Russia’s attack on Ukraine has thrown into disarray the future of thousands of medical students who are studying there as well as those who have just enrolled.
Hundreds of students, many of them from Bengal, have taken admission for this academic session at medical colleges across Ukraine. Most of them had visas and were ready to fly but the war forced them to cancel their tickets.
Now many of them are approaching their education consultants and requesting them to get them admitted to medical colleges in other countries.
Some want to wait for a few days and see whether the situation improves.
Rahul Dutta Roy, who appeared in the NEET exams last year and this year, enrolled in the MBBS course at Zaporizhzhia State Medical University in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.
“I have paid Rs 2.65 lakh to the university, which was a part of the admission fee. I was to pay the rest after reaching there,” Rahul, a resident of Barrackpore, said on Friday.
He had got the visa and was scheduled to fly to Ukraine on February 27. However, two days before, he heard that the airports were closed for commercial flights.
“I have since asked the consulting agency that had arranged my admission in Ukraine to try and get me admitted in a college in Nepal,” said Rahul.
He said the fees in Nepal would be higher compared with Ukraine.
“My uncle has offered to help me financially. My father will also arrange for more money. My two cousins are studying medicine and I, too, want to become a doctor,” said Rahul.
A girl who enrolled in a medical college in Ukraine said her parents were unwilling to send her to any country after learning about the ordeal of the Indian students stuck in Ukraine.
She is now trying to get admitted to an undergraduate course in biology at any college in India.
Hundreds of students from Bengal pursue MBBS courses in Ukraine because of lower fees, compared with what many private medical colleges in India charge, and easier admission criteria.
A six-year MBBS course in Ukraine costs between Rs 32 lakh and Rs 35 lakh. The amount includes tuition fees, food and accommodation.
At most private medical colleges in India, the tuition fee alone is more than Rs 1 crore.
“I have contacted the medical institute in Zaporizhzhia. Officials there have said classes would be held online till normality returned. I have communicated this to the students,” said Poulomi Mullick, CEO of Infinity, a Kolkata-based education consulting agency.
“In Ukraine, one session starts in March and the other in September,” said Mullick.
According to her, the other options include Malaysia and Nepal, where costs are higher than Ukraine, and Bangladesh.