Sunday, 29 May 2022

Cambridge University fresher to take exams remotely from Ukraine

Cambridge University fresher who went back home to Ukraine to join the fight against Putin’s invasion reveals he will study and take exams remotely

  • A Cambridge University fresher who joined the Ukraine army has said he will study and even take exams remotely while serving in the war-torn country.
  • Nikolai Nizalov, 19, recently drove to his home country to work mainly as a medic
  • The natural sciences undergrad played a varsity water polo match against Oxford University days before heading to Ukraine to receive his rifle 
  • He had vowed to stay in Ukraine ‘until we win’ as the war with Putin drags on

Cambridge University fresher who joined the Ukraine army says he will study – and even take exams – remotely from the war-torn country.

Nikolai Nizalov, 19, drove to his home country two weeks ago to join a nine-man volunteer platoon, in which he’ll work primarily as a medic.

And the studious natural sciences undergrad says he’ll still watch lectures and even hopes to take an exam remotely, when term starts again next month.

Nikolai, who moved from Ukraine to the UK in 2013, has vowed to stay in the country ‘until we win’.


A Cambridge University fresher who has joined a military unit in Ukraine says he will study and even take an exam remotely while serving in the war-torn country. He is pictured (left) at the University of Cambridge, and again (right) in military gear after heading to Ukraine.

He said: ‘I’ve brought my lectures with me that I need to watch. I’ll try to keep up with them with the little spare time I have.

‘I might sit my exam in May remotely.

‘Ideally I’ll come back for second year in October but I’m not going to leave until we win.

‘Even if I don’t get a great mark this year I can apply for special permission to get into next year.’

Nikolai’s platoon is made up of Ukrainian volunteers aged up to their 30s, some of whom have military experience.

The unit is due to travel towards Kyiv next week and the student will be given a rifle for his own protection – despite having no combat experience.

Nikolai, who moved from Ukraine to the UK in 2013, has vowed to stay in the country ‘until we win’.

Nikolai, who played a varsity water polo match against Oxford University days before driving to Ukraine, said: ‘I feel much calmer here.

‘When I was in Cambridge it was weird because my country was at war and people were going on with their normal lives.

‘I have friends on the frontlines and I wouldn’t be able to look them in the eye if I didn’t help out.

‘In Ukraine we are all together and I feel much more at peace.

‘My parents obviously didn’t want me to go but they understood why I wanted to – and I didn’t give them much choice.’

Nikolai, who is originally from Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, is currently living at a friend’s house in the western city of Lviv.

The natural sciences undergrad says he’ll still watch lectures and even hopes to take an exam remotely next month.

He said that he took an intensive medical course in the city to prepare him to work as a medic and head closer to the frontlines from next week.

The undergrad also plans to operate a drone that will drop humanitarian supplies such as medication to people who can’t be reached due to Russian military positions.

Nikolai is fundraising to support his volunteer unit and says he has already raised enough to buy two 4×4 vehicles that will be used to transport the platoon.

Nikolai’s fundraising page is here: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/NNizalov 

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