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 News

NPU Students in Ukraine have returned home

2022-03-24 17:15  

“I've seen a lot of things these days that I don't want to see again in my life. For the first time, I feel that war is so close to me and how precious peace is.”The voice on the phone was hoarse and low, full of exhaustion. Although it has been 9 days since returning home recalling the days across Ukraine in two days and two nights, staying in 4 different countries and finally evacuated under the full organization and coordination of the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine, Zhang, a school-funded overseas student from our university, felt both terrified and glad.

Since the beginning of February, the situation in Russia and Ukraine intensified, the school has always worried about the safety of students in Ukraine. The school activated the emergency contact mechanism for the first time and closely followed up on the living conditions of students in Ukraine. On February 24, the day of the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the school party committee attached great importance to it and organized relevant units such as the International Cooperation Office, School of Aeronautics, School of Energy and Power Engineering to discuss and deploy follow-up work. Subsequently, the International Cooperation Office took the lead in establishing a working group including the Foreign Affairs Department of Shaanxi Provincial Department of Education and other four units inside and outside the school, to keep in close contact with the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine, keep in touch with student’s situation in real-time, and guide student’s safety protection and evacuation arrangements.

Finally, as of last week, under the full coordination of Chinese embassies in Ukraine and consulates abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Education, the Shaanxi Provincial Department of Education and other higher-level departments, our school's four school-funded overseas students (two studying at Kharkiv University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, two studying at National Technical University of Ukraine), all evacuated from Ukraine and come back to China through Romania, Hungary and other countries and regions by private planes.


Caught in war right after moving to Ukraine.

In October 2021, four students were selected by the school to study in Ukraine. Within six months, the students who were still in the adjustment period were encountered by war.

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Crowds in line at the bank before the war


Zheng and She recalled that they were awakened by an explosion in the dormitory in the early hours of February 24. Subsequently, they were notified by the embassy and school to evacuate to the bomb shelter under the dormitory. We simply packed up some food, contacted other Chinese students at the school, and quickly went to the underground bomb shelter. "In the first day or two, communication was still guaranteed and we had to report to our parents, teachers and friends that we were safe every day. At the same time, the embassy issued emergency avoidance notices and security alerts, and the official accounts posted daily updates and followed up with us by phone."


Zhang and Wei's school is located in the northeast of Kharkiv city Kyiv district, after the conflict began, in addition to often heard explosions, we can see the fire from the window. "In fact, since February, we've been feeling the tension. On the evening of the 23rd, when we tried to replenish some food and water, we found that the supermarket was ready to close, and it would be open until 10 o'clock on weekdays. From the 25th, for safety reasons, we're not allowed to turn on lights at night in our dormitory."


Finally coming home thanks to the motherland.

As the situation became increasingly tense, the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine began to survey the number and situation of students to evacuate, and four students signed up for the first time. It didn't take long for embassy personnel to contact the students to determine their specific location and their safety.


Subsequently, on March 1, two students in Kyiv overcame the threat of stray bullets on the way, rushed to the evacuation assembly point, took the bus arranged by the embassy to evacuate south, through Moldova to Romania. During the whole evacuation process in Ukraine, the Embassy actively sought the consent of many parties to ensure evacuation safety but also coordinated with the local police to provide security escorts, after arriving in Romania, many Chinese compatriots sent supplies, and finally settled in the hotel with the help of the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Zheng and She wrote in their Wechat moments, "When I saw the flight cabin full of national flags, I was very grateful to have a strong motherland behind me. Thank the embassy for coordinating and organizing the whole process to escort us, and thank the teachers for their concern and help, so that we come back to China safely."


However, in Kharkiv, because the main road traffic has been blocked by artillery fire, people cannot leave by car, so under the guidance and coordination of embassy staff, Zhang and Wei decided to evacuate by train. On the same day, the Kharkiv railway station was crowded with evacuees, and some locals were armed. Two students tried to board the train several times, but the situation was worse. The International Cooperation Office and the faculty coordinate multi-party relations, actively communicate with the embassy all night, and constantly reassure, encourage and cheer students. Finally, at 1:39 a.m. Beijing time on the 3rd, the two students boarded the train to evacuate westward, arrived at Lviv and got out of the country, and finally arrived in Budapest, Hungary, after more than 30 hours, several checkpoints and more than a thousand kilometers. Upon arrival, the two students reported safety in the chat group for the first time. "It has been safely evacuated. Thank the embassy, provincial department and school teachers for your concern and help on the way out, so that we have a solid backing. Thank you very much for your companion throughout the night."


Looking back on this period of experience, teachers and students are very emotional, deeply feel that the strong motherland is the strongest backing of overseas students, is the insurance in crisis, is the most solid rely at any time upon. "It is because of the strength of our motherland that we have peace and tranquillity today."


Today, the world is changing every day, opportunities and risks overlap, and global expansion and overseas emergencies will be the norm. The NPU International Cooperation Office will further closely interact with Chinese embassies abroad, actively establish contacts with local overseas Chinese communities, continuously improve overseas emergency response capabilities, increase the density and intensity of overseas networks, and ensure the safety of overseas teachers and students.


(Source: NPU News)

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