Ukrainian woman who made Donegal her home graduates

A UKRAINIAN woman who was living in Donegal for two years made an epic three-day journey from her home country to attend her graduation.

Anna Konovalenko has been living in Buncrana since 2022 but secured a place in University of the West of Scotland to finish her degree in journalism there.

After finishing her studies, Anna returned to Kyiv, and was initially unsure, due to the war, if she’d be able to return to Scotland for her graduation.


Anna did get the opportunity to join hundreds of other students at Paisley Abbey for the summer graduation ceremonies recently. But, due to the ongoing war in her country, no flights leave the country –meaning the 21-year-old had to travel to the border with Poland by car.

Anna told Scottish-based newspaper, The Herald: “It was not an easy journey. Even getting to the border under these circumstances is difficult. Less than 24-hours before the ceremony, I was trapped at the border and had no idea if I’d even make it.

“The University said I could graduate at any ceremony which I am very grateful for – but it means a lot to me to graduate alongside classmates who have become lifelong friends, and supported me during this difficult time.”

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Anna had been living in Kyiv – her family then moved to a small town in the west of the country.

Although Anna really wanted to stay in Ukraine, it became impossible as the situation escalated. She moved to Donegal, before seeking opportunities to study abroad.

This brought her to University of the West of Scotland, where she, aptly, opted to study a BA in Journalism, determined to document stories from across her home nation during war time, ensuring that they do not go untold.

“I knew that if I left the country, I wanted to do something useful – something that supported those defending the country. This is why I decided to pursue a career in journalism,” she told The Herald.


“I was always aware that journalism was important, but the invasion of Ukraine highlighted that it was essential – not only in highlighting acts of bravery, but in ensuring the war remains in the public consciousness.

Anna said it was important to her to highlight what women have done to ensure economic growth in Ukraine during the war, and how the conflict has impacted education and the environment.

She said she does not want Ukraine to be defined by the war.

“Amazing things are still happening in the country every day. We have, for example, a vibrant arts sector and world class IT sector which have both continued to thrive.”

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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