Meet Hnat, our Ukrainian colleague

Meet Hnat Sumyshyn, Ukrainian student of the Faculty of Geographical Sciences at University of Lodz in Poland. Now, he is a master student of spatial planning and organisation programme and a member of the students’ community of the project ‘SPOT. Sustainable Spatial Planning of Tourism Destinations’. He also participated in our study visit to Turkey. In this terrible and uncertain time of military invasion of Russia against Ukraine we would like to share the story of Hnat and his opinion on the situation in his homeland.

Hnat grew up in Kyiv. After completing bachelor studies at the National University of Taras Shevchenko he moved to Poland. He wanted to make his dream of living a new life, in a new country, on his own rules come true. Hnat underlined that the language and culture of Poland and Ukraine are so similar. That makes the adaptation easy. And Lodz. From the perspective of a Ukrainian student, mundane things like costs of living really matter. Hnat also mentioned the attractiveness of the educational offer and social support of University of Lodz. From the perspective of an international student interested in geography and Geographical Information Systems in particular, the Faculty of Geographical Sciences at University of Lodz was the best choice.

All friends of Hnat know that he is an avid runner. We asked him about his hobby, and then realised that it is much more than a hobby. Hnat said: “I have been running for 3 years. From my perspective this is much more than just physical activity. It’s about lifestyle. (…) In these difficult times, running helps me relieve stress and explore myself for a while. And in general, I think a day without any sport activity is a day wasted.

We asked Hnat about the current situation in Ukraine. Hnat found out what happened from his friend. After that, innumerable messages began to flow in. Hnat said: “I understood everything but didn’t believe it.” At the moment, Hnat is in constant contact with his parents in Kiev. For now, their situation is very difficult. Due to the risk of air raids they often spend the nights in the basement. Hnat feels safe in Poland, but his thoughts are always with his parents.

Hnat believes that declaring war on the Ukrainian people, which values their own freedom above all else, is a great mistake of Putin. He tells the Russians directly: “This is our land and no one wants you here! We will fight to the end! (…) Dear Russian mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, do you understand that your sons, husbands, grandchildren and brothers are going to certain and senseless death?” Hnat does not hide his gratitude to the Western countries for the decisive answer. And to the Poles he says directly: “You guys are great! I have seen how many of you are involved in fundraising and helping.

We asked Hnat about any requests or suggestions to the community of the SPOT project regarding the recent situation in Ukraine. And the only thing was the truth. To tell the truth about Ukraine, the country which defends not only itself but the whole Europe, and European values. And those values are also the core values of our project.

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