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From Social Media Analysis to Scholarly Pursuits: A Diaspora's Journey

Artem Zakharchenko, 29 August 2023


After the beginning of the full-scale war on February 24, I started, first of all, to look, at how to help our Military and civil authorities in the social media communication analysis, to be helpful for the resistance. We created a volunteering group that processes the data from social media and provide a daily analysis. But on the other hand, I understood that this data has a huge scientific value. At the beginning of the war, I didn`t have an opportunity for additional data processing: I lived with my wife and three children in the West of Ukraine and had to spend a lot of time in the basement during the air alerts. I didn`t want to flee from the war to the EU as a usual refugee as I understood that so I will not be able to work enough. So I started to look for scholarship opportunities. Lucky me, I have three children, so I was allowed to leave the country, unlike most other Ukrainian men.

There were a lot of offers, and finally, I have chosen one of them, at Bremen University, with the support of the Volkswagen foundation. My faculty adviser helped me a lot with the paperwork and then, after my departure, with settling down. The unpleasant thing was the time that the German bureaucracy need to process my application. That took almost 2 months, so I spent the worst months in Ukraine. But during that time our volunteering group became NGO CAT-UA and get granting support, so all my team started to work for money, not just me at this university.

It is a good opportunity for me now to focus on the scholarship issues, not only on the project regarding war communication – also I got time to complete the old papers that I couldn`t finish before. Scholarship payment is more or less enough for me. Of course, a family of 5 people needs a bit more money, but the ‘kindergeld’ and other German social payments help with it.

My project ends in May, so in June, I am going to come back to Ukraine. That is my choice, and I am not going to look for new opportunities to stay more in Europe, because I want to be with my country, and now it is not as dangerous for my children as it was in Spring 2022. My elder son became 18, so I will not be able to leave Ukraine again, but so it goes.