Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the 46th largest country in the world, and the largest completely in Europe. It has land borders with seven other countries and sits on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south.
It has a population of 42.5 million spread over a land mass of 603,628 square kilometers, making it quite sparsely populated by area. Most of its population lives in its large towns and cities, including Kiev, its capital and largest city. Ukraine's economy is based on its enormous natural resources.
Its official language is Ukrainian, although many other languages are spoken in the country. Its people are mainly Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine. It is also the largest city and main political, economic and cultural center of the country. It is the largest, busiest and probably well-known Ukrainian city.
Ukraine obtained a market economy status from both the USA and the EU and has also joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). Foreign direct investment (FDI) has continued to flow in, although in a relatively low volume.
Being the largest city of Ukraine, Kiev is a leading industrial and commercial center of the country. Kiev's major industries include: food processing (especially processing of beet sugar), metallurgy, manufacture of machinery, machine tools, rolling stock, chemicals, building materials, and textiles. The development of Ukrainian economy gave impulse to business activity of the city. There are a lot of new office centers, banks, trade exhibition centers and other commercial enterprises appearing in the city nowadays.
Nevertheless, Ukraine is home to a host of beautiful places with a great range of tourist activities. And while some regions are advised as off-limits due to separatist clashes, most of this vast country is open for business.
Vibrant cities, ancient castles, stunning countryside, diversity of landscapes and a welcoming attitude all help make it a special destination, regardless of its troubles.
The lack of mass tourism lends Ukraine a charm and authenticity often missing elsewhere..
In much of Ukraine, the climate is continental, with freezing winters and warm summers, which become progressively warmer as you move towards the south. The southern area, which overlooks the Black Sea, has a slightly milder weather in winter, but we cannot speak of Mediterranean climate (the winter is cold anyway), except on the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula (see Yalta).
Winter is cold in much of Ukraine: the average temperatures are below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), except in the most sheltered areas of Crimea. Going south, the temperature increases a little, but remains below freezing in inland areas.
Snow covers Kiev for about 80 days per year (which were about a hundred in the previous decades, when the climate was colder).
The coldest periods are those in which the Siberian Anticyclone moves over the country: in these situations, the temperature can drop to -30 °C (-22 °F) or even below. The average winter temperature has increased by a few degrees over the last few decades, especially in the interior.
Anyway, periods of severe cold are still possible, although compared to the past they are less frequent and tend to be shorter.
In spring, both the temperature and the sunshine hours grow rapidly. In March, the snow melts in continental areas, which turns into mud and can make it difficult to travel Ukraine on rural roads.
In April, the first warm days occur, though they can be followed by the return of cold weather, with possible snow and frosts. In May, the temperatures generally start to become permanently pleasant, especially in the second part.
Summer in Ukraine is warm and quite sunny, with possible thunderstorms, which are more likely in the center-north. The maximum temperatures in July are around 25 °C (77 °F) in the far north (see Chernihiv) and 26 °C (79 °F) in the north (see Kiev), while they reach 27/28 °C (81/82 °F) in the south (see Dnipro) and on the coast of the Black Sea (see Odessa).
The summer on the Black Sea Coast, especially in Crimea, is similar to that of the northern coast of the Mediterranean (French Riviera, Liguria), although the rains are a bit more frequent, 5/6 days per month.
Sometimes in summer the inland regions are affected by disturbances of Atlantic origin or by cool air masses from the north, so the average temperature is lower than in the regions overlooking the sea, but the former are also subject to heat waves, which last some days, and can raise the temperature to 35 °C (95 °F) or more.
Ukrainian is the official state language; it is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. The language shares some vocabulary with the languages of the neighboring Slavic nations, most notably with Belarusian, Polish, Russian and Slovak.
The Ukrainian language traces its origins to the Old East Slavic language of early medieval state of Kievan Rus'. In its earlier stages it was called Ruthenian.
The language has persisted despite several periods of bans and/or discouragement throughout centuries as it has always nevertheless maintained a sufficient base among the people of Ukraine, its folklore songs, itinerant musicians, and prominent authors.
Ukrainians are of Slavic origin. About 75% of the population is ethnic Ukrainian. The largest minority group is the Russians at about 20%. Belarusians, Bulgarians, Poles, Hungarians and Romanians make up the other major minority groups.
