DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A Ukrainian college student is one of just a few who made it out of the country and to the U.S. Now, he’s living in the Midstate, but his future is still uncertain.
Maksym “Max” Lyshchuk arrived in the states from Ukraine back in June. He is working to start studying at a local college, or he might have to go back.
When the war started, the 17-year-old was still asleep.
Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here.
“My grandfather, he woke me up at 6 a.m. He told me that war started,” Lyshchuk said. “I did not believe his words.”
He just had time to pack documents and some clothes before leaving with his grandfather.
“We are going to his house at the edge of the city,” Lyshchuk said.
His parents were in Kyiv at the time.
“I saw that Kyiv is bombed and I started to worry about them,” he said.
However, his parents made it out and joined the rest of the family at Lyshchuk’s grandfather’s house.
“The first two weeks, we were living mostly in the basement,” he said.
Months went by, and Lyshchuk’s family eventually moved back into their flat. Then, Lyshchuk saw an announcement from Hampton University in Virginia.
“They can accept from 50 to 100 Ukrainian students,” he said. Hampton University said they would accept students for summer school at no cost.
His family wanted him to go. Lyshchuk turns 18 at the end of August, and after that, he could be conscripted to the war effort.
“We had some missiles to our city, so it was a little scary,” he said.
Get the latest Pennsylvania politics and election news with abc27 newsletters
Lyshchuk’s mother took him to Poland first to visit the U.S. Embassy.
“June 14, I got my passport with the visa,” Lyshchuk said.
Then Lyshchuk was on his own, heading by himself to Iceland, then Baltimore and finally to Virginia.
“It was hard to say goodbye to family but I had to do that,” he said.
Lyshchuk spent a month at Hampton, which is where he met Kathy Taylor, who was on her way to South Carolina but detoured through Virginia to meet Lyshchuk.
“I wanted to help in some hands-on way,” Taylor said of the war in Ukraine.
Taylor is retired and lives in Hershey. When Lyshchuk finished summer school, she signed up to host him. However, Lyshchuk is on a student visa, so he has to be in school or return to Ukraine.
“I actually lost, I lost a night’s sleep,” Taylor said. She said she did not know what to do at first.
Taylor decided to send Lyshchuk to Lebanon Valley College. The school stepped up to help and is shouldering some of the cost, but Taylor started raising money herself. She said she and Lyshchuk were overwhelmed by the response.
“I was totally excited of people’s kindness because we got $5000 in three days and it’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe that it’s possible,” Lyshchuk said.
Lyshchuk’s family is safe in Ukraine right now. He worries, but he is trying to make the most of his time here.
He wants to learn guitar.
“I tried to play and I loved it,” he said.
He also said he wants to get a motorcycle. Lyshchuk said he used to ride motorcycles all the time in Ukraine.
“I miss motorcycles,” he said.
Still, he thinks about going back home.
“I want to do something good for Ukraine,” he said.
Taylor said there are a few ways to help. She is still collecting donations. People can also give directly to Lebanon Valley College’s Refugee Scholarship Program.