Becoming a New Patriot

Photo: Students from Uzgorod take to the streets in support of Euromaidan. Illustration for Anna Pastyria's "Becoming a New Patriot."
Students from Uzgorod take to the streets in support of Euromaidan. Source: TSN.ua

Anna Pastyria
National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Master Program in Biology (1st year)
From Nova Odesa, Mykolaiv region
For the last 5 years living in Kyiv.

 Despite studying in one of the most “Ukrainian” universities in the country, I have never been patriotic. In fact, after finishing school, the biggest advantage of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy for me was a well-developed department of international cooperation, as my childhood dream was to enter a master program abroad. Ukraine never seemed a perspective country to me. I had always wanted to become a biologist and wanted to work with modern methods and technologies, which is almost impossible in Ukraine nowadays. Maybe, the blame for this situation is on the people who ruled this country. The heroic past of Ukrainian nation always made me proud, but modern society and modern politicians were so disappointing that there was no hope left in my heart for a better future in Ukraine. However, recently everything changed. For the first time our country had a chance to become closer to developed European neighbors. And again, the authorities and president wanted to prevent this political and economical growth for their own benefit. But this time, my nation was not silent. Euromaidan made me proud of Ukraine, made me a real patriot.

Starting with the very beginning, it was really breathtaking to watch how united were our Ukrainian students in their strong desire to start European life. Our university played a key role in this emergence of the student strike. All the students were supported by our president Serhiy Kvit, who was one of the most spirited and fearless as he was not afraid of sanctions of the former government. Approximately a thousand of students came to Maidan for the first time, but our university inspired others to stand up and join the movement. So, the next day students from Shevchenko and Polytechnic universities joined us. After all, tens of thousands students gathered on Euromaidan. During these events everyone was united. There was no difference from which university one came. The thing that really mattered was just our common goal.

The older generation did not stand aside, which is one more thing that makes me proud of my country. Students were supported by their parents, who were not afraid of security forces and went to the streets with massive protests. My group mate`s father called her every day because he wanted to hear her voice from Euromaidan. Even my mother, who lives five hundred kilometers away from Kiev, decided to come and support me as she wants her daughter to live in a democratic country. Due to our parents, student strike became a general national uprising. Ukrainians all over the country stopped being silent and formed regional Euromaidans.

Even the Ukrainians who left our country years ago did not forget about us. People living all over the world supported Ukraine materially and spiritually. During these events I read such words from the Facebook page of my friend studying in the USA: “I bet from now on no one will ask whether I’m from Russia when I introduce myself as a Ukrainian. World, hear about Ukraine!” The girl, who wrote these words, took an active part in Ukrainian revolution. Despite living in the USA, she did not forget about her motherland and made lots of her American friends support Ukrainians. Every day it was possible to meet foreigners on Maidan, so even people abroad started to care about Ukraine`s destiny.

The events of the last couple of months changed my views of the Ukrainian people. From a careless student I turned into a mature citizen, a patriot of my motherland. It is an honor to call myself Ukrainian. This nation was able to break the chains of illegal power and prove that Ukrainians are the bravest nation in the world! That is why my new dream is to develop science here in Ukraine because our country deserves better future.

This essay is part of a series of student writing on the Euromaidan, part of the the Student Views of Euromaidan project.

For more information on this series and a full index of contributions, please see the introductory post.

 

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