Below is an interview we did with Valeriia, one of our new students from Ukraine. With her permission, she shares her story.
My name is Valeriia. I lived in Donbass which is in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. This is my second war. After the war eight years ago I moved to Irpin, the second city I lived in. Here, I am alone. I have no family with me. I am an only child, I have no brothers or sisters. My father worked all his life as a supervisor in the construction industry but eight years ago my mother and father were volunteers for orphans and home help for the elderly people of Ukraine. My parents were kidnapped eight years ago but my mother managed to escape out an open window and travelled from Russia back to Ukraine. I don’t know what happened to my father. The international Red Cross helped us to try and find him but we never heard of him. We think my father might still be in Russia. No one can help. We can’t get this information.
When this war happened, I moved from Ukraine to Germany with my mother and my granny in March of this year. Then we were moved to Luxembourg. I stayed with my family and when we were moved to Ireland my Mum can’t go as my granny is so old. She needs to stay with her. We couldn’t leave together and it was a big problem for us. Now my mother and granny are in Luxembourg. My granny couldn’t stay in a refugee camp. She sleepwalks and there are many people there. She wasn’t able to stand or sleep in the refugee camp. In Luxembourg, they have a place to stay for refugees. I miss my Mum but we use WhatsApp everyday. I am sad for Ukraine but I am hopeful. I like Zelensky. He is not like other politicians who care about money. He wants to help Ukraine.
In Ukraine I worked as a dietitian. I have a masters in sports education but I worked in a clinical setting in a hospital for people that have health problems like diabetes. I would like to work in Ireland as a dietitian. I don’t know if my diploma is good or not good. At the moment I live in Dublin 9. I live with other Ukrainians people in a student apartment. I walk in the city centre everyday. I like Dublin. It’s a capital city just like Kiev. I want to stay in Dublin because I will have more opportunities as it’s the capital. I can learn English. I can communicate with people – Irish and people from other countries. Maybe here I can change work or profession.
I came here in May this year. Irish people are so friendly. So open minded. It’s really easy to be with Irish people. Anytime I want to talk when I find I have something to ask, people are so helpful. In the first few months I stayed in my apartment. Then I found the DALC centre through the Intreo office and they told me about this centre. I wrote an email asking about classes.
The next week I started with Michael and Cameron. My first English class in Dublin. They helped me. My English was not good but is getting better. They help me all the time. I wait all week for the next class! It is every Monday and Tuesday but I want more. We are doing reading and speaking, playing some games and listening exercises. Cameron and Michael give lots of emotion! They are the best teachers! It’s really cool! I went to another English class and it was so boring! Without any emotion or no talking together. We just wrote. No games. No emotion. No connection. I want to smile. I want to speak. Like I do in the class in DALC.
Now I feel good. I feel safe. That’s why I want to live here. It’s not dangerous. I want to learn English more and more. I want to correct my CV. I am looking for jobs in the future in my profession. If not, I will look for another job like office manager. I want to help people in my profession but also I would like to help other refugees in the future.
I want to stay in Dublin. It’s better for me. I can learn English. I like Dublin. For me now, Dubin is my city.