KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) — Going away to college can be a little nerve-wracking for anyone, but for this group of Ukrainian students, they are moving halfway across the world to embark on a new journey.
Kettering College welcomed a group of 26 displaced students from Ukraine. They arrived just before the start of the fall semester and they will be studying nursing for the next three years.
Nate Brandstater, the President of Kettering College, said back in March 2022, he received an email from the director of education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church asking for help. The Church operates 24 schools in Ukraine, as well as a college and a seminary, and they were looking for ways to ensure the students could continue their studies.
Within a few months, Brandstater and other faculty were able to help this group of students get visas and enroll in Kettering College.
“Because Kettering College is health care focused, so this opportunity really isn’t for every student. And we needed to make sure that these students would be able to just step right in and and be able to function effectively in our programs,” Brandstater said.
Students like Svitlana Shnurenko and Vitalii Chobyk. They are both in the pre-nursing program at Kettering College. Shnurenko left Ukraine five days after the war began. She said she is grateful for this opportunity to pursue her passion.
“I always dreamed of being a doctor, learning to how to serve people and save people’s lives,” Shnurenko explained.
Chobyk spent a few months in the Czech Republic to escape the war. He is now enjoying his time at Kettering College, but it is not without its challenges. The students are learning new material while also learning English.
“It’s a great opportunity and change for me; study a new language, study more interesting subjects, and have a great education,” Chobyk said.
These students will attend college for the next three years and just like every student who graduates from the school, they will also be offered jobs within Kettering Health.
The school is also doing everything it can to make this transition easier. They devoted a full-time staff member to help the students. They are also reaching out to the community. These students were not able to pack much before moving here, so they are in need of all the things a regular college student would need, like dorm items or even gift cards to local restaurants. People can also donate to the Ukrainian Student Initiative to help with things like tuition. To find out ways you can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With more than a month into the semester, this group is settling in and getting to know their new community; however, a piece of their hearts will always be with Ukraine.
“Don’t forget to support our country, support us because unfortunately the war in our country continues. That’s why we thank you so much, we really appreciate it,” Shnurenko said.
Kettering College is looking forward to welcoming another group of students for the start of the spring semester.