Nigerian Medical Student Who Fled War-Ravaged Ukraine Wishes to Return to Study

A Nigerian medical student, Olawale Abdulmajeed who fled when Russia invaded Ukraine has revealed that he wishes to go back to the war-raging European country.

He was studying medicine at Dnipro Medical Institute when the war broke out in February, adding that his father, a car vendor in Japan and his elder sister working as a nurse in the United Kingdom are helping in funding his academic programme.

Abdulmajeed, currently living in the Netherlands, lamented how things have been difficult for him and his family said he would like to break into the entertainment industry.

He disclosed this in an article ‘The Escape Diaries’ according to a report by InfoMigrants on Friday.

Abdulmajeed said: “My name is Olawale Abdulmajeed, I am a 32-year-old Nigerian, a 5th-year medical student, and had to flee the war in Ukraine not even a year after arriving in the country.

“At the Dnipro Medical Institute, I hoped to finish my studies after transferring from a school outside Nigeria which was declared unaccredited. But the war shattered those plans and forced me to flee to Dordrecht in the Netherlands.

“I was born in Lagos, as the last of three children. My elder brother runs the farm together with my mother; my father is a car vendor who works in Japan and regularly comes home to Nigeria. My elder sister works as a nurse in the UK and has been helping pay for my school fees, pushing me to finish my degree.

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“It was always my vision to become a medical doctor, and when I had to find a solution to continue my education as a medical student after my school was declared unaccredited, doors opened for me in Ukraine.”

He spoke about how he was motivated to pursue his academics in Ukraine and he realised he could do more in life apart from studying medicine.

He continued: “I decided to move to Ukraine because I knew of several friends who had already been there. Affordable school fees were also a big motivation, as well as the opportunity to travel and meet new people.

“I had already been accepted, and in May 2021, I decided to take the plunge and move to Ukraine, to study in Dnipro. I think Dnipro is a beautiful town. First I started with online classes due to the pandemic, but soon life returned to campus. Everything was looking very good.

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“I consider myself lucky to study in Ukraine. It offered me an affordable education and the possibility to work as a sales rep on the side to support myself. In my own part of the world, we have to pay for everything, we don’t have student loans. You have to pay as you go. This has disadvantaged many people.

“During my studies, I developed another of my dreams: to become an actor. I want to finish my studies for my mum and my sister. But I also dream of breaking into the entertainment industry. However, this dream is clashing with my family’s expectations. They think I have come too far in pursuit of becoming a doctor to just abandon it for entertainment. But I still want to sign up for a casting agency in the Netherlands.

“I am hoping to find a balance between these dreams and expectations. For my part, I know I want to pursue other things than medicine. You only get one chance in life, so I am hoping I can work as a doctor during the day and as an actor at night.

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“The war has opened my eyes to this. I try my best to meet my family’s expectations, but for the ones I am unable to meet, I say to them ‘sorry’. These are the sacrifices you have to make if you truly want to be happy.

“However, I have also not given up hope of returning to Ukraine for my studies. I really want to finish, I want to go back to school. I would love to continue studying in Ukraine. Studying in the Netherlands is worrying me, as I was already a transfer student when I came to Ukraine.

“I don’t know if a university in the Netherlands would accept me, and things are hard. My family is pushing me to finish my degree, I want to win a role in a movie, and there is still so much uncertainty over whether I will ever be able to return to Ukraine to finish my medical studies.”

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