They enjoy their studies at the University and have experienced some differences from their studies in their home country.
– The teaching is very different compared to Ukraine. Here we are divided into groups more and we sit down to discuss together. Here, students are also expected to be more questioning, and we should be able to assess the work of fellow students, for example, says Anastasiia.
They appreciate student life here and the work that is done by Gefle Studentkår and the student unions.
– When we came here and didn't know anyone, we were given the opportunity to join in when they organized barbecues and other activities, which was great because we otherwise found it a bit difficult to adapt to everything new when we came here, says Olesia.
Their studies were paused
Both Anastasiia and Olesia come from the western part of Ukraine and their university is about three kilometers from the border with Slovakia. They are in regular contact with their families who still live there, and they follow the news.
– Our region has felt "safe enough" and there have been no missile attacks there. There are still some refugees left in our region and when the war broke out, our studies were paused because everything became very complicated. The air raids are terrible, and you know that there are missile attacks in other places, says Olesia.
They struggle with different feelings about the situation in their home country.
– On the one hand, you're grateful that the missiles didn't reach us, but on the other hand, it's hard to say that you're somehow "getting used" to the war, because then you feel guilty. It's not something you want to get used to. You want to be able to help and it's easy to compare yourself to others who are suffering more. This creates mental difficulties, says Anastasiia.
Had power certain hours
They fear that this winter will be similar to the last winter season.
– There were blackouts and the power stopped working. The lights could go out at any time, your mobile phone didn't work, you couldn't connect with the outside world and there was no Wi-Fi. We had power for maybe two hours a day. In the beginning we did not know when we would have power and when not. But then it became more organized; some streets had power at certain hours and other streets at other hours. We try to be optimistic. Our parents talk about positive things and try to live as well as possible, says Olesia.
Works as an online teacher
When they finish their studies at the University of Gävle in January, they plan to continue their studies in their home country and work as teachers. Anastasiia has already been working as an online teacher for three years. She teaches English remotely online and has taught people between 8 and 50 years old.
– It is a useful experience. In Sweden, most people are good at English, but not in Ukraine. We wanted to know what the secret is behind why Swedes are so good at English and Sweden seemed like a good choice for studying English, and we have noticed that there is a lot of communication in English in the classroom. I chose to become a teacher because I want to help people gain new knowledge and learn English, says Anastasiia.
Text: Anna Sällberg