The life of a student – an international student – in Kyiv.
On 17 November, students around the globe will celebrate. Prior to the party, we here at What’s On thought it might be interesting to find out what life is like for international students here in Kyiv. After all, life here is a little different…
Me vs Them
Kyiv as a city is generally open to diversity and tolerance. The country you came from, family status, skin colour, religion: almost nothing fazes your groupmates or professors. The way you interact, communicate, take part in student initiatives are the only things that matter. Chances are you’ll celebrate traditional Ukrainian Christmas by invitation of a close groupmate in a couple of months.
Dormitory or Bust
Long lines to the bathroom and kitchen are regular. Your roommate hasn’t stopped talking on the phone for the past three hours. Another is “meditating” with Rammstein turned up. The majority of non-resident students in Kyiv universities share these dormitories – which are a little different than those in the west – with others enrolled in the programme. Be prepared to miss your own home, private shower, and your seat at the kitchen table – most university-based dorms are far from comfortable.
However, this is also the place where social life begins. Only here do you find missing lecture notes, a Halloween make-up guru, and a Windows installation pro. This is also a life-time source of the brightest and craziest memories you happily share (or not) after your studies end.
Don’t like it – Change it
You find your professor’s tone inappropriate, you don’t get along with your groupmates, or you find the school programme disappointing. It still happens from time to time, unfortunately, so try not to ignore it. Educational and legal policies provide opportunities to change your group or faculty, or take an academic “gap” year.
Need some help? Here’s a few organisations to contact for legal/admission assistance:
Study in Ukraine
Ukrainian State Centre for International Education. Visit the FAQ page at www.studyinukraine.gov.ua and find information concerning visas, the admission process, and studying.
An online media platform covering lifehacks, students’ rights, programmes, and career opportunities for both Ukrainians and foreigners. The content is only in Ukrainian so far, but Google always helps.
Kyiv is Complicated
The transport system here isn’t that complex compared to those in Barcelona or London. But searching for the right way out of Metrograd, understanding the difference between Chervonoarmiyska and Velyka Vasylkivska, and being able to gasp the mysterious schedule of local marshrutkas might be a challenge at first. Things usually get worse during peak hours, but try not to panic: ask for help and study the city on the go.
Tip: The travel guide Kyiv by Locals is an option instead of googling. Apart from the detailed description of the places to eat/stay/entertain, the manual clearly explains the city infrastructure by regions. Price: 250 UAH
It’s easy to get lost here, and it’s easy to find people who share the same interests. The city isn’t limited to Khreschatyk, although walking here late at night with a bunch of friends is fun. Kyiv is a city where anyone can join in on a community according to career preference, artistic talent, sports team, or fan-clubs. Raves and opera performances, open-air concerts and “free student entrance days” to museums, lectures and reading nights – the list of activities is endless! Kyiv is resourceful enough to offer all kinds of leisure. And celebrating International Students’ Day is no exception. Those interested in all-night parties on just such an occasion may consider:
16 November at 21.00
VDNH (Hlushkova 1)
350 – 700 UAH
Modern Jazz and Music Improvisation Fest “Am I Jazz?”
Headliner: Grammy-winning American singer Bilal
CLOSER (Nyzhnoiurkivska 31)
100 – 750 UAH
If you’re looking for a more laid-back option, here’s a few venues you might want to consider:
Activities: Jenga, Dixit, Monopoly
Prorizna 3/5, Andriivskyi Spusk 2D
Activities: Mafia, Monopoly, Table soccer, X-box
Activities: Uno, Dobble, Jenga, Crocodile, Alias, Dixit