Living And Studying In Ukraine

General information

Population 37 million.

Territory 603,700 sq. km
Borders with Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova.

Capital Kyiv (Kiev). Territorial division 24 regions, Autonomous Republic of Crimea, cities with the special status Kyiv and Sevastopol.

State language Ukrainian. The Russian language is widely used.

Ukraine is a presidential-parliamentary republic with the authority divided between the President (Head of the executive power), Verkhovna Rada

(legislative power, Parliament) and 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

The 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 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 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 The university in Kharkiv was founded (Eastern Ukraine), in 1834 in Kyiv, 1865 in Odessa. The rapid development of industry, agriculture, and trade in Ukraine promoted the system of higher education. Technical and agricultural universities started to appear. Scientific research was among the priorities. The language of education was Russian.

Getting an education in the Ukrainian language became possible only in the twenties of the 20th century. The program of liquidation of mass illiteracy that took place during 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 research results into industry. These demands were met due to a large 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 it has been preparing in Ukraine. Nowadays, Ukrainian graduates take leading positions in foreign companies including Asia, Africa, and Latin America. You can see them among state officers, doctors, and engineers.

The end of world confrontation and the 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 the structure and content of education started as the result of the development of new marketing relations. The labor market demanded new skill standards. Management, marketing, law, financing, and computer engineering were among the priorities. At the same time as the state sector, private institutions had started to be developed. Foreign languages such as English, German, French, and Spain were the main part of the curriculum, which 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 Programme TEMPUS. Nowadays, the popularity of higher education is growing.

System of education

The system of education provides good quality and is well-developed. One of the most important tasks for central and local authorities is to give equal possibilities in getting 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, 7% of Ukrainian professionals teach 11 mln. students (22% of the population). There are 18400 institutions for pre-school preparation. According to the Constitution secondary school takes the central part in the system and is free and quite accessible.

7 mln. students attend 21900 schools. The private sector in secondary education is insignificant. In total, 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 the standards of secondary schools of other European countries. You can take vocational education in 1003 technical institutions (utchilische) on the base of lower secondary education and upper secondary education.

In the Ukrainian system of education, the College of Further Education (tekhnikum) refers to the lower part of higher education.

Higher Education

Having more than 1 mln. students institutions of higher education in Ukraine form a system which considered to be one of the biggest in the world.

In Ukraine, you can get higher education in universities (academies, institutes) accredited on the 3-4th level. After 4 years of studying you can get a Bachelor's degree, 5 years for specialists, and five and a half or 6 years Master's degree. Among all the enumerated degrees Specialist is the most popular.

You become a student of a university according to the results of entrance exams in July or August.

The academic year beginning on the 1st of September lasts up to the end of July and consists of two terms. All the students go on holiday between two terms: the first term (September - January) and the second one (February - June). 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 passing of examinations and tests guarantees the possibility of getting to the second term. Students have classes every day but on weekends. They attend lectures, and tutorials, and work with materials in libraries and resource centers. Higher education course includes work placement when students have the possibility to gain experience.

Recognition of qualification gained is the priority of the state.

In case of successful graduation from a 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 get an education in 313 universities, academies, and institutes of Ukraine of 3-4th level of accreditation. Among them, there are 220 state institutions, and 93- nonstate. 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 in the foundation year. It includes a course in Ukrainian (Russian) language and some of the comprehensive subjects according to the future profession. Further education is continuing together with Ukrainian students.

Entrance Procedure

To select a university and profession you are to take the information right from the institution according to the address, given in the Guide, the Embassy of Ukraine in your country, or an agent, who represents the Ukrainian University.

You have to send the following to the University:

An application form;
The copy of the document about secondary education signed by a notary;
The copy of the birth certificate signed by a notary;
Medical certificate that states you have no health problems or infectious disease;

8 documental photos

If there are no problems with the documents, you will get an official proposal, 2 copies of the contract the invoice for the study course, and other payments.

After that, you have to send a letter of confirmation of your coming to take a course, one copy of the contract, and a copy of the bank document, that confirms your payment.

The university sends the official invitation to the applicant.


As soon as you get the invitation you have to address the Embassy of Ukraine in your country. There you can find out the information about the list of documents needed to get a student visa. To get through the passport control you have to show the passport with a visa, a copy of the official invitation, medical insurance policy.

On coming to the place of study, international students have to be registered in the local authorities. As a rule, this procedure is done by the international department of the university.

Medical Insurance

The procedure of medical insurance for international students is a usual practice in Ukraine. Medical insurance can be paid together with study payment or at the airport in Ukraine. There are other ways of payment as well.


International students live in university hostels. There are various types of hostels. To get more information you can address the accommodation department of the university. It is also possible to live in Ukrainian families or to rent a flat.


The national currency is Hryvnia (UHR). 1 USD = 36 Hryvnia (1/11/23). You can change foreign currency in banks, kiosks, in international airports. In the airport, the currency rate is the same as in other places.

Payment for purchasing and services is done in hryvnias. Nevertheless, some companies take payments in USD.

You can use credit cards from international payment systems. They can be used in many 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 AVAL bank. This bank is often used to open the account for international students. Here you can save money both in foreign currency and Ukrainian hryvnia. Departments of the bank are situated in many regions of the country. It makes it easier to transfer money through the Western Union.


New Year 1st of January

Christmas 24th of January
International Women's Day 8th of March
Orthodox Easter
Labour Day 1st of May
Victory Day 8th of May
Trinity Sunday
Constitution Day 28th of June

Day of Independence 24th of August


UKRTELECOM company, the sponsor of the Guide, provides excellent telephone communications both in Ukraine and all over the world.

Most of the universities provide access to the Internet for their students.

There are also a lot of Internet- cafes.
You can use services of fast mail, represented by DHL, Federal Express,

UPS, TNT, and other companies.

Medical Service

Most of the state Universities provide free medical services in student hospitals. Students can also go to state and private hospitals, where medical service is to be paid.

The service of the ambulance is free.


Ukraine has a mostly temperate climate, with the exception of the Southern Coast of Crimea which has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. The country enjoys a sufficient amount of sunshine and year-round rainfall, highly concentrated during the summer months (May to August). Rainfall is highly varied depending upon the area of the country and seasonal variation patterns.

Ukraine has an annual mean temperature of 7-9°C. Mean summer temperatures (May to August) range from less than 18°C to 22°C. Mean winter (December to March) temperatures range from -4.8°С to 2°C. Precipitation falls predominately in summer to fall months, with June and July typically having the highest rainfall (67 mm).


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, shuttle bus, or bus. You can also order pick-up service at the university. Besides Borispol Airport you can take international flights from Simferopol, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, and Donetsk. International railway connections are with Bulgaria, Check, Slovak, Germany and Poland. International bus routes are from Poland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany. By ship, you can get it from Turkey.

It is better to find out your own route to the university from the university itself or the agent. 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 on 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$50.Local transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams, and taxis. The fare is US$0.15. You can buy tickets from the conductor or in yellow kiosks at stops.

The fare for a taxi is $US1 + US$0.20 per 1 km. In Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk you can take the Underground, paying at the entrance a ticket of US$0.12 (without the time and destination limits!).

During warm periods a water transport is quite comfortable: on the Dnieper River or by the Black Sea.


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.


Ukraine is a big agricultural country with different cooking traditions. Different foods can be bought in shops, supermarkets, and agricultural markets. Cafeterias, restaurants, and fast food restaurants offer different cuisines.

Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that started in 2014. The invasion was the biggest attack on a European country since World War II. It is estimated to have caused tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilian casualties and hundreds of thousands of military casualties. By June 2022, Russian troops occupied about 20% of Ukrainian territory. About 8 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced and more than 8.2 million had fled the country by April 2023, creating Europe's largest refugee crisis since World War II. Extensive environmental damage caused by the war, widely described as an ecocide, contributed to food crises worldwide. Read More About the Russo-Ukrainian War or Help Ukraine

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