Conrad Siziba moved from Western Australia to Ukraine in September of 2019, where he was eager to begin his studies to pursue a career in medicine.
The medical student never could have imagined he would survive the risks of Covid-19, only to be forced out of the country by the tragedy of war.
Conrad was among the first arrivals into Perth on Thursday, when the long-awaited quarantine travel ban finally lifted, after the state’s hard border opened.
The sweet embrace with his father Conrad Siziba Senior and mother Noma brought a close to a nail-biting journey home.
His parents were all smiles as they welcomed their son back from Ukraine.
The process home “wasn’t easy”, Mr Siziba said.
“The last few days when he was just about to come out, it was challenging,” he said.
“He was facing a huge threat,” Mrs Siziba said. “We’re excited he’s home.”
The medical student dropped his studies to flee the university town Dnipro in Eastern Ukraine – a key region named as a target by Russia.
The safety risk of the invasions meant he had to bypass Kyiv, instead making his way to Lviv.
“He was meant to fly on Thursday but that’s when they closed the flights and then he couldn’t fly,” Mr Siziba said.
Conrad joined the student exodus on packed trains through a rough Ukrainian winter. This journey of risk included a 30km walk on foot to Poland before he could make it back to home to Baldivis.
His parents were on edge as they waited during the “challenging time”, Mr Siziba said.
“Thank God for the foreign affairs department, they were really supportive,” he said.
Conrad appeared unphased by his journey upon his arrival home, simply focusing on the fact that he was home safe.
“We’re happy he’s home,” his father said, Mrs Siziba adding it’s “the best thing ever”.
This article first appeared on OverSixty.