Former Dubai students displaced by Ukraine crisis plead for more universities to help

One academic institution in the UAE is offering some students free seats and scholarships


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 9 Mar 2022, 5:43 PM

Last updated: Wed 9 Mar 2022, 6:43 PM

The plight of thousands of Indian medical students caught in the crossfire of the Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to widespread concerns about their future.

The displaced medical student community from Ukraine is now asking more universities to help after a UAE-based varsity announced it would welcome Indian students.

Gulf Medical University (GMU) announced it would offer Indian medical students free seats and scholarships based on merit criteria.

Many students hailed the move by GMU, which highlighted that the initiative aims to ensure uninterrupted education for affected Indian medical students.

For years, Ukraine has been a popular higher education destination for students from the UAE and India, especially those pursuing medical studies.

UAE resident Anees Mohamed who was pursuing his MBBS, second year (3rd semester), at Kyiv Medical University, says, "I fled from Ukraine just before the airport closed.

"Most of us, including me, just had a backpack with only our passports and a few pair of clothes. I am still waiting for my documents. I approached the GMU after reading the news. They are asking for the transcript. But the situation is still quite uncertain there. I am trying to get my transcript dispensed."

Anees, who was his batch topper in the first year, further adds, "I wanted to study in Dubai because it's after all home, and I completed my schooling here in the UAE from The Elite English School. But when I wanted to get into a medical college here, I realised the fee here was steep and beyond my means.

"I would certainly want to continue my studies in a safe place like the UAE, provided I manage to get into any University with a similar fee structure that I had in Ukraine. Conversely, any scholarship would also aid students like us.

"My annual fee after my academic evaluation was around $4,000. Otherwise, I'll have to find another alternative, which may even include dropping this year."

Mohammed Raihan Thufail is a first-year MBBS student at Bogomolets National Medical University. He had travelled to Kyiv three months ago after completing his schooling in the UAE.

Thufail, who has now safely returned to Kerala, said, "If the UAE universities go ahead and accommodate displaced Indian medical students from Ukraine, this is good news for students like us.

"I completed my schooling at New Indian Model School, Dubai. Many students like me choose to pursue MBBS from Ukraine as it is more affordable, compared to other universities abroad. Although, I haven't decided on the future course of action, as a lot of things are still in a state of limbo. I do have my documents with me, though the future seems uncertain now."

Students who've never been to the UAE have also expressed keen interest in joining universities here.

First-year MBBS student at Kharkiv National Medical University in Ukraine Aman Chaudhary says, "I have never visited the UAE before, but I do have relatives living there. I was quite happy to read the news that a university in the UAE is accommodating students like us who had to flee the country [Ukraine].

"I went to Ukraine to study medicine as I also have a lot of friends and relatives living there. But I never thought that we'd one day face with such a situation. For six days, I lived in a bunker in Kharkiv with 900 other students and later in Pesochin. Our careers have been upended by the war. I request other universities like GMU to help students like us."


Gulf Medical University requirements

In a statement shared exclusively with Khaleej Times, GMU lists out the requirements for such displaced students while announcing some free seats.

There are a few steps that a student must follow:

— Students must send their high school mark sheets (both Class X and XII), followed by transcripts of the courses completed.

— The admissions team will evaluate the documents to match with UAE's requirements and advise them on the next steps.

Transfer Documents: High school certificates and transcripts of the courses completed is required.

Scholarships: Scholarships and fees vary for each program and are based on the eligibility of students. GMU's health management courses; dentistry, nursing, pharmacy have up to 50 per cent discounts, and have some free seats for displaced Indian students.

Deadline: Students have time until August to submit their documents. Also, they can send across whatever documents they have, and the admission officers will guide them on case-to-case basis after reviewing them.

Source: Sherly Koshy, Director of Admissions, Gulf Medical University

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