The new guy on campus

Expat partner Dmytro Kryshchenko has started a course in European Studies at Comenius University in Bratislava, an experience that he’s been relishing, even if he’s raising the average age.

‘Why are you here?’

“It’s definitely been a fun experience, being a student again, walking around campus and attending lectures. My classmates are the same age as my eldest daughter. The university president is younger than me. Perhaps it’s not a surprise that some lecturers wondered who I was and why I was there!” says Dmytro, a Ukrainian father of three and previously a full-time advisor to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol (he continues to serve the municipality as a consultant).

A truly interactive experience

“Being on campus is definitely my preference. I wouldn’t have been as motivated if it were online. In fact, I might have had second thoughts and changed my plans altogether. I want to experience the place – not just the university but the city, the people, the culture. It’s been very interesting to chat with the other students and hear their views and thoughts on history and current events,” says Dmytro. “As I’m still working as a consultant, I believe my studies – and being here in Bratislava – will give me new perspectives on my work. It’s a really interesting city. And given its geographic location it feels like we’re at the centre of everything here.”

Study buddies at home

“In the evening, I sometimes study alongside my younger kids (aged 15 and 8) as they do their homework. I will mostly focus on my university course this year and plan to add intensive Slovakian next year. I want to be able to discover the culture at a deeper level and so speaking the language will be key to that,” says Dmytro.

A man of many hats

“Generally speaking, I’m enjoying being an expat partner. I get to wear a few different hats. I’m studying and working but also getting to spend more time around my family,” says Dmytro, whose past career experiences also include more than 20 years with the World Bank Group. “Moving to Bratislava for my wife’s career has created new opportunities for me. I appreciate Global Connection’s help, explaining the scope of the support on offer, and encouraging me. When I shared my plan with my consultant Ines Ahrens, it was reassuring to know it’s not a crazy idea to go back to university!”

Photo: Dmytro with ‘study buddies’… two of his daughters