CHIKUSHINO, Fukuoka Prefecture–With eyes on the future and fear for their homeland in their hearts, 64 Ukrainian evacuees participated in the entrance ceremony at the Fukuoka campus of the Japan University of Economics on April 12 .
“I was sent to Japan for my future,” said a student from Ukraine. “I would like to study a lot of things.”
Students came to study in Japan after fleeing the Russian invasion, and they began their academic life with their homeland in mind.
The 64 students who attended the ceremony with other students include 61 students who studied Japanese at Kyiv National Linguistic University and three exchange students from Lviv Polytechnic National University and other schools.
Their ages range from 17 to 21 years old.
“One morning you wake up and see your nation beginning to be destroyed. Can you imagine that?” said Asuka Tsuzuki, the president of the university. “We would like to educate them to become a bridge between Japan and Ukraine.”
After a message from the Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan, the university played its national anthem. Ukrainian students listened to the music putting their hands on their hearts.
Marharyta Dahaieva, 20, and Ruslana Konkova, 21, both graduates of Kyiv National Linguistic University, spoke to the media after the entrance ceremony.
Dahaieva temporarily evacuated to the Netherlands, where her relatives live, and then came to Japan.
His dream is to become a Japanese and English teacher in Ukraine.
Her parents, who remain in the western part of Ukraine, sent her to Japan.
She said she talks on the phone every day with her parents about what she studies and enjoys.
Konkova fled to the Czech Republic with her mother.
His father and relatives are still in southeastern Ukraine.
She is interested in ukiyo-e woodblock prints, “suiboku-ga” ink painting and other Japanese arts. She hopes to learn more about them in Japan.
Konkova was grateful for the national anthem played at the entrance ceremony.
“We are in the middle of a war, so I felt sad” hearing the anthem too, she said. “My mother is still in the Czech Republic, so I’m really worried about her.”
She said she would send the photos taken at the ceremony to her family.
The university is headquartered in the town of Dazaifu near here.