Ukraine is the country, situated in Central-Eastern Europe. Not everyone knows that geographical center of Europe is situated in the village of Dilove near Rakhiv, in Western Ukraine. Ukraine has got independence on August 24, 1991.
Ukrainian territory is 603.7 square kilometers. It is the biggest country in Europe if not to take into consideration European part of Russia. Ukraine is bigger than France, Germany, Spain or Great Britain, for example.
Official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian. People in Ukraine speak Ukrainian (mostly in Western, North and Central Ukraine) and Russian (mostly on East and South and in big cities).
Ukrainian language belongs to the Indo-European group of languages, as well as English or German, for example, and to the subgroup of Slavic languages (Ukrainian, Polish, Check, Slovak, Russian, etc). It is a language, not a dialect as some people might think. During soviet times Ukrainians were forced to speak Russian, Ukrainian was not in use in official documentations, in organizations. People could speak Ukrainian only at home. Many Ukrainian words were substituted with Russian ones. Nevertheless, people who speak Ukrainian are tolerant to the ones who speak Russian and vice verse.
The level of Ukrainian Education is very high, 16 out of 20 high school graduates enter Universities and Institutes. Though, it doesn’t mean that those people would find a job after they finish University. There is one more problem. The unemployment level is not very high, but the salaries are low. Average Ukrainian salary is 800 UAH (Ukrainian hryvnia), it is about 100 USD or about 80 EURO. But to live normally, lets say, if you have a family that consists of wife and a child, you need to get at least 2000-2500 UAH for each member of the family who works. And it is only to buy food, pay rent and bills for electricity, water, etc. People, who own their own business make pretty good money, we can call them Ukrainian middle class. People, who get money from the government do not have much. There are west European prices in Ukraine, but Ukrainian prices, Ukrainian joke says. Though, prices are high for Ukrainians, but not for western people. For example, a liter cola costs 7 UAH it’s about 0.9 USD; a hamburger in McDonalds costs 5 UAH (or 0.6 USD); a pack of Marlboro is 9 UAH or 1.10 USD. Many Ukrainians go abroad and work there. They go abroad not because they are so poor and do not have money at all. Many of them work abroad to buy an apartment, a car, in order to teach their children at Universities. For example, if you study law, the payment for one year of studies at well-known University will be about 20000 UAH or 2000 EURO. If University is not so well-known it would cost 1500 EURO per year. Many foreigners treat Ukrainians who work abroad like dirty and stupid people. If you belong to them, think firstly, that Ukrainian babysitter or builder who works for you could be highly qualified doctor, a teacher and have Masters Degree or PhD.
Ukraine is a country of paradoxes. Though, the salaries are low and prices are high Business in Ukraine (for Ukrainians), they do not look like poor people. When you come to Ukraine, you see usual European people, they seem to be really friendly, wear Adidas and Nike, cities and towns look pretty nice and there is not really big difference between Ukraine and Western or Central Europe. One more paradox is that more than 200 dollar millionaires were officially (!) registered in Ukraine. The country itself is very reach in recourses and people; 5 percent of people, mostly politicians and big businessmen are extremely rich; the Ukrainian budget is very poor and “ordinary” people are pretty poor too. Ukrainian problem is very high level of corruption. Because of that, political situation in the country is not stable and investors are afraid to enter Ukrainian market. People get law salaries and go to work abroad.
Many foreigners are afraid to visit Ukraine, because they think there are many gangs and so on. Criminal rate in Ukraine is not higher than in highly developed European countries. Only after The Soviet Union collapsed, the situation was critical. Criminal bosses were dividing spheres of influence and territory. Nowadays it is much different and safe. There is also a thought that if you are foreigner in Ukraine, you could be robbed or something like that. It is not quite true. Of course, you can not be 100% sure that such accident won’t happen, but the same could happen everywhere, even nearby your house, and Ukraine is not an exception, not worse, not better.