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Dana July 17

REACH Award winner Dana fled war in Ukraine to study A Levels at York College

We will be throwing the spotlight on some of the inspirational stories behind our 2022/23 REACH and Construction Award winners this summer with DANA LISOVA first up.

Dana was our REACH Principal's Award winner having shown great fortitude to prosper in her A Level studies after fleeing the war in Ukraine where she lived in Kherson Oblast - a region that has been devastated and occupied by invading Russian forces and that she is unlikely to be able to return to for decades...

Please explain the circumstances that brought you to York from Ukraine.

I live in the UK because there is war in my homeland Ukraine. My family and I were living under Russian occupation for a couple of months until there was a chance to flee our home city to a more safe place. There were circumstances that brought us to the nice ancient city of York which is a peaceful place to live in with lots of support for Ukrainians.

Whereabouts in Ukraine are you from and how badly has that area been affected by the War?

I am from Kherson Oblast, a region in southern Ukraine. It is currently occupied and in a situation of humanitarian and ecological catastrophe. Even if the war ended immediately, it would be impossible to go back for decades as the area is devastated.

Are members of your family still in Ukraine?

I am living in York with members of my close family, but my extended family is still in Ukraine. Almost all of my relatives were displaced by the war to different regions of the country.

Have they all managed to stay safe during the War?

It is a controversial question to answer as all Ukrainian people were and are affected by the war. Despite difficult circumstances we, Ukrainians, focus on a positive attitude and hope.

How did you find out about York College?

When we had just arrived, there was a Ukrainian Welcome Café where you can find different specialists who provide consultations on multiple issues.

What were your first impressions of the College, its staff, and its students?

I have exclusively good first impressions of York College. The friendly and helpful staff provided me with good support and helped to answer my questions. York College is a cosy place for everyone who studies and works here, I believe.

In what ways did everybody help you feel welcome here?

My tutors and support staff gave me valuable pieces of advice and guidelines. I immediately engaged in various activities and started enjoying the nice and friendly atmosphere in College.

How much has it helped to study alongside other refugees in College?

The people who I surround myself with are not only refugees but people from different backgrounds. I have integrated into English society and I have many English friends. Social connections are an inevitable part of human life and I am pleased to know people with common values and interests. College has given us a great chance to share precious and funny moments together, whether through travelling, attending classes or doing sports.

What are you studying at York College?

I am doing my A levels. I was studying 4 AS subjects in the first year (Maths, English, Politics and Economics).

What have you enjoyed about the different subjects?

Coming to College has been a nice experience and I have definitely enjoyed studying my chosen subjects. The most crucial thing for me is finding interconnections between disciplines and that is exactly what my set of subjects have provided me with. I have a brilliant teaching team. I want to thank all my tutors for their knowledge and academic support.

How is the method of learning here different from that you are used to in Ukraine?

I cannot say that my College experience is completely different to what I got used to in Ukraine. The main obvious difference is that all sessions are in English rather than Ukrainian, but it is not an issue for me. Ukrainian and UK education systems differ in syllabus. In Ukraine there are a more extensive set of subjects. The UK is more focused on a specific choice of subjects. I also find it interesting that one subject can be taught by a couple of teachers here but, as far as I know, that might be a College thing. Regardless of whether you are studying in the UK or Ukraine, motivation, commitment and self-development are salient.

How helpful have your tutors been?

I am grateful to have supportive tutors who encourage further engagement with the subjects. Their expertise and wealth of experience make them the perfect people to consult with.

What did it mean to you to win the REACH Award?

It was a splendid episode of my life which means a lot to me. My family and friends are extremely proud of me and delighted. I believe it is an important step to progress further in my future.

What are your study plans for next year (2023/24)?

In the 2023/24 academic year, I am continuing my education in York College to get ready for Higher Education. I am planning to carry on with my chosen subjects and focus more on preparation for university. I want to continue my engagement with the supercurriculars - there are always countless new things to discover.

You have been accepted on to a University of York Summer School Programme – would you like to go on to study at university in this country?

I am looking forward to attending my University of York Summer School Programme. It will give me a chance to explore student life as I want to continue my education in the UK. I want to study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at university. My main area of interest is Philosophy which I believe is ubiquitous and closely connected with other disciplines and areas of human activity. It would be great to receive a scholarship or grant for education in the UK as that would be valuable and essential support for me.

Thank you for sharing more details about your time studying with us, Dana. We look forward to welcoming you back on campus in September.