Victoria, or Vika as she prefers to be called, is a 15-year-old girl from Ukraine. She came to Cluj together with her family two years ago, when the war broke out.  “I was born and raised in the city of Dnipro. It was a big city, I loved it. Life in Dnipro was different. People were very open and ready to help.” 

“Cluj is also open and welcoming. Locals are tolerant. Some of my friends ended up in other countries and it seems the attitudes are different there.”

The start

“It was the best feeling when I came here. I was worried in the beginning, but when I relised I was in a safe place, I finally could relax. Initially I went to a Romanian school. At first, people show a great interest and tried to communicate. But gradually the interest was lost. I think because of the language barrier. They tried to communicate in English. But it was difficult. I understand it, I was new and different. At school there were not so nice moments too, but most of the children were really kind and helpful.”


“I feel safe here, but I think home means more than that. Home also means people who surround you. Because of the war I am not able to see my relatives. There are many Ukrainians here. But it doesn’t feel the same. I really want to go back. Home is where I feel confident. I want to go back to that feeling.”

Stubborn and adventurous

“I would describe myself as an adventurous person. I like to try new things and I love to meet new people. I am stubborn. If I start something, I’ll finish it.”

“At the time being, my goal is to improve my English and Romanian, so I can get better education. I am part of the society and I need to be able to communicate. The urge to integrate and improve, got me more disciplined. I really like that about myself. I feel like this is the moment for me to change things.”

“I am trying to build my life here”

“My friends and relatives remain in Ukraine. Therefore, I can never be fully happy here. But theoretically, I think, it is possible. When I was younger, I wanted to be a fashion designer. But now interior design and architecture seems more interesting to me. Maybe in a few years I will change my opinion again. But now, I focus on my life in Cluj. I am trying to build my life here.”

By Marion van Delden