Approximately 40% of the population in the Ukraine describe themselves as atheist. Of those that do adhere to some form of religion, 37% belong to one of the three major orthodox denominations present in the country. There are also a significant and growing number of Jews, Protestants and Muslims.
Despite the large numbers describing themselves are atheist, Ukrainians are extremely superstitious. If you do something that they believe can cause harm such as sitting on stone steps, someone will undoubtedly tell you that you risk doing great harm to yourself as a result of your actions. Superstitions are derived from folk wisdom in rural communities.
Ukrainians live in a country where everyday life is often unpredictable and unstable and they have learned to adapt to constantly changing rules and laws.
The influences of the Russian Orthodox Church plus a long history of turbulent economic times, unstable governments, and adverse climatic conditions produce a rather fatalistic approach towards life.
Ukrainians are extremely generous and hospitable. All social occasions include food. Visitors are always offered something to eat as well as a beverage. It is considered the height of rudeness to eat in front of another person and not offer them something.
Although direct communication is valued in the Ukraine, there is also an emphasis placed on delivering information in a sensitive manner.
Often, the level of the relationship will determine how direct someone is. Obviously the newer a relationship, the more cautious people will be. Once a relationship has developed, people will then feel more comfortable speaking frankly.
If you are going to blend harmoniously in the Ukrainian society, it is extremely important to try to understand its nature. What is a lifestyle in Ukraine? How do Ukrainians live, what do they aim for, what do they like to do in their free time? What is happening in their everyday lives? Answering all these questions let’s have a closer look at some Ukrainian lifestyle facts.
Family traditions and values are the matter of special pride for most Ukrainians. Such values as creation of a family and birth of children are more important for them than individual material goods.
Ukrainian family, as a rule, does not have many children. Two children are the norm, four children – an exception. Children are brought up in quiet tolerance, without an excessive strictness. However, the average Ukrainian family also does not allow special liberties.
There is a tendency to give birth to children comparatively late – after 30 years, when parents are professionally more or less realized and can afford to have children.
Why do Ukrainians work so hard? Almost half of Ukrainians are forced to have two or more jobs in order to live normally.
These are the results of a study, which was recently conducted. It emerged that about 90% of employees would like to have more income. And only 10% of respondents said that they are satisfied with their salaries. Typically, Ukrainian people search for extra work to save money for housing, car, renovations, traveling etc.
Ukrainian people generally like to eat well. Fast food is out of favor among middle-aged and older Ukrainians. Raised on old traditions, older people prefer to eat homemade food.
They go to restaurants mainly to meet friends. However, young people sometimes ignore old traditions and stodge Burgers and Big Macs with pleasure in numerous McDonald’s and Burger King’s.
Against the backdrop of the crisis and popular unrest, citizens of Ukraine clearly express their social and political position, actively develop volunteer movements, and arrange cultural events, focused primarily on promotion of patriotism among young people.
Important fact is that more attention was paid to the role of the Ukrainian language in the life of the country. In social networks, the slogan Ukrainian, speak Ukrainian! Become very popular among the young people.
The return to the traditions of the nation, its historical heritage becomes an integral part of Ukrainian society life.
Modern Ukrainian artists, especially the representatives of new generation – often use national motives in their works, and the most popular songs of Ukrainian performers are steeped in ancient folk melodies.
The peculiar features of traditional Ukrainian food have been forming over centuries. The neighboring countries, climate conditions, rich soil and hard-working locals have influenced the complexity of the dishes.
Ukrainian dishes are generously flavored (with garlic often the main seasoning) and, despite the contradictory tastes being used, come together in a harmonious blend.
Here are some of the best served Ukrainian dishes:
Borscht with garlic fritters:
Ukrainian dishes often use a number of ingredients. Borscht is a direct proof of this. Initially, this dish was made of 30 ingredients but, of course, over time that number has decreased. However, the technique remains unchanged.
Beef is placed in cold water to make a meat broth. Then the meat is taken out and other ingredients are added and cooked in a closed saucepan. Garlic fritters are given instead of bread and called pampushki by locals.
Traditionally, every Ukrainian girl learns how to cook borscht before getting married.
