Chokor, 22, a fourth-year medical student at the same university in Kharkiv, was also on the train.
“We were about 25 Lebanese students on the train. Some crossed to Poland and others to Romania and Slovakia. Anywhere outside Ukraine,” he said.
In Romania, a Lebanese businessman, Mohamad Murad, took care of 40 Lebanese students, hosting them in a hotel he owns in Bucharest and paying for their plane tickets home, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported.
Worried About the Future
For the students, their future education is the main worry at present. Chokor’s and Abdallah’s university was badly damaged in the shelling of Kharkiv.
“Are four years of my life wasted?” Chokor asked. “How can we continue our education in a country at war? We are waiting for the situation to calm down to be able to contact the university. We are totally lost. Our future is up in the air.”
He added: “We will seek the assistance of the [Lebanese] Ministry of Education to help us complete our education in local universities. We definitely have to find a solution.”
“We may accommodate them in the Lebanese University like we did previously; however, they have to be evaluated through exams first. For this, the council of ministers will have to make an exception and issue a special decree.”
Unofficial estimates put the number of Lebanese living in Ukraine at about 4,500, of whom about 1,300 are students.
According to Lebanon’s Higher Relief Committee, the agency responsible for helping nationals stranded in Ukraine, a second batch of Lebanese evacuees will arrive from Poland soon.
Albert Chamoun, spokesman for the Ministry of Education, said the authorities will find solutions for the students to complete their education. He compared their case to that of the Lebanese who were studying in Syrian universities and had to flee after civil war broke out there in 2011.
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“We have a precedent, but first we need to assess how many want to continue their education in Lebanon. Some might prefer to go to another European country,” Chamoun said.
He added: “We may accommodate them in the Lebanese University like we did previously; however, they have to be evaluated through exams first. For this, the council of ministers will have to make an exception and issue a special decree.”