Indian medical students in Ukraine back to studying amidst war and strife

14 April,2024 04:39 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Apoorva Agashe

The National Medical Council’s insistence on 54 months of on-site education has left Indian medical students with no choice but to return to war-hit Ukraine

Aditi Sharma (left) and Priya Dhankar

With the National Medical Council firm on its requirements for Indian medical students, several of them have been forced to go back to war-torn Ukraine to life amidst hardship and strife. The NMC's guidelines state that Indian students studying abroad need to complete 54 months of on-site education, failing which the students will have to complete unpaid internships for a period of two years.

"We faced a lot of difficulties while coming back to India when the war started, but now we have been forced to come back. I have been living in Lviv and there is shelling at least once a week here. Life was so beautiful over here before the war started. Now, we have a curfew at 8 pm every day," said Priya Dhankar, 25, who studies at the Lviv Medical College.

She added that studying in bunkers has become a way of life for her now. "In keeping with the University and Embassy guidelines we have a packed bag ready. The bag includes our passport, visa, residential card and other essentials. We stay in bunkers at least once a week. We have clear instructions to enter the bunker once the sirens begin," said Dhankar.

Apart from the 54 months of on-site learning, NMC guidelines also require the students to complete one year of internship in the same institute. Only then can they have a paid internship in India, and then be eligible to practice medicine. Vidya Sagar, 23, another Indian student studying in Lviv, told mid-day that several students had requested the NMC to ease their guidelines repeatedly, but their requests fell on deaf ears.

"We had made similar requests when we came back home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but to no avail. We had a tough time getting visas while returning to Ukraine and our parents are worried for us. A two-year unpaid internship is simply not affordable as many of us have taken loans to complete our education in Ukraine," said Sagar.

Aditi Sharma, 26, studies in Odessa, and is facing an even tougher time. "Odessa is a city which is close to the sea and we face attacks frequently. There are attacks almost every alternate night. We request the NMC to ease their strict guidelines," she said.

Number of days that Russia and Ukraine have been at war

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