Rich culture and history, with amazing architectural sites and a landscape ideal for trekking, Ukraine is a wonderful place to spend your abroad studies. You will receive a real high-quality education supported by the fact that Ukraine actually produces the fourth largest number of post-secondary graduates in Europe.
Ukraine welcomes you to a country spring of culture and gastronomic specialties, Quality Higher Education and postgraduate studies alongside skiing slopes, wild rivers, vast mountains and great plains of colored by golden grass. Combining your education with the adventures of a lifetime, Ukraine will give you experiences to remember for a very long time.
Ukraine Quick Facts:
- Ukraine is situated in Eastern Europe.
- It is the 44th largest country in the world.
- The capital of Ukraine is Kiev (Kyiv).
- Ukraine has a total population of over 40 million.
- The currency is called Hryvnia (UAH).
- Ukranian is the official language.
The Ukranian Educational System:
General secondary education in Ukraine is compulsory for all children through state schools. Since 2005 secondary schools last for 12 years, starting often at the age of six. By the end of secondary school all Ukranian National Students take IGT´s (Independent Government Tests), these are then used to apply for a higher education program or course at a university or such.
Higher Education in Ukraine:
Free, state-funded higher education is provided to Ukranian National Students on a competitive basis as well as private non-funded higher education. The language of tuition is generally Ukrainian or Russian (For Ukrainian National Students)
Ukrainian Universities offer both Bachelor Degree programs of 4 years and Master Degree programs of 5-6 years (4 years at bachelors + 1.5 or 2 years at Masters). These degrees are both taught and awarded in accordance with the Bologna process, in which Ukraine is taking part.
The grading scale used in Ukrainian universities reaches from 1-5, 5 meaning "excellent" and 1-2 meaning "unacceptable", hence a failing grade. This 5-point scale is used along with a scale from 1-100 in which a students performance is rated, the latter is easily transferable to the 5-point-scale.
Postgraduate Studies in Ukraine
In entering Postgraduate studies there are two levels. The Kandidat Nauk is the first one, roughly equivalent to a Ph.D. degree, to achieve it students must pass three qualifying exams, publish at least three scientific articles and write a dissertation and defend it.
The second level is the Doctor Nauk degree achieved after studying for a further 2-4 years with good results in scientific research and publishings. The average time though between obtaining Kandidat or Doctor degrees is around 10 years and most Doctors are over 40 years of age.
Many adventures luring all around Ukraine are well worth taking a short break from your studies. Ukraine offers you everything from skiing and river rafting to cave exploration and mountain trekking.
Skiing in Ukraine is fairly inexpensive and there are various runs steeps to choose from in the popular ski resorts of Bukovel, Dragobrat, and Slavsko. if you are an experienced skier looking for something extra you can simply not miss out on the chance of an organized skiing tour or camp. These tours are similar to hiking trips taking you to some of the best skiing sites in Ukraine, places you would never have found without a guide.
Rafting is another adventurous sport highly appreciated in Ukraine. The most well-known river is South Bug River, known all over the world for its excellent rapids and stunning beauty. Sitting on the side of an inflatable raft you will swish through the Ukranian rivers filled with adrenalin, leaving with an experience of a lifetime. Pervomaisk city, in Mykolaiv district, offers rafting at a very affordable price and you find very stunning natural sightseeing near the river South Bug.
Trekking in Ukraine:
The plain Ukranian "steppe" accompanied by the Carpathian Mountains to the west and the Crimean Mountains to the south makes for a great trekking ground. The tourist companies offer custom or even guided hiking routes reaching from a day to over a weeks time, these might be a good idea if you are totally new to Ukraine and want to go directly to the greatest spots.
However, if you are really keen on an adventure it isn't a problem getting out on your own, just don't expect any luxury treatment or resort-like facilities on your way. Rather you can most likely expect to camp during overnight hikes or if you are lucky, you will find space in one of the log cabins that dot the mountainsides. Making it well worth it is the stunning sight of the mountains rising up through the Ukranian clouds.
Aside from the stunning landscape, you will most certainly come across a wide range of wildlife and maybe even stumble across a few rural villages. The best seasons for trekking in Ukraine are May-June and September-October, it will be a real-life adventure that you will never forget.
If river rafting, skiing, and trekking is not your cup of tea, Ukraine also offers paragliding, horseback riding and rock-climbing, and much more, whatever suits your needs.
The architecture of Ukraine:
Good examples of modern Ukrainian architecture include the reconstruction of the Maidan Nezalezhnosti in the central Kiev, despite the limit set by narrow space within the plaza, the engineers were able to blend together the uneven landscape and also use underground space to set a new shopping center. Marking it from afar, is the Monument of Independence on a high white pole in the middle of the square.
Another one is the major project that will take up most of the 21st century, the construction of the Kiev City-Centre on the Rybalskyi Peninsula. When it is finished it will include a dense skyscraper park amid the picturesque landscape of the Dnieper.
Ukranian Traditions & Customs
Ukranian culture, in general, is to a large extent based on Christian customs and has over time been heavily influenced by Russia. Ukrainians are generally very polite; Men hold the door open for a woman and stands up when she enters a room. If you are a woman reaching one of the more rural areas of Ukraine you might even experience the traditional kiss on your hand. If you aim to meet these high standards of politeness, here are some things to remember: Always buy an odd number of flowers as a gift unless it is a funeral, in which case an even number is more appropriate. A young unmarried man and woman should never be seated at a table corner. You may not shake hands when standing at a threshold.
The strong traditions of Ukraine also include dancing; More specifically the Kalyna and other regional dance styles. Dressed in colorful embroidered costumes both men and women participate in the traditional dances, some fast and some slow greeting dances.
Food has a significant role in Ukranian culture, especially on Christmas and Easter which are the two important holidays. The food made at Christmas and Easter is not made at any other time of the year. At Christmas, a twelve-course meal is served and dinner is never quiet but a lively social affair.
The average Ukrainian diet includes fish, cheeses and a variety of sausages like the "Kolbasa". Bread is always an important part of the meal. Some of the best known Ukranian dishes are: Salo (salted pork fat with garlic), Borshch (a cabbage and tomatoes based soup, usually with beets and beef or pork meat), Holubtsi (cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and meat usually), Varenyky (large stuffed dumplings, filled with meat or fruit or curds), Pampushky (small baked breads, often with garlic), Okroshka (cold vegetable-based soup where liquid is mixed with sour creme).
Even though it is not even eaten but just for decoration, one must not forget to mention the traditional Ukranian Easter egg; "pysanky". This particular egg has long roots in the country, dyed in various patterns and used as a decoration in the middle of the table during Easter. In 2000, the museum of Pysanka was built in the city of Kolomya, a place well worth a visit during your time in Ukraine.