Chicken Kiev is the dish that has brought fame to Ukraine. The simple combination of fresh chicken filet with a piece of butter is considered to be quite exquisite all over the world.
To ensure that butter does not flow during the frying, you’ll need a lot of practice and true professionalism. Nowadays, chicken Kiev is served in fashionable restaurants across London and New York.
It is always the first dish ordered by foodies visiting the Ukrainian capital.
Deruny, or potato pancakes, are a perfect course for breakfast or dinner. They are usually freshly fried or baked. If you want to make a good batch of Deruny, first off, you should make sure the potatoes are finely grated.
Then, to diversify the flavor, add meat, slices of chopped onions, mushrooms, fresh herbs or a variety of spices.
Alternatively, you could just keep it simple: potatoes and a pinch of salt.
It has already become a source of humor: Ukrainians love Salo. This well-established symbol of hospitality and wealth is usually served as an appetizer—but sometimes a fully-fledged dish.
Pork fat is reportedly a source of vitamin D and A, both of which foster brain activity, digestion and detoxification. Put it on rye bread with spices or greens and have yourself a surprisingly healthy snack.
Vareniki is a kind of dumpling. It is made of dough, but the filling depends on the imagination and taste preferences of the chef and their guests. Cabbages, meat, mushrooms, cottage cheese, cherries, currant or potatoes are the most typical fillings.
Savory or sweet, Vareniki turns out to be succulent. Ukrainians put sour cream almost in every dish, and these dumplings often get the same treatment. Begin your meal with one of these—you won’t regret it.
You have various choices of accommodation in Ukraine; the only thing important is you should feel comfortable. There are many different types of accommodation in Ukraine available to international travellers who are studying abroad or not that vary from one accommodation to another.
1. Apartments in Ukraine:
This is a good option for travellers and students who want freedom and independence. The apartments in Ukraine - with fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms - are typically furnished according to the Ukraine characteristics. You have more independence and the opportunity to cook your own meals.
Single or double rooms are usually available in same apartments. Cooking and cleaning is done by the students themselves. The apartments are generally without supervision and are self-catering, but they are close to local amenities like cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and bus stops.
2. Student Residences in Ukraine:
If you are looking for a more independent lifestyle during your stay and meet and interact with other foreign students, student residences / houses options are ideal.
A student residence can vary in size depending on location and availability. These residences usually accommodate students of all ages and nationalities in a house-type environment. Usually Students' Residential accommodation is the most economic form of private student accommodation.
The student residences in Ukraine usually offer shared kitchen facilities or cafeterias and give you the opportunity to practice your new language with fellow students even away from your classes. Normally there is a reception you can contact if you have any problem or questions.
3. Guesthouses / Hotels in Ukraine:
If you would like to have a little more personal space where to stay, accommodation in a hotel could be the right choice for you.
But this option is only suitable for short-time stays between one and four weeks. You could choose from various options, however all rooms have their own bathroom.
For hotel bookings, please note that double rooms may only be booked by two students travelling together.
4. Homestays in Ukraine:
Daily contact with the local people, learning about eating and living habits and using your language skills right away, are some of the essential benefits of choosing a homestay in Ukraine.
If you are interested in both the language itself and also learning about the lifestyle, habits and customs of the host in Ukraine during your stay, then you will find that living with a host family is the perfect choice. You’ll enrich your understanding of the local culture and customs, pick up expressions and slang with greater ease, and your accent will sound more authentic.
A variety of "homestays in Ukraine" are available, including families with or without children as well as single households. The provision of meals varies depending on the location. A lot of host families are not living in the city Centre.
This means that you will have to walk a bit and/or go by public transportation to the school. It is very important to let us know if you suffer from any allergies or medical conditions so that we can inform the host family..
Students who live in a host family can improve their language skills dramatically through daily conversations with the family members. We also suggest that you take some pictures of your family, friends and home as these can act as useful props for discussion. The greatest reward for the students and families is the deep, lasting friendship between them.
Cultural Youth travel to Ukraine relates to the majestic art, fascinating architecture, age-old customs, impeccable hospitality, authentic cuisines, thriving nightlife, and many more amazing and fascinating facts related to Ukraine. These compelling aspects build up the culture of the country.
The cultural tour also plays an influential role in developing and boosting the history of Youth travel to Macao in Ukraine.
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