter loss are what two Ukrainian students who live in Wales are feeling this week.
Anastasiia Patiuk and Valeriia Piven both received scholarships from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) to study for a postgraduate award.
They see celebrating Christmas as an opportunity to combine both Welsh and Ukrainian traditions, whilst thinking about their loved ones back home.
Christmas has not been as magical as usual said Ms Patiuk: “My boyfriend is on the frontline as a medical doctor.”
Ms Piven said: “Ukrainian people are strong people, but this year (we are) celebrating with a taste of bitter loss, and a glimpse of hope for the future. We usually start our Christmas festivities by eating Kutya -a sweet porridge made out of wheat or rice and dried fruits.
Then 12 different dishes appear on the table to note the 12 days of Christmas. We usually place a garlic clove on each corner of the table to protect us from bad spirits.”
Based on the Lampeter campus, the two students said they are overwhelmed by the support and the welcome that they have received.
Ms Piven said she hopes to rebuild the future of Ukraine when she can return home. She added that she instantly felt at home, and part of the community, when she arrived in Lampeter:
“I am originally from Olevsk, a small town in the Zhytomyz region in Ukraine that is very similar to Lampeter. Everything is calm, and the people are very nice and so supportive here. It is somewhere where you can resync your energy from home and focus.”
Both students say watching the daily message given by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via social media is often emotional. Their families – whom they left behind in Ukraine – are proud of them.
“My family is happy that I have had this opportunity to further my studies in a safe environment, and at such a wonderful place. I have so much to tell them when we contact each other,” said Ms Patiuk.
She added: “It is really hard being away from home, and not being able to see them and my boyfriend. I do hope that things will change before long.”
Both students are studying the postgraduate award in Global Citizenship and Sustainable Leadership. It covers a wide range of topics including immigration, global justice, labour rights, leadership and dealing with cultural differences.
Ms Patiuk said: “This course has helped me to view the world from a wider perspective, and I love to research and to explore deeper into various topics.”
Both will study at Lampeter for the next two years before returning home.
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