Times Of India

HYDERABAD: A year after they were forced to discontinue their course and abruptly flee from
Ukraine amid a raging war, about 70 medical students from India received their Foreign Medical
Graduate Examination (FMGE) degrees at a ceremony in Hyderabad, on Monday.

The students were at the fag end of their six-year degree at Zaporizhzhia State Medical University (ZSMU), when war struck. They were airlifted in special flights operated by the Indian government.

“Instead of studying to save lives, we had to run from the country to save our lives,” recollected Salugu Shailaja from Warangal, during the graduation ceremony organized at AIG Hospitals, Gachibowli. She shared how they lived in fear during the last leg as their college asked them to stay put considering the batch had only two months, left to complete the course. “The war started on February 24, and while other students came home almost immediately after that, I returned to India only on March 7. We had to stay in bunkers for four to five days. On February 28, we were asked to leave,” said Shailaja, adding how she had no clue whether or not she’d be able to complete the course, once back home. Unfortunately, though, she managed to complete it online – much like many other students that TOI spoke to on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony – and also clear the FMGE exam. Now, these students are waiting to dive into their internships and get on for further education or work. “I am glad that the uncertainty we were living through last year is finally behind us. I am now looking forward to doing an internship after clearing the screening test,” said Richi Samuel from Chhattisgarh sharing the experience of living in bunkers, with limited food, water and money. “There were no mobile signals….. There were attacks on Indian students…. We were scared for our lives,” he said.

Vijayawada boy, Majeti Manoj, lived through a similar time and is glad to have survived it. After receiving a bronze medal at Monday’s event, he said that he wants to pursue a post-graduation in General Medicine, post his internship.

Dr Divya Raj Reddy, director, Neo Institute of Medical Sciences (CEO), a consultancy that assisted students in securing admission in Ukraine and also in returning to India, said that 70% of the students – 72 out of over 110- clearing FMGE in the first attempt is a great achievement.

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