Traditions of the international education at the National University of Pharmacy

The older generation surely remembers those distant 60-ies, when unusual passers-by first appeared in the streets of our city. They immediately attracted everyone’s attention, surprised everyone and made hospitable Kharkiv citizens smile friendly. Everything they had:skin color, eye shape, manners, clothes, etc., – was completely unusual for the people of our region. These were the first students that came to the great and powerful Soviet Union from seemingly extremely distant continents: Asia, Africa, Latin America. Our country, having been the first to visit space, to disintegrate atom,  to discover life-savinganti-infective medications, the country with deep spiritual and cultural traditions, undoubtedly and naturally has become the country, where the citizens of developing countries (and not only of developing countries) choose to receive their education.
A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then, much has changed in the geopolitical structure of the modern world, but the fundamentality and quality of our education make Ukraine the country that is able to compete decently on the world educational market.
Apart from the above mentioned fundamentality and quality of education, our country is attractive in many components, the significance of which can hardly be overestimated: peaceful, friendly, hard-working people, unique climatic conditions, giving the opportunity to admire all seasons in their beauty; we are welcoming,hospitableand tolerant; nationalism and racial discrimination are alien to the real Ukrainian. And it’s not a secret that the safety of living in the country is the basis for making decision for parents, considering sending abroad to study the most precious thing they have – their child. We, the Ukrainians, don’t have such phenomena as xenophobia and skinheads, which, unfortunately happen in menacing proportions in our close in spirit and traditions neighboring country –Russia, which also has high educational potential.
Speaking about Ukraine in general, we, the citizens of Kharkiv, are proud of the fact that our city is not only the first capital of Ukraine, but also is the capital of the international education of our country. The record number of foreign citizens is studying here – nearly 17000, and this number is increasing every year. Our city is really international, and we have become so used to “the children of different nations”, that already can’t imagine our life without this ethnic diversity.
By an unconditional right Kharkiv is recognized as one more “capital” – the capital of Ukrainian pharmacy. More than 10 major pharmaceutical manufacturers, developed pharmacy chain, the State Scientific Center of Medicines, the Pharmacopoeial Committee, developed network of drug quality control laboratories, Center for Drug Bioequivalence Studies–all this guards the healthcare not only of citizens of our region, but also of the country in general.
Yet the main and uncompromising argument that allows declaring Kharkiv the capital of Ukrainian pharmacy is the existence of the powerful educational centre – the National University of Pharmacy – the pearl of the European pharmaceutical education.
17 500 students, 2500 employees, 16 specialities for the pharmaceutical industry – these figures speak for themselves and don’t need further explanations. But so far as the international education is concerned, I shall enlarge upon this aspect of the life of our university.
Training the citizens of foreign countries at NUPhstarted in 1965, and has been successfully continuing today. The National University of Pharmacy has gained great experience of training highly-qualified pharmacy specialists for European countries (including the EU countries), Asia, Africa, North and South America. By now NUPh has trained more than 5 thousand specialists from 82 countries and this is a significant layer on the scale of the world practical pharmacy.
It is remarkable that the whole pharmaceutical dynasties that in different years have obtained the master’s degree at our university are successfully working in various countries. Such dynasties exist in Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Congo, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Ghana, Vietnam, Israel, etc. Our graduates are successful; many of them are holding executive positions in the Ministries of Healthcare and education, pharmaceutical associations, large pharmaceutical companies in their countries.
Why is the National University of Pharmacy so attractive?
Certainly, first of all it is recognition of the high level of our education by the world pharmaceutical society. NUPh diplomas are successfullyconfirmed abroad and our graduates receive the right to work not only in their native countries, but also in developed countries of Europe and America, in particular in France, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Canada, USA. Every country surely has its own legislative requirements for graduates of foreign universities, meeting which is a passport to practical activity. As a rule, it is a national examination (colloquium) or internship, required to study the peculiarities of pharmaceutical practice of the country (legislation, insurance medicine and pharmacy etc.). We don’t know any cases when our former students fail to confirm their diplomas.
