Ukrainian exchange student can’t return home, but her family remains in the war-torn country

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:11 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:12 PM EDT
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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - Iryna Snahoshchenko came to Perrysburg from Ukraine a year ago to be an exchange student, yet her plans to return home were abruptly altered due to the war in Ukraine.

The past several months have not been easy for Snahoshchenko as her family remains in the war-torn country.

“They decided that they wanted to stay home to help as much as they can help because it’s always better to be home even though it’s dangerous,” said Snahoshchenko.

Her mom, dad, younger sister, and grandparents live in the northeastern part of Ukraine. They are not right in the middle of a warzone at this time, but it’s still scary for her.

“It’s just air warnings about shellings and stuff, they’re happening every day and sometimes it’s in the middle of the night so they have to go hide in shelters. It’s just living in uncertainty because you never know what is going to happen.”

When she first heard what was happening in Ukraine, Snahoshchenko was immediately worried.

“They were obviously much more worried because it was happening to them in their country. Everything they were planning to do, they had an idea about the future, it was all ruined in one day.”

She talks to her family several times a week and said they are coping the best they can.

“I think now because it’s been going on for half a year, of course, you get used to it, even though it’s horrible that you have to get used to it. Eventually, everything becomes reality, even though it’s a really sad one.”

She doesn’t know when she can go back home or see her family, so Snahoshchenko is making the best of it and is heading to the University of Toledo in just a few weeks. But she’s very homesick.

“We miss each other and we all wish it wasn’t that way.”

There was a fundraiser Tuesday to help raise money for Snahoshchenko to attend school. As an exchange student, she can’t work in the U.S. so the money will go toward her tuition, school and board, books, and anything else she might need at college.

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