Ukrainian students visit Edinburgh University to continue education

Chemistry students from Kyiv have been getting hands-on lab experience after their studies were disrupted by the war.

A group of Ukrainian chemistry students are visiting Edinburgh as part of a new twinning initiative to support people affected by the war. 

The University of Edinburgh teamed up with Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (KNU) last year to help it stay operational during the invasion. 

This year’s project follows the success of a two-week summer school in Edinburgh last year.

KNU students have been getting hands-on experience in Edinburgh University’s chemistry lab, allowing them to continue their studies after they were disrupted by the war.

The University has now received just under £200,000 in funding for the initiative to further strengthen the ties between the Ukrainian and Scottish capitals. 

Kyiv Masters student Nadiia Hriadchenko, 21, said she’s grateful to have been given the opportunity to carry on with her education.

Nadiia told STV News: “We can’t do everything in person because of safety – because of danger.

“Everyone in Ukraine is trying to continue doing their lives, doing their jobs (and) studying because we can’t just stop and hide in shelters all the time.”

Nadiia has been studying the whisky maturation process for her masters theses during her time in Scotland and said she’s been making the most of her surroundings.

She said: “We’ve had the opportunity to learn a bit more about whisky because it’s the right place to do it.”

Masters student Sofiia Zhadanova has been examining the structure of proteins at the University of Edinburgh but highlighted the difficulty of being away from family. 

The 21-year-old said: “It’s amazing that we have this opportunity to work here. There are a lot of different machines that we don’t have in Ukraine, different equipment.

“You have your family and friends in Ukraine and you’re always just thinking about them because there’s been a few missile attacks in the last week – so it was a really hard week.”

Both students have been making the most of their time in the Capital and exploring what the city has to offer.

Sofiia said: “I do love (the) nature here, so I’ve probably been up Arthur’s Seat three times because it’s just an amazing place to watch all the city.”

Professor Eleanor Campbell, Chair of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh said: “It’s great talking to them and finding out what they’ve been doing and what city they’re visiting this weekend and what they’re up to. 

“So they’re clearly getting a good time in the lab and learning a lot but they’re also taking good advantage of being in Scotland.”

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