Charity is an important asset in many societies; it enables people to give back in whatever way they can to better the lives of people in dire need. In Ukraine, volunteerism is quite essential because for the first time in several years, the help of volunteers is being more valued now more than ever. Sometimes it's easy to forget why we do what we do as medical students. We get caught up in the cyclical pressure to be the best students, have the best marks, and be perfect in everything we do. Additionally, it's difficult to balance our academic lives with our social lives and find a common ground...and as foreign students, it's at least 10 times more difficult. We all come from different countries with ecletic backgrounds and beliefs, but I believe that no matter who you are, where you're from, the language you speak, the faith you practice... You believe in good. What I mean is simply this, the world is a better place when everyone plays a role.

Where we are from, we would say something like, "every penny or dollar counts" because it's true. When we want to help a cause, whatever we can give financially, and with our talents is worth something. Students from all over the world-- the United States, various countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia have been conditioned to giving back to their community. As it is gaining ground in Ukraine, Ternopil State Medical University is no exception, for Misercordia is a major leap in a positive direction to give back to the citizens of Ternopil. Recently I had the pleasure of working with a few students from our university, both foreign and Ukrainian, and we all took a trip to meet beautiful children in need (health-wise). There was a brief concert by some of our students, and many individuals' efforts were acknowledged that afternoon. We particularly enjoyed the songs that the children sang for their peers and the effort they put into their presentation.

We medical students were thrilled to see their faces light up with so much joy as they heard traditional Ukrainian songs, and got their own Pasca (a traditional Ukrainian bread consumed during easter... Which by the way, is absolutely delicious). After the program, we were all reminded of why we left our homes and came to another country to study medicine. Whether you're a pharmacist, dentist, nurse or doctor (in whatever specialty) , your job requires leaving an impact on someone's life. This even reminded me of that. This is the first time that many of us have been able to do charity work since leaving our countries, and hopefully it won’t be the last. We foreign students encourage our fellow peers to be involved however you can, everything you do matters. It would be a shame to graduate and regret not being more involved, so why not start now?

We are students from 1st course of international student’s faculty. We have had the joy and experience of so many involvements with charitable events and volunteering opportunities. We were given a chance to help young Ukrainian students learn English, supporting children in need and volunteering our time and donating personal care items to aid others. As part of Defender’s day, we also had an opportunity to pay our respects to the soldiers of UPA who have sacrificed a lot for the freedom and safety of Ukraine. No matter where you are from, giving back always brings joy and we hope that we get many more opportunities to bring happiness to people of Ukraine, share our experiences and understand the city we live in more.