How is such result achieved? Let me refer to the dry but eloquent figures. Our students are being taught by 750 academic teaching employees, including 1 corresponding member of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine – NUPh rector, Professor ValentynPetrovichChernykh; 14 members of branch academies; 101 doctors of science, professors; 506 PhDs; 23 honored workers of science and technology of Ukraine. 95% of the academic staff of the university are Doctors of sciences and PhDs. For more than 200 years NUPh has been developing its human resourcesand it certainly has become the basis for all the achievements of our university.

But “man does not live by bread alone” and the student does not live by study alone. Social package with which the university provides students is as well of great importance,in particular, when we are speaking about an international student. Living conditions; high quality affordable catering;opportunities to engage in sport activities, to fulfill oneself in creative work – all these constituents of the full student life are provided by NUPh.
Every academic building has a “student restaurant” – this is how the NUPh rector V.P. Chernykh calls the student canteens. And one has to agree with this. Perfect interior, diversified menu with due account for international peculiarities, at a symbolic price establishedby the University (proper meal of 4 courses costs nearly 12-15 UAH)
It would be fair to mention that international students take part in sports activities more willingly than Ukrainians. Equipped gyms, tennis courts, football pitches, various sports clubs make it possible for everyone to keep fit and healthy. In the NUPh Cultural Centre students can fulfill all their creative talents: national dances and songs, Club of the Funny and Inventive, student theatre.
Very significant for a student – foreign citizen – is the question of safe stay and residence. Alongside with generally safe atmosphere, unfortunately, there are cases of “heightened attention” to the international students from the unfair employees of the law enforcement authorities. The university overlookssuch cases, keeping constant working connections with executives of the internal affairs authorities.
We are deeply grateful to the headof the Kyivskiy District Department of Internal Affairs, Colonel Ilchenko Yuriy Mikhailovich for being a frequent guest at our university, taking part in our meetings with international students and giving legal advice, advice on safety and legislation of Ukraine.
For an international student, it is impossible to underestimate the significance of being sure that he is under protection of the administrations of law enforcement authorities, under protection of the University, under protectionof the rector.
At the end of March of the current year such a meeting of our students with the rector, administration of Kyivskiy District Department of Internal Affairs, Patrol-Guard Service, the Security Service of Ukraine, representatives of the city administration was held. The meeting had a positive result and demonstrated that the problems of international students in our city are known and dealt with.
I would like to underline one more heart-warming tradition of our University – a tradition of communication. Visiting foreign countries, talking to the students of local high educational establishments, I notice the great distance between the rector and the student. Often the student sees his rector twice during the entire period of education: at the student admission ceremony and at the graduation ceremony. At our University students have the unique opportunity to meet their rector periodically, the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers to every question they are concerned about.
Quite recently a traditional rector’s reception for international first year and preparatory department students has taken place. It was an unforgettable dayin the lives of everyone present there. The NUPh rector Valentyn Petrovich Chernykh has congratulated the students on having chosen the great and noble profession – the profession of a pharmacist, wished the students outstanding academic achievements, comfortable stay within the walls of NUPh, peace in their native countries, peace in their homes.The audience met with exceptional warmth the words of Valentyn Petrovich, addressing parents of the international students, who have trusted the University to teach their children. Theaudiencerose to cheer their rector with long applause. And then there were questions, answers, discussions, and certainly, the international concert, which culminated in the performance of the ‘anthem” to the peace and kindness “Sunny circle – the sky all around”.
We really are powerful in our traditions – and this means we do have the future.
The international education is by all means the image of the country. But this also is a powerful investment program that helps the higher educational establishment keep the working places and develop. Already 10 years ago, giving his speech at the collegiumof the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine, the NUPh rector V.P. Chernykh gave astonishing figures that show the contribution that the education of the foreign citizens makes to the University budget, budget of the city and of the country in general.
We are very glad that the current administration of the region and of the city hasbeen paying serious attention to the significance for our region of such an important direction of educational activityas educating foreign citizens, ensuring their safe stay and improving the living conditions.
We won’t lose our leading position. Kharkiv has always been, is and will be the leader in science and education of our country, including the international education, and the National University of Pharmacy – a stronghold of pharmaceutical science, practice and enlightenment.