Ukrainian student enrolled in online DePaul classes determined to not let war derail studies

From her home in Lviv, Ukraine, Marta Haiduchok logs into a virtual classroom taught by DePaul University professors
CHICAGO (WLS) -- From her home in Lviv, Ukraine, Marta Haiduchok logs into a virtual classroom taught by DePaul University professors. The 20-year-old Ukrainian Catholic University history major student has enrolled in two online classes: comparative politics and women and gender studies.

"I'm really enjoying the class, this is really different from what I'm used to," Haiduchok said.

Haiduchok is one of 100 Ukrainian college students who are participating in dozens of online classes during DePaul's spring quarter. Like Haiduchok, most attend Ukrainian Catholic University, however, since the war has started, the Lviv campus has been used as shelter and several of Haiduchok's professors have left to fight on the front lines.

"It's really scary because those are people that I know who are super smart, super educated and super intelligent in their fields," Haiduchok said.

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Ukrainian Catholic University and DePaul have a long history of working together on projects, the Lviv university reached out to DePaul to help their students continue their education.

"We are constantly answering the question what must be done and this was an opportunity for us to do something good," said Gian Mario Besana, associate provost for global engagement and online learning for DePaul University.

With an eight-hour time difference, Haiduchok logs in twice a week for DePaul assistant professor Heather Montes Ireland's women and gender studies class.

"Even though it's in the evening for our visiting students, they show up ready to go and can't wait to be part of the learning conversation," Montes Ireland said.

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Montes Ireland said she is struck by how hopeful the Ukrainian students are, despite the chaos around them.

"We've already had a few air attacks during this month. We are currently in danger. We have a lot of sirens, which usually means we need to hide," Haiduchok said.

With DePaul's help, Haiduchok is determined to not let the war stop her from graduating and continuing her education. Her dream is to become a historian. Haiduchok said when the war ends, her work begins.
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