20 Mar 2024

Olha Tolmachova & Violetta Seleznova: Update from Ukraine – Student success stories



Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation in February 2022, the EAIE has engaged in a series of conversations with two Ukrainian higher education institutions, Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (KNU),  In observance of the two-year anniversary of the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the EAIE reconnected with these institutions, but this time in conversation with two students: Olha Tolmachova, an undergraduate at UCU, and Violetta Seleznova, a KNU doctoral student.

EAIE podcast host Laura Rumbley chats with Olha and Violetta about how their lives as students have been affected by the longer history of conflict between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the more recent events of the past two years. What have these students experienced during these intensely difficult times, and how do they deal with everything that is thrown their way? We also zoom in on two interesting projects Olha and Violetta have been involved in an English-language course organised at UCU called 'Road to Recovery,' which seeks solutions for Ukraine's renewal, and an internationally award-winning research project at (KNU), focused on mental health issues amongst Ukrainian students.


About Olha Tolmachova

Olha Tolmachova is an fourth-year political science student at Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). Leading the Model UN Club at UCU, Olha served as the Head Delegate for the Ukrainian delegation at the National Model United Nations conference in New York in April 2022. Earlier in 2023, Olha, together with her peers, received the New World Award from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), recognising their outstanding leadership skills and commitment to global citizenship, fostering intercultural understanding within the NMUN Project. As a Ukrainian Catholic University Ambassador for the CIVICA for Ukraine project, Olha demonstrated dedication to international collaboration, specifically on Ukraine's Recovery and Modernisation topics. Currently, Olha is working on her BA thesis on the European Integration processes, focusing on EU accession negotiations.

About Violetta Seleznova

Violetta Seleznova has a Master of Arts diploma in Economics and is currently a PhD student at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. She has been an internally displaced person since 2014, as her hometown continues to be under Russian occupation. She is working on a dissertation thesis about mental predictors of consumer behaviour and participating in a nation-wide research project about mental health protection of Ukrainian students during and after the war.  Next to her academic life, Violetta has been working as an analyst and marketing specialist for over seven years. She spent five years working at a media consulting agency studying Russian propaganda, and for the last two years as a strategic marketing specialist at the Public Broadcaster of Ukraine. 

Additional Resources

For further insights into the topics touched on in this episode, the following resources may be of interest:

→ The battle for mental well-being in Ukraine: mental health crisis and economic aspects of mental health services in wartime 

→ UCU ‘Road to Recovery’ course

→ EAIE: Ukraine support and resources page


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