By Jake Chung / Staff writer, with CNA
“There is hope as long as one does not give up,” Ukrainian first-year graduate student Karyna Myshnova told a cohort of Tunghai University graduates at a ceremony yesterday morning.
The school for the first time invited a new student to speak to its graduates.
Myshnova said she had been forced to leave her home in Ukraine on Feb. 23, the day before Russia invaded her country.
“In one day, I have lost all my dreams,” she said.
She shared her experience taking shelter during air raids. She and her mother hid in a cellar in the mornings and in a bathroom at night, she said.
“I wanted to live, and I realized only I can save my mother and myself,” Myshnova said.
She sought aid online, and with the help of Poles managed to board a train with her mother to the Polish border.
They arrived in Poland on March 7. They received great care from locals, she said, but added that her home country had been ravaged wherever Russian soldiers went.
Myshnova said she contacted the Taiwan representative office in Ukraine and the Taiwanese government, hoping to travel to Taiwan.
She ultimately was able to travel to Taiwan through a university program helping Ukrainian students resettle in Taiwan to continue their studies.
Myshnova thanked the university for the program and for “giving her hope” when she said she needed it most, adding that she wished to pass that sense of hope forward to the graduating class, urging them to have hope as long as they do not give up.
Tunghai University dean Chang Kuo-en (張國恩) said this year’s graduates are different from previous years, as they have learned how to overcome challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Challenges remain even as the world moves into a post-COVID-19 era, he said, adding that graduates should seek opportunities to experience and embrace a post-campus mindset.
Young people should not be afraid of setbacks and failures, as they can be used to better themselves, he added.
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