In the 2022 fall school season, Kettering College reported it will welcome up to 50 sponsored students, mostly from Ukraine. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC) created an “Education Emergency Plan” in March 2022 and asked Adventist colleges and universities in North America to help support students whose education has been disrupted.
Kettering College president Nate Brandstater thought bringing students to the college to continue their education would be an action that could help tremendously. He reached out to leaders at the school and Kettering Health because, as he explained, “We do things here as a family. I wanted to make sure bringing Ukrainian students here was something we could wrap our arms around together.”
The Euro-Asia Division (ESD) of Seventh-day Adventists works to implement education across the 12 countries in its territory, with 79 schools and 40 more in the planning process. In a special meeting with Kettering leaders, ESD education director Ivan Riapolov gave an overview of the impact the organization has on students whose education has been disrupted or is unavailable in several countries for various reasons.
Riapolov thanked Kettering College for accepting 50 students from the ESD program. “Whenever we talk about what can be done for Ukrainian students and refugees, Kettering College has done what no one else has, and others look up to you.”
Brandstater thanked Riapolov for speaking to the group. “This is one step on an amazing journey where we feel like we are going to be the ones who are blessed from our relationship as we deepen it,” Brandstater said. “We are looking forward to what God will do through this friendship.”
Most of the Ukrainian students will be studying nursing this fall. The ESD has worked with the incoming students to ensure their English skills are sufficient to succeed in an all-English college and that they are serious about their studies and intentions.
“There are going to be challenges, no question about it,” Brandstater said, “but the challenges we’ll encounter with this initiative will be an incredible blessing to this group of students and to our community.”
Several of the Ukrainian students have reached out to Kettering College to express their excitement and gratitude about the chance to continue their studies.
“It’s an opportunity to look at the world from a different angle, new people, new thoughts, new opportunities,” one Ukrainian student said. “It’s a chance for a new life.”
The original version of this story was posted on the Columbia Union Conference news site.