On November 2, 2023, the UMass INFORMS Student Chapter hosted 4 exchange students from the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) on a panel about their experiences in UMass Amherst and their perspectives on higher education in the US and Ukraine.
This exchange was facilitated by the memorandum of agreement that Isenberg School of Management and KSE signed in March 2022 to assist students and schools impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine. 15 virtual scholars were also included as a part of this agreement. The exchange student panelists were Asta Motrenko, Iryna Horoberts, Khrystyna Burhina, and Marharyta Nechytailo, and they all major in economics and are taking various courses in mathematics, economics, etc., at UMass Amherst.
The students were surprised by a video message from KSE Rector Tymofii Brik, who congratulated them on their achievement and mentioned that they were missed back in Ukraine.
The panel was moderated by Professor Anna Nagurney as well as Professor Bogdan Prokopovych from the Management Department of Isenberg School of Management, and the students were asked a variety of questions about the differences in higher education between Ukraine and the US, their favorite memories in Amherst, and the cultural differences between their life in Kyiv and Amherst. The students appreciated the diversity of foods in the UMass dining halls but mentioned that they missed Ukrainian food.
Kalpen Trivedi, the Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Director of the International Programs Office (IPO), also joined the event. He emphasized that the partnership between the Isenberg School of Management and the Kyiv School of Economics, led by Professor Anna Nagurney, has been one of the most productive partnerships ever established by IPO.
The audience also got to engage with our panelists in a Q&A. Professor Marta Calás from the Management Department applauded the students on their dedication to Ukraine and offered to host them in her class as guests. There were also several questions about the resources UMass Amherst provided for the exchange students. The students mentioned that they had an easy transition to the US as they were picked up at the airport and provided transportation to Amherst, bedding, and other accommodations. They also touched upon the extracurricular activities they have been engaging in while at UMass.
Finally, the students expressed a desire to return to Ukraine to eventually work on the recovery and reconstruction of their country; a critical part of the partnership between KSE and UMass Amherst has been avoiding Ukraine’s brain drain from the get-go.
We would like to thank the exchange students for agreeing to participate on the panel and all the students, faculty, and staff present at the event who moderated, asked questions, participated in meaningful discussion, and made the students feel welcome and valued at UMass Amherst.
For news coverage of the event please have a look at the following links:
For more coverage like this, please keep updated on our blog posts as we continue to showcase exciting future events organized by the Chapter.