Concordia offering college classes to Ukrainian students for free amid war

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MEQUON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As we continue to hear terrifying stories of what's happening in Ukraine, we're also hearing stories of those here locally helping people.

Concordia University Wisconsin is offering free college courses for Ukrainian students at their sister school.

University officials said the partnership with their sister school is to help the students there struggling with the Russian invasion get an education to prepare them for an uncertain future.

Concordia University Wisconsin students, quietly studying for finals this week, is a very different picture than what their peers across the Atlantic in Ukraine faced this semester.

"In the first week... a rocket hit very near me and the explosion was like massive," said Yaroslav Zharikov, a freshman student.

Yaroslav Zharikov is one of 20 students taking free online business courses amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"It was hard to do the assignments in my university, like mentally hard," said Zharikov. "Like you can hear the bombings, and I literally can see rockets launching out of my window."

Zharikov said regardless of the difficulties, it's an opportunity he's thankful to have.

"Thankful that the schools are working and giving these opportunities," said Zharikov.

Concordia School of Business Dean Matthew Hurtienne said, planning for this grew out of an existing partnership between their and Ukrainian-American Concordia University's business department.

"So when the invasion occurred, that created a natural communication pathway," said Hurtienne.

It developed into an asynchronous, not requiring students to go at the same pace, class that students could take online -- even if they had to flee the Ukraine.

"Our major objective was to take a look at keeping students on track, helping to provide a focus and a future for them," said Hurtienne.

Zharikov says he's looking forward to the future.

"I certainly hope that the war will be over," said Zharikov.

He said he hopes he might even be able to visit America to meet the professors that made this possible.

Hurtienne said it would be an honor to get to meet with Zharikov and other students.

"[To] celebrate your academic achievements," said Hurtienne.

Condordia's sister school was founded in Ukraine in 1997.

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