Ukriane at a glance
WHERE IS UKRAINE?
Eastern Europe, the second largest country on the continent after Russia. It is bordered by Belarus to the north, Russia to the east, the Black Sea to the south, Romania to the southwest, and Poland to the west with a population of approx. 46 million people.
WHAT IS THE CAPITAL OF UKRAINE?
Kiev with a population estimated to be about 2.9 million inhabitants, making it the largest city in the country and the main political, economical and cultural center of the country.
WHAT IS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF UKRAINE?
Ukrainian, Russian spoken by almost 30% of people as their first language. 11 officially recognized languages other than Ukrainian, including Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian and Yiddish.
WHAT IS THE RELIGION OF UKRAINE?
Christianity Orthodox Christianity is very important to the majority of Ukrainians and plays a central part in national life.
WHAT IS THE LITERACY RATE OF UKRAINE? 99%
WHAT IS THE ECONOMY OF UKRAINE LIKE?
Iron and steel production are the major heavy industries in Ukraine. Ukraine has often been called a breadbasket country, due to its ability to produce enormous amounts of wheat. Production of grain and potatoes is among the highest in Europe, and it is among the world’s largest producers of sugar beets and sunflower oil.
OTHER FACTS ABOUT UKRAINE
In Kiev, the summers are comfortable and partly cloudy with an average high in July of 78°F and low of 61°F.
Ukrainian dishes are known for their variety and high taste qualities. Ukrainian cuisine includes hundreds of recipes: borscht and pampushki, flat cakes and dumplings, mushroom sauce, banosh, vareniki and sausages, drinks from fruits and honey, etc. Some dishes have a centuries-old history, for example, Ukrainian borscht: is cooked of fresh vegetables (cabbage, beet, tomato), pounded lard, garlic, parsley.
CULTURAL DO’S AND DON’TS
DO greet with a strong handshake along with direct eye contact.
DO know the more informal greetings. Close female friends will cheek kiss three times, starting with the left cheek. Close male friends pat each other on the back and hug.
DO understand that feminism is a little behind in Ukraine. Men will usually hold a door open for women, pour their drinks, light their cigarettes, etc.
DO comply with dress code in churches (women should cover their heads when entering Orthodox churches; no above knee skirts for women and no hats for men)
DO bring a gift such as dessert, wine, flowers or something from your hometown if you are invited into a Ukrainian household. However, avoid yellow flowers (yellow is considered a color of separation) or bouquets of flowers in an even number. Even numbers of flowers are for funerals.
DO take your shoes off upon entering
DO partake in toasts. Toasting is a very important part of Ukraine's social culture.
Don'ts in Ukraine
DON'T confuse Ukraine with Russia or Ukrainians with Russians.
DON'T shake hands with gloves on. Remove them first.
DON'T be offended if a person asks how much you earn. Don't complain about having no money to pay your bills, though, - it's considered to be rude
DON'T wear shorts and a t-shirt at a church, theater, concert, or an upscale restaurant, and remember to take your hat off indoors.
DON'T ever hand anything or shake hands over a threshold. It's considered really bad luck.
DON'T open a gift upon receipt. Open it later.
DON'T give handkerchiefs, mirrors or sharp objects as presents. If you decide to give a purse or a wallet, then remember to put some money in it first.
DON'T congratulate someone or celebrate a birthday before the day arrives, it is tradition to celebrate it on the day or after.
DON'T refuse a dish. Try everything and save room for seconds. Turning down food could be seen as rude.
DON'T suggest that salo is unhealthy.
DON'T refuse to drink vodka at a funeral banquet. It is absolutely unacceptable.
DON'T whistle while indoors. It is considered quite rude and it is believed that you will lose a large amount of money soon after.
DON'T put your feet on the furniture.
DON'T make a fist with your thumb in between your middle and index finger. It's considered a very vulgar gesture.
DON'T gesture to someone with your index finger. That is only acceptable if beckoning a little kid or a dog.
Don’t be alone at night. It would be preferable to have a group of 3, one being a male. Don’t be in an isolated place alone with a national or with minors. When traveling on public transportation, stay close to teammates taking care not to get separated from your group. Be on guard. Always be aware of what is going on around you. Look like you know what you’re doing. Be aware of your belongings at all times. Hold your backpack in front of you on public transportation. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Don’t carry a lot of valuables on you (expensive watches, jewelry, phones, computers, cameras, etc.) Put money in several places on you (in a pocket, in a backpack, in a money belt.) Carry a copy of your passport with you at all times. You don’t need to carry your passport every day, but make sure to put it in a safe place. Use common sense. If you’re not sure what is allowed, ask your team leader(s) or missionaries.
Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia One dollar = 28 hryvnia (riv-