From ordering a taxi to adapting to the pace of life, these are the top tips for anyone moving to Ukraine
Summer’s long gone and now it is that time of season when freshly relocated expatriates have more or less settled into surroundings in their newly chosen home countries. Let’s be honest, in some of the biggest expat hubs, such as Dubai, Shanghai, Moscow, etc., even after some time spent acclimatizing, foreigners are still quite easy to spot.
Therefore, to help first timers adjust to their new lives in our countries of operations, Move One’s relocation’s specialists will combine a list of very useful tips for a different location every week.
Things newbie expats in Ukraine need to know:
Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, and after spending much of the last century hidden away behind the Iron Curtain emerged as an increasingly popular destination for expats, business and tourism – in 2008 becoming the world’s eight most popular holiday destination.
Whilst life in Ukraine will be essentially familiar to citizens of Western Europe, there are a few points that anyone thinking of visiting or relocating might want to keep in mind. Here’s a list of top tips from Move One’s own Ukraine relocation specialists.
- Get familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet, as it is used for almost all shop and road-signs.
- Assume that every other driver is sorely lacking due care and attention, or even actively out to get you. The vast majority of Ukrainians do not wear seatbelts, and lax enforcement of road traffic and safety rules has made driving in Ukraine a major cause for concern. Follow a few simple rules and stay safe: buckle up, don’t get into a cab if you do not feel safe, refrain from travelling at night or on poorly maintained roads, let someone know your route if travelling outside Kiev, and keep emergency numbers saved on your phone.
- Petty theft and pickpocketing is common, and any valuables, mobile phones, wallets or jewelry should be locked and buttoned down whilst on public transport. Even whilst in restaurants or bars, keep a close eye on all your personal belongings.
- Ukrainian hospitality is hearty and generous. You can expect to be invited to your friends’ homes frequently for dinner and/or drinks, so be sure to reciprocate.
- It is good manners to take off your shoes when you enter someone’s home. You won’t go wrong with bringing a small present as a ‘thank you’ for being invited. When you host a party, make a toast to thank your guests for coming – but it’s sometimes used as a gentle nudge to tell people it’s time to leave, so save that for the end.
- It is cheaper to call a taxi service rather than stopping one on the street. Find out the names of local English-speaking taxi services in case your language skills do not yet extend to ordering a car in Russian.
- Buy all the clothes you need abroad, as local clothing stores are overpriced.
- Don’t drink the tap water, but you can shower in it.
- Always check the expiration dates of the products that you buy in the supermarkets. Milk does not mature with age.
- Local people will embrace you wholeheartedly, especially if you learn how to pronounce just a couple of words in Russian/Ukrainian. ‘Good afternoon’ is dobrij den, and ‘thank you’ is spasibo or dyakuu.
- Many people in Kiev are hospitable and will be eager to help you. However, if you’re from Western Europe or North America, you may find service in restaurants and shops less attentive than you’re accustomed to.
- When using a subway be ready for the fact that the concept of ‘personal space’ has not taken root in Ukraine.
- Although Ukraine’s GDP is less than one percent of the United States, it still has a very expensive real estate market
- It will be easier to find an apartment than a house, and although there is no shortage of housing stock, they rarely live up to Western standards of housing, often featuring some “interesting” design choices.
- Expect fairly wide gaps in immigration law between theory and practice. Information can be scarce, whilst bureaucracy and corruption is plentiful.
- Local banks still do not have fast track application programs.
באדיבות עמיתנו במזרח אירופה Move One Inc.