Russia-Ukraine war: How a Nepali student fled the war zone

Bijay Pandey, 21, a MBBS student at Uzhhorod National University, urges Nepali nationals not to panic and try to come out of Ukraine as soon as possible.

NL Today

  • Read Time 3 min.

It has been just two months since I reached Ukraine. I am 21. I came to Ukraine to study MBBS at the Uzhhorod National University in Uzhhorod, a city in Western Ukraine.

I am from Kanchanpur district. News reports of Russia invading Ukraine were making rounds for the last few months. But I had not imagined that it would take place so suddenly and the situation would worsen in no time.

After Russia declared a war against Ukraine, the situation worsened in minutes. There was fear and panic everywhere in the country, for the people of Ukraine as well as for those who have come to Ukraine from other countries for studies and other purposes. 

People then started leaving Ukraine for neighboring countries for safety and refuge. We had no other option.  Many Indian friends were reassured by the government of India for their rescue and evacuation.  But the situation for Nepalis was different. We had to manage our safety on our own.

So we fled the war-torn country, come what may. The journey was long and tiring. On top of that there was fear and anxiety. Family members back home were equally worried about our safety. So the first thing to do was to ensure safety.

[Related: Nepali embassy in Berlin provides helpline numbers to Nepali citizens in Ukraine]

It took me 10 hours to arrive at and  cross the Ukraine-Slovakia border.  It was relatively easy to walk up to the border at that moment but the situation has changed now. 

As Ukrainians have left the country in hundreds and thousands, the border is now overcrowded. It takes much longer to reach the safe destination. 

We were four Nepalis and two other nationals who left Ukraine. We are all safe now. One of the Nepali friends had lost the way in a panic. We were worried about him but now he has been found out. 

We left Ukraine by hiring a cab.

As the number of people fleeing the country and reaching the border points has been increasing every single moment, now Slovakia has managed two entry points–one for Ukrainians and another for other nationals. 

Crossing the border was easier for those who were residing in bordering areas but it is very difficult for those who are staying at the core part of Ukraine or the cities ravaged by the war.

In my medical college, three Nepali students were enrolled for MBBS program. One of the students is on the way to Hungary, while another Nepali student has already reached Portugal. 

The situation is worsening further and it is getting really difficult for people to cross the border from Ukraine. Russian militaries can be seen on the streets of Ukrainian cities with guns.

I was exhausted until yesterday. I was not in the condition to think about anything other than being in a safe place.

I was in Ukraine to study MBBS. Now, I am worried about my career as I don’t know how the situation will unfold in the days to come. 

I came to study in Ukraine spending more than a million Nepali rupees. I am worried about my studies but for now safety is all that matters to me. 

Situation is chaotic in Ukraine. Nobody knows what will happen next. But as a Nepali who managed to come to safer locations from Ukraine, I would like to appeal to every Nepali, who is in Ukraine, to stay safe, be careful but not to panic. I would advise them to go to Slovakia. Coming to Slovakia is relatively easier. 

(As told to Nepal Live Today over the phone by Bijay Pandey from Hungary)