Andriy Rubtsov is a soldier, the senior officer of the combat stress control group of the 116th Separate Mechanized Brigade. In 2015, he started the Social Work bachelor’s program at the Faculty of Health Sciences of Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). After completing his bachelor’s degree, he began studies at the Non-Profit Management master’s program at the UCU Institute of Leadership and Management.

Andriy Rubtsov petting a dog

The young man today is serving in Ukraine’s Armed Forces. Together with fellow psychologists, he supports the morale of Ukrainian soldiers.

Andriy Rubtsov in a military uniform

Andriy says that civilian work with social workers and service in the army give different experiences. But at UCU he acquired the foundations which help him in his work today: “For all four years of bachelor’s studies, and then at the master’s level, we focused on the human being: we looked at personality from various perspectives – pedagogical, psychological, sociological. This foundation which was laid during my studies at UCU allowed me more easily to master new knowledge in the army and use it in practical activities with soldiers. Military psychology is different from civilian, but the human being is at the center of it all.”

Andriy Rubtsov on UCU's campus

According to Andriy, Ukrainian Catholic University offers students very many possibilities that help expand their outlook and circle of acquaintances. It is important that students study not only their main subjects but also elective disciplines: “UCU also helped me crystallize values and principles and to maintain them with dignity.”

During his bachelor’s studies at UCU, the young man received a scholarship in his third and fourth years. He says that it was this that allowed him to continue his studies: “In my fourth year of studies, I received a scholarship from the Ihnatowycz Family Fund. This helped me very much, since at that time my family did not have the finances to cover the cost of education. This gave me the opportunity to continue my studies and implement the projects in which I took part.”

After completing his studies, Andriy continued to keep in touch with classmates and professors at the university. He says that it’s wonderful to feel the support of the UCU community: “The UCU community is very pro-active and involved in supporting the Armed Forces. They don’t ignore any of my requests. None. Sometimes I ask myself: ‘What did I do to have such great people near me?’ I have to respond at an appropriate level and do good in return.”

Andriy Rubtsov

Recently, an exhibit opened at the Sheptytsky Center of Ukrainian Catholic University which Andriy and his fellow soldiers organized. It presents stories from the frontlines, in particular the specifics of social work with soldiers: “The first exhibit was held in Zaporizhzhia; now it’s in Lviv. Each visitor can hear firsthand the story of a certain soldier. People need to be heard.”

Andriy Rubtsov in front of photos from the war

Andriy is convinced that now everyone needs to unite to achieve victory. “Everyone in his place needs to repulse the enemy. Each of us is creating our country. Everything needs to be done attentively: from the country to the people and from the people to the country. It’s about responsibility. And that’s what UCU teaches: taking responsibility for one’s self, one’s acts and decisions, and for the country.”

Andriy is grateful to the university and to the benefactors who support the students. However, he says that in wartime this is not enough: “Now it’s extremely important to support Ukraine. We are in a difficult situation, so we are very much counting on the help of our western partners. A terrible war is being fought in Ukraine. Every day we face great losses. It’s important to remember to support Ukrainians in every possible way and bring the joint victory closer.”