GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Ukrainian student just got accepted into the UNC School of the Arts, all while trying to help war refugees in her country.
Uliana Klimchuk, 18, is a music student in Ukraine. She's a lot like other teenagers her age. She likes to read, sing and act.
Klimchuk was determined to learn English while living in Kyiv, then started applying to colleges in the US. It was during this process that Klimchuk said her dad had a feeling something was going to happen in Ukraine. Her father then sent the family to Varna, Bulgaria. He stayed behind with the family cat and dog.
“My dad sent me and my family - my mother and two brothers - here, so he wouldn’t worry about us. He said, 'I don’t know if something is ever going to happen. I just don’t want to worry about you. So, can you just stay there for a while and we will just see,?'” Klimchuk said.
A week later, the war began.
"The war has started, and I was like overwhelmed. I called my dad, and he yelled at me; actually, he was scared, and you can feel the tension even on the phone," she said.
Klimchuk said she felt stuck, and being over 600 miles away, she knew she had to do something to help.
She started volunteering at the Ukrainian house refugee center, providing services for anyone who needs it. She said the organization helps refugees by offering food, clothes, hygiene products, and other services.
“One day, my mom's group-mate asked me to help bring an 89-year-old woman from the border, so I myself and my friend went to the border to pick the woman up and her daughter,” Klimchuk said.
In the middle of a war on her country, Klimchuck received an email, telling her she was accepted into the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
"I read, 'Congratulations, from the University of North Carolina.' I just burst into tears. I couldn’t hold myself together," Klimchuk said.
Now she's trying to figure out how she is going to further her education at UNCSA, all while her country is under attack.
"I can’t imagine how it is to leave your life in the normal way and go to college, study, make new friends, and just leave your life. Ordinary life when there is a war in your country and people are dying," she said.
Klimchuk said her dad is still in Ukraine but is in a safe area, also volunteering.
She’s set to start classes this fall at UNCSA.