Home is where the heart is. Home is also the epicenter of a growing conflict between Ukraine and Russia for several Iowa State students.
“Seeing it [Independence Square] diminished, burned down, with black tires everywhere; it hurts. It’s like where is my childhood is gone. Where did it go?”says Shalika Khindurangala.
Khindurangala is one of ten Ukrainian international students at Iowa State University. She realizes she is out of harm’s way but her family in Ukraine’s capitol city, Kiev, is not.
“Everyone is so nervously and sick of hearing this,” says Khindurangala. “My mom is like ‘when is this going to be over?’”
Vladimir Sukhinin, is a graduate student at Iowa State. He says he checks social media often and makes daily phone calls back home. Besides his school work, he says this is one more thing to worry about.
“I spend a lot of time just following this because it so matters to me it’s hard to do anything else.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pressure to sway the Ukrainian government away from democracy is help Ukraine didn’t ask for.
The students admit the Ukrainian government may be weak in areas but hope country leaders look to the US for help.
“I know everything will be okay. I do not know how many will need to fall to get us that security for our future but I know my people and I know that we will stick together.”
Both students are wishing for the day when the conflict is resolved and it’s safe to go back home.
The university also planned on sending a group of students to Ukraine and Russia for research in May. Organizers postponed the trip until the tension overseas settles.