Ukraine Study-away Initiative – VinUni’s effort to support international Ukrainian students

September 26, 2022

Written by Dang Thu Ha – Business Administration Student, College of Business Management

On 4th May 2022, VinUniversity welcomed the first batch of 10 Ukrainian students whose study was interrupted by the war that has been happening in their home country, up to now the number is increased to 16 students. With the best interest in mind, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) strongly support Prof. David Harrison (Vice Provost)’s initiative of the Ukraine Study-away – a very humanitarian programme in which the full experience of being a Vinuni student will be provided to the Ukrainian students. This includes co-living, co-working, and co-studying within the safe environment of the VinUni campus as well as joining VinUni students, faculty, and staff in various classes’ field trips to multiple places in Vietnam organised by CAS. Some of them show a very strong interest in History, English, Philosophy, Healthy Lifestyle and Art appreciation classes.

As a student who works for the student-led club VinUni International Student Association and had the chance to welcome our Ukrainian friends from the very first days, the Study-away Initiative appears to me as a brilliant idea which does not only goes to show VinUni & Vingroup’s philanthropic and community-centric spirit but also have practical values for both the Ukrainian students and us as Vinunians.

When they first came here, our Ukrainian friends seemed quite quiet and reserved. Even though our conversations went as normal, there was something heavy in their expression that we just could not seem to shake off. However, after only a short amount of time, thanks to the Study-away Initiative which enables them to have the best experience here at VinUni, the constant care from faculty and staff from the university, especially CAS and SAM, and the friendliness and support from VinUni peers, they have opened up and become much more confident, communicative, and engaged with all the school’s activities – either created for or created by Vinuni students. Quoted Prof. David Harrison: “Despite difficulties at first, they have become visibly happier and more relaxed since coming here”.

As a student who studied with them in the Cross-Cultural Navigation course, seeing their transformation from sitting and listening quietly in the class to actively engaging and contributing their ideas with us really does put a smile on my face. Besides taking classes for credit at the end of the Spring and Summer semester of 2022, they have also proceeded to make an active contribution to the intellectual and social life of VinUni with activities including:

Joining field trips and co-curricular activities organised by CAS and SAM with some of them being:

  • Tea Tasting and Ikebana Flower Arranging Workshop (Art Appreciation Course)
  • VCCA Art Exhibition (Art Appreciation Course)
  • Field trip to Kiến Hưng, Hà Đông (Politics & Social Change Course)
  • Field trip to the Temple of Literature, Hanoi (Philosophy, Science and Society Course)
  • Field trip to Đông Hồ Traditional Painting Village, Bac Ninh (Cross-Cultural Navigation Course)
  • Field trip to LG Display Factory, Hai Phong (joining CBM and CECS students)

Joining student interest groups and club activities

  • Field trip to Hanoi’s Old Quarter (organised by Vinuni International Student Association)

Ukrainian students at the Santastic event by SAM

Not only are our Ukrainian friends thriving at VinUni, but we are also learning in a fundamental way from them. Listening to their stories, we have come to be aware that the news on TV which we can sometimes be oblivious to are real events happening and inflicting harm on people, and how we, as future leaders, always have to strive to take every initiative in order to help the people in need. We have also learnt a great deal about the Ukrainian culture and developed an admiration for their resilience despite all adversity they are facing at the moment.

So far, 10 of the students have said they wish to continue in the Fall semester. Four will return to Europe at the end of August, and two will remain in Vietnam on their own, having found jobs here. It is great to see them enjoying their time here with us so much and it will become one of the most unforgettable memories of us all.