Living and Studying in Ukraine

General information

The population is over 40 million
Territory 603,700 sq. km
Borders are with Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova.
Capital Kyiv (Kiev)
The territorial divisions are 24 regions.
The State language of Ukraine is Ukrainian, while both Russian and Ukrainian language is widely spoken.

Ukraine is a president / parliamentary republic with the authority divided between The President (Head of the executive power), Verkhovna Rada (Legislative power, Parliament), and the court system. Political life is characterized by a great number of political parties. The main law is the Constitution adopted in 1997.

Review of History

First known societies that inhabited the territory of Ukraine, dated 3 century B.C. had developed agriculture. First state unions were established in the 1st century B.C. Tribal unions of Slavs of the forest-steppe area started to cultivate lands in the Dnieper river bed, one of the longest rivers of Eastern Europe, in the 1st century A.D.

By the last quarter of the 9th century, the ancient Rus state had been formed with the center in Kyiv and under the leadership of the Rurikovitch dynasty.

Between the two centuries, 10-11 Kyiv Rus experienced a great development of culture, arts, and written languages.

At the end of the 12th century, Kyiv Rus was split into many small reign areas. As a result, the process of the development of education and written language was impeded.

Further development of Ukrainian lands was connected with the history of other countries and made an influence on their culture and education. On the other hand, European traditions in education influenced the process of establishment of the first higher school in Kyiv in 1632 Collegium and Lviv University, founded in 1661. Kyiv professors were among the most respected scholars. Many of them were invited to Moscow and Zagorsk and other scientific centers of the Russian Empire.

The 19th century was marked by the establishment of several universities, that Ukrainian education took pride in. In 1805 a university in Kharkiv was founded (Eastern Ukraine), 1834 in Kyiv, and in 1865 in Odesa. The rapid development of industry, agriculture, and trade in Ukraine promoted the system of higher education. Technical and agricultural universities started to appear. Scientific researches were among priorities. The language of education was Russian.

Studying in the Ukrainian language became possible only in the twenties of the 20th century. The program of liquidation of mass illiteracy that took place in the period made education more democratic and accessible.

During the Soviet Union times, Ukraine was one of the most developed countries. Its economy demanded a great number of highly qualified specialists for the implementation of scientific researches results in the industry. These demands were met due to a big number of universities and institutes. Ukrainian scientists were the authors of new achievements in the area of air-space technologies, welding, IT, etc.

Success in Ukrainian education drew the attention of foreign students. Since 1940 Ukrainian Universities are training foreign students. Nowadays, Ukrainian graduates take not only leading positions in foreign companies including Asia, Africa, and Latin America. You can see them among state officers, doctors, engineers but many are heads of state and ministers in the governments.

The end of world confrontation and establishment of Ukraine as an independent state opened new perspectives for Ukrainian education and its integration into the academic world.

The nineties are characterized by deep changes in the national system of education. The changes in structure and content of education started as a result of the development of new marketing relations. The labor market demanded new skill standards. Management, marketing, law, financing, and computer engineering were among high priorities. At the same time as the state sector, private institutions had started to be developed.

Foreign languages such as English, German, French, Spain were the main part of the curriculum, that built favorable conditions for successful preparation for International Language exams. Ukrainian universities take an active part in the work of European educational bodies as well as the European Association of International Education. Ukraine was one of the countries that signed the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in Europe (Lisbon, 1997).

In 1999 the Parliament of Ukraine ratified the convention. Bilateral cooperation between Ukrainian and foreign universities is intensively developed. Ukrainian universities are active participants of the European Union Program TEMPUS. Nowadays, the popularity of higher education is growing.

Ukrainian System of Education

Ukrainian System of Education is Modern and well developed among European Countries. One of the most important tasks for central and local authorities is to give equal possibilities in getting the top quality education for all citizens of Ukraine. The table on page 9 represents the structure of education.

In the area of education and upbringing are involved 7% of Ukrainian professionals teach 12 million students (22% of the population).

There are 18400 institutions for pre-school preparation. According to the Constitution secondary school takes the central part of the system and is free and quite accessible. 7 mln. students attend 21900 schools. The private sector in secondary education is insignificant. Totally, there are 200 private schools (1% of all the amount of students).

The transition of secondary school from 10 (11) to 12 level system, according to European standards, is taking place now. Moreover, there is no difference in the content of Ukrainian (post-soviet) secondary education from standards of the secondary school of other European countries.

You can take vocational education in 1003 technical institutions (utchilische) on the basis of lower secondary education and upper secondary education. In the Ukrainian system of Education College of Further Education (tekhnikum) refers to the lower part of higher education.

Higher Education

Higher Education Having more than 1 million, student institutions of higher education in Ukraine form a system that considers being one of the biggest in the world. In Ukraine, you can get higher education in universities (academies, institutes) accredited on a 3-4th level. After 4 years of studying you can get a Bachelor’s degree, 5 years is for specialists, five and a half, or 6 years Masters’s Degree. Among all the enumerated degrees Specialist is the most popular.

You may become a student of a university according to the results of formal entrance exams on arrival. The academic year beginning on the 1st of September lasts up to the end of June and consists of two terms – 5 months each. All the students go on holiday between two terms: the first term (September – January) and the second one (February – June). The summer holidays last for two months. At the end of each term, the student takes 3 or 5 examinations and 3 or 5 tests. Successful pass of examinations and tests guarantees the possibility of getting to the second term. Students have classes every day but for weekends. They attend lectures, tutorials, work with materials in libraries and resource centers.

Higher education course includes the workplace when students have the possibility to gain experience. Recognition of qualifications gained is the priority of the state. In case of successful graduation of university students get the

Diploma no matter what form of property it refers to. The transcript of the subject list with marks is attached to the Diploma. Although the state guarantees conformity to standards of qualification, the employer takes into consideration how authoritative the university is. Today, you can study at 313 universities, academies, and institutes of Ukraine of the 3-4th level of accreditation. Among them, there are 220 state institutions, 93- non-state. 54,9 % of state university students get free education.

International Students

International students get their higher education in universities, academies, and institutes that are not only accredited but also have a special license to teach foreign students. All the universities from this Guide possess the license. The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine controls the quality of educational services done to foreign students.

International students start their studies directly into their main majors in English or with a foundation year which includes a course of Ukrainian or Russian language and some of the comprehensive subjects according to the direction of their future education.

AccommodationInternational students live in university hostels. There are various types of hostels. It is also possible to live with Ukrainian families or to rent a flat.

Currency– National currency is Hryvnia (UAH). 1 USD = 28.30 Hryvnia (20/10/2020)
You can change foreign currency in banks, kiosks, in the international airport. In the airport, the currency rate is the same as in other places.
Payment for purchasing and services is done in hryvnias.

You can use credit cards for international payment systems. They can be used in many of the shops, hotels, transport companies, clubs, and restaurants. In cities, the net of exchange machines is well developed including the most popular among students that of Privat Bank, Ukrsib Bank, and AVAL bank. These banks are often used to open the account for international students.

In these Banks, you can save money both in foreign currency and Ukrainian hryvnia. The branches of these banks are situated in all regions of the country. It makes it easier to transfer money through Western Union, Money Gram, and much more local money transfer systems.


Communications– KyivstarMTCLifecell are the most popular mobile connections.

Most of the universities provide access to the Free Internet for their students. There is also a lot of Internet cafes.
You can use the services of fast mail, represented by DHL, FedEx, ARAMEX, TNT, UPS, and other companies.

Medical Service– Most of the State Universities provide free medical services in students’ hospitals. Students can also go to state and private hospitals, where medical service is to be paid. The service of the ambulance is free.

Climate– Climate is mostly continental. The average temperature in January is -5 – 1C, in November +10C, in July +30-35C.

Transport The international airport of Borispol is the air gate of the country, 36 km from Kyiv. To get from the airport to Kyiv you can take a taxi, a shuttle bus, bus. You can also order pick-up service at the university.

Besides Borispol airport, you can take international flights from Odesa, Dnipro, Kherson, Kharkiv, and Lviv. International railway connections are with Bulgaria, Czech, Slovak, Germany, and Poland. International bus routes are from Poland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany by ship you can get from Turkey.

Ukraine has a well-developed transportation system. So there will be no problems getting to any part of the country. You can travel all over the country by train or bus. The fare for a distance of 500 km is about US$12-15. Tickets on the train you can buy in advance either at the railway station or in the city. On the day of departure, a ticket can be bought at the station only.

For air travel within the country, you can buy tickets from the local companies. Flight cost at a distance of 500 km is about US$30. Local transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams, taxis. The fare is US$0.15. You can buy tickets from the conductor or in yellow kiosks at stops. The fare for taxi is $US1.5 + US$0.50 per 1 km.

In Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro you can take SUBWAY, paying at the entrance a ticket of US$0.20 (without the time and destination limits).
During the warm period, water transport is quite comfortable: on the Dnieper river or by the Black Sea.

Electricity– Electricity is very cheap in all University hostels in Ukraine. The standard electrical currency throughout Ukraine is 220 volts.
Some outlets operate on 127 volts, but these are very rare. You may need a converter as well as an Eastern European plug adapter if you are bringing electrical appliances. You should be aware that there are frequent power surges and other irregularities in the electrical supply. You may want to consider bringing a surge protector.

Food– Ukraine is a big agricultural country with different cooking traditions.
Different food can be bought in shops, supermarkets, agricultural markets. Cafeterias, restaurants, and fast-food restaurants propose different cuisine. European, Indian, Pakistani, Asian, Georgian, and African mess is available.