Kettering Health | Strive | Spring 2023

They reached Volyn and faced more heart-wrenching goodbyes. In Ukraine, men 18 to 60 years old are not allowed to leave the country unless they’re studying at a foreign university. Otherwise, their duty is to defend Ukraine. “I will never forget that feeling of sadness when you understand that you may have hugged your brother and grandfather for the last time,” Svitlana says. The women continued their journey. For months, they lived in the Czech Republic with extended family, applying for travel visas. They hoped to reach Toronto, where Svitlana’s sister lives. When they couldn’t obtain the documents from the Canadian Embassy in Prague, they went to the Canadian Embassy in Poland. “It was a difficult path—long lines and sleepless nights,” Svitlana says. Meanwhile, they worried about her father. “My father risked his life to get people out of the most hostile and dangerous cities,” she says. “He was surrounded, and we lost contact with him for several days.” Svitlana says that when he could communicate again, “the first word he sent me was a message about Kettering College.” He had learned about the opportunity, remembering her dream to be a doctor. “It was like a ray of hope,” she says. Vladyslav Vladyslav (“Vlad”) Malishevskyi’s family lives in central Ukraine. “We did not experience the loss of our home or the loss of relatives,” he says. “But the whole family suffered a lot of stress due to not knowing what would happen next—especially because I was 17 at the time, and my family was worried that I would soon be 18 and have to be a soldier.” Vlad, whose mother is a doctor, was studying agronomy at a local university. He heard his pastor’s announcement in church about the opportunity to come to Kettering College, but, Vlad says, “I could not believe that I could be so lucky.” He and his parents struggled with a difficult decision. “They really did not want to let me go, but they were very worried about me and did not see a future [for me in Ukraine].” When Vlad was accepted into the program, his 18th birthday loomed near. He needed to leave Ukraine, but he hadn’t obtained all the necessary documents for a visa. So he went to Poland, where he lived in a church for over a month while working with the U.S. Embassy to get his visa. When he finally obtained it, “The trip itself was quite difficult because it was my first experience with airports,” Vlad says. “I flew from Warsaw to Paris—and from there to Cincinnati, where I was met by the college staff.” —Continued on page 8 RAYS OF HOPE To support Ukrainian students at Kettering College, visit giving/UkraineStudentFund or scan the QR code with your cellphone. Vladyslav 7