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'Really lucky' - Ukrainian student at University of Scranton pursues dream

As the war in Ukraine continues, one refugee finds a way to further his education here in Scranton.

SCRANTON, Pa. — A banner hanging over the main walkway on campus welcomes the University of Scranton class of 2026. 

The newest member of that class is Serhii Kuzmin. Serhii grew up in Ukraine but was forced to flee to Germany with his family after the Russian invasion.

"I'd remember hearing loud noises of strikes and shootings," said Serhii.

On Ukrainian Independence day, Serhii recounts his dreams of studying in the U.S but also remembers how those dreams were put on hold six months ago, and his thoughts turned to simply surviving.

"We also had this fear of being encircled by Russian forces and having no way to escape," said Serhii. "We decided to move out because it would be far more dangerous to stay here."

While the decision to leave his home near Ukraine's border with Russia was difficult, Serhii and his family knew that it was his only chance to study in the U.S. 

"I was really lucky to get admitted to the University of Scranton. At least I knew that there's going to be a chance to continue my studies here," said Serhii.

The University of Scranton gave Serhii a full scholarship to study computer science.

"What I have chosen is really valued," said Serhii. "And will have a great impact on me and on my service to others on what I can offer."

Once he graduates from the University of Scranton, Serhii hopes to return to Ukraine and help rebuild the county and its culture.

See more videos on our area’s connection to the Crisis in Ukraine.  

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