Thursday 22 March 2018

'Phenomenal' asylum seeker student who achieved 615 points in her Leaving Cert faces €15,000 bill

Nadia Prochukhan and her mother Tatiana, with her Leaving Certificate.
Nadia Prochukhan and her mother Tatiana, with her Leaving Certificate.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An asylum seeker who achieved 615 points in her Leaving Cert is facing a €15,000 bill for her college year.

Nadia Prochukham (18) fled Russia with her family three years ago, to escape discrimination and torment in her country.

Even though her family is currently living on the breadline since they don’t have any status in Ireland, Nadia has proved to be an outstanding student achieving five A1s and two A2s in her exams.

She has accepted a place on her dream course, Science in Trinity College Dublin.

Meanwhile, her 77-year-old granny is currently double-jobbing in Russia to wire money to the family so that they can survive.

And the family’s local community in New Ross, Co Wexford have raised funds to enable Nadia to achieve her dream.

Principal John Michael Porter described Nadia as a “phenomenal” student who managed to stay focused despite the financial turmoil.

“She’s an excellent student. She achieved 615 points with five A1s and two A2s. It’s excellent – especially to achieve an A2 in English which is not her natural language.”

“We’re hoping that the long-complicated process in relation to her status, we’re hoping that something will have come with it soon.”

“With all of that financial insecurity, to stay focused is phenomenal.”

Nadia’s mother was a lecturer in Russian at Pushkin University in Moscow, and her father worked as an engineer.

“My Mum was writing articles against Putin and about the politics in Russia. And we suffered discrimination in Russia as well because of how we look.”

“My hair colour is dark – my father is Syrian – and there were neo-Nazi gangs on the streets which caused trouble. It was not the best experience of my life.”

“It’s always been science for me, since I was little. I will probably do research, but it’s a general course that I’m going to do, so I have to decide which area I’ll focus on.”

“Noone put pressure on me; it’s really easygoing in our house. It was hard on one side, but on the other, everyone helped me; everyone was so supportive.”

“None of my close friends are going to Trinity, but some of them are going to Dublin.”

Nadia’s sister Maria (15) has just completed her Junior Cert, and also hopes to go to university.

“I hope it will be easier for her when she wants to go.”

“I would love to stay in Ireland, compared to Russia it’s so much nicer here. People are nicer; everything is easier and people are always helping each other.”

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