If you are up for an adventure in a not often traveled country of Eastern Europe, then studying abroad in Ukraine can prove to be a fun and life changing experience. Ukraine is Europe’s largest country by landmass and contains everything from vast woodlands to sprawling mountains to thriving cities and ports. With a fascinating history and diverse demographic of Slavic peoples and cultures, study abroad programs in Ukraine will prove to be highly enriching experiences for those who are ambitious enough to make the leap.
Kiev is the country’s capital and largest city with around 3 million inhabitants. It is also an important hub of education, culture, and innovation throughout all of Eastern Europe. With a fascinating and tumultuous history that spans all the way until before medieval times and has culminated most recently with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kiev has always maintained a spirit of resilience and hard work which is very much alive in its streets today.
Other popular locations for study abroad in Ukraine include Kharkiv, Lviv, and Odessa. Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second largest city and has long been a scientific and industrial center of the country. Being in the eastern part of Ukraine, it is influenced by many elements of Russian culture as well. Lviv is known largely for its architectural beauty and historical significance, having survived both Soviet and Nazi occupation while continuing to thrive as a cultural hub of the region. Odessa is an important seaport with much of its history also grounded in the Russian empire.
It is important, when choosing where to study in Ukraine, that you stay updated on the safety of the country for foreign travellers. There has been much political unrest and violence in Ukraine throughout recent years as it struggles between its Russian and European identities, so make sure the location you are interested in is safe and secure.
Subjects & Courses
Ukraine has a large and thriving university system which graduates the fourth largest number of students in Europe every year. Many of the country’s institutes of higher education were founded during the Soviet era, although quite a few private universities have also sprouted up in the decades since.
Most schools utilize Ukrainian as the language of instruction, so if you plan to study in Ukraine at one of the national universities then you may want to include language studies in your academic plan. There are also international schools and opportunities to study abroad in Ukraine which have their own academic institutions in-country, so if you do not plan on learning the language then it would be best perhaps to apply to one of these English speaking alternatives.
Ukraine has a rich and fascinating history which makes it an intriguing place to study European Affairs, Slavic History, Russian Language and Literature, or anything with such regional ties. It is also a leader of Eastern Europe in many areas of research and scientific development, so if you are interested in studying such fields as Engineering, Information Technology, or Medicine, then you will also find no shortage of opportunity at Ukrainian universities.
Study abroad programs in Ukraine typically offer summer, semester-long, or full year programs. If you are planning on studying in Ukraine for a short period of time then it might be wise to err on the side of warm weather - winters can be quite cold the further inland you go!
Scholarships & Costs
Ukraine’s economy took a large hit when the Soviet Union collapsed, and again during the recession of 2008. With the economy underperforming, costs of living in Ukraine are typically cheaper than in most other European countries, especially those in the West. Many of the expenses you will incur while studying in Ukraine will thus be paid directly through program fees (for such commodities as housing, tuition, some meals, etc.). Many schools will rollover your financial aid to help in covering the costs of studying abroad too, and there are also a large amount of scholarships available from outside institutions.
Accommodations & Visas
Many Ukrainian universities offer on campus housing to foreign students, which is a great way to fully immerse yourself in the student population. Individuals who study in Ukraine usually have the opportunity to opt for individual living arrangements in off campus housing or the chance to live in a homestay. Housing comes down to individual preference, so do some research with your program and decide which option feels right for you.
You will need a student visa to study abroad in Ukraine, so communicate with your program provider or host university about the best way to go about obtaining this. Typically you will want to begin this process early on and it may require the endorsement of your local school or academic institution.
Benefits & Challenges
Ukraine is an extremely interesting country with an infusion of Eastern and Western European influences. Whether you are in a big city or small college town, you will find it an exciting and fascinating place to be living and learning as a young student abroad. It may seem like a daunting challenge to uproot and move halfway across the world to a faraway country, but the benefits of studying abroad in Ukraine are truly intangible. While you study In Ukraine you will come to intimately explore a much different culture and perspective, and find yourself wiser and more willing to strive for new experiences because of it.