Our Story

BHSU’s story is, like many Ukrainian stories, one of resilience and unity.

BHSU was formed in March 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is the joint effort of Business Link, a Ukrainian educational agency, and Living Learning English, a language training school.

Business Link is run by Valeria and Tatiana Samborskaya. It has over 25 years experience working with British educational institutions and securing visas for Ukrainians to study in the UK. Before the outbreak of war, Business Link was based in Kyiv and enabled up to 500 students each year to learn in British boarding schools, universities, and language schools.

Living Learning English is a Bristol-based company offering foreign students English language training in the UK. Founded in 1995 by Kate Hargreaves, LLE specialises in one-to-one courses and homestay experiences, giving students the chance to fully immerse themselves in British life as they study.

A personal journey

BHSU came about following our co-founders Valeria and Tatiana’s own journey to the UK. When Russian bombs began to fall on Kyiv, they were forced to leave their home and country to find safety. Travelling through Poland and Italy, they arrived in the UK in May 2022. As they set about rebuilding their own lives in a new country, they wanted to create networks between the UK and Ukraine that would help others to do the same.

Kate was a huge support in helping Valeria and Tatiana connect with sponsors to help them reach the UK and settle into life here. Together they began BHSU, combining the expertise of Business Link and Living Learning English, and creating a network of opportunities to allow Ukrainians to thrive in their new lives in the UK.

Life since the outbreak of war

So much has changed for Valeria and Tatiana since their home was invaded. During this time, they have worked to express solidarity with their fellow Ukrainians and make the world aware of the ongoing challenges they face. 

Shortly after leaving Kyiv, Valeria told The Pie News about what it was like to wake to the sound of explosions and flee the city. You can read more about her story here.

In October 2022, Tatiana and Valeria were among 15 Ukrainians invited to accept the Spirit of Freedom award at the Pride of Britain award ceremony on behalf of their nation. Read more about the evening here.