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Anastasiia Lapatina knows that war correspondent is not a typical side hustle for a student.

Right now, she ought to be thinking about which fourth-year courses to take. Maybe talking with friends about her latest date. Whatever it is that 20-year-olds do, she isn’t that sure anymore.

“I probably shouldn’t be doing this,” she admits. “No one in their twenties should be covering the exhumation of a mass grave near their hometown. It’s not normal. I don’t deserve it.

“None of us deserve it.”

Lapatina is a journalist who writes for The Kyiv Independent. She has spent the last four months covering Russia’s invasion of her homeland, Ukraine, while studying political science full-time.

Like all UBC students, Lapatina had to pack up and leave campus in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. It was the end of her first year at UBC Okanagan. She flew home to her mother in Ukraine, unsure about what lay ahead.

She knew she wanted to write, though. As an English-speaking Ukrainian, she was able to secure an internship at The Kyiv Post, the long-time English-language newspaper of the Ukrainian capital. That became an ongoing part-time job while she was studying remotely during the pandemic year.

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