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Rich of 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 sparing of colure 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 46 million.
• The currency is called Hryvnia (UAH).
• Ukrainian is the official language.
The Ukrainian Educational System
General secondary education in Ukraine is compulsory for all children
through state schools. Since 2005 secondary schools lasts for 12 years,
starting at age six. By the end of secondary school all Ukranian 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 on a competitive basis as well as private non-funded higher education. The language of tuition is generally Ukrainian or Russian. Ukrainian Universities offer both Bachelor Degree programs of 4 years and Master Degree programs of 5-6 years. 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 student’s performance is rated, the latter is easily transferable to the 5-point-scale.
The many adventures luring all around Ukraine are well worth taking a short break from you studies. Offered to you is 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, Drag brat 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 Ukrainian rivers filled with adrenalin, leaving with an experience of a lifetime.
Trekking in Ukraine
The plain Ukrainian "steppe" accompanied by the Carpathian Mountains to the west and the Crimean Mountains to the south makes for a great trekking ground. Many companies offer costum or even guided hiking routes reaching from a day to over a week’s 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 adventure it is no 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 mountain sides. Making it well worth it is the stunning sight of the mountains rising up through the Ukrainian 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.
Architecture of Ukraine
Good examples of modern Ukrainian architecture include the reconstruction of the Maiden Nezalezhnosti in 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 a far 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.
Ukrainian Traditions & Customs
Ukrainian 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 corner table. A you may not choke 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 embroider costumes both men and women participate in the traditional dances, some fast and some slow greeting dances.
Food has a significant role in Ukrainian culture, especially on Christmas and Easter which are the two important holidays. The food made on 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 Ukrainians 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 Ukrainian dishes are: Salo (salted pork fat with garlic), Borsch (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 crème). Even though it is not even eaten but just for decoration, one must not forget to mention the traditional Ukrainian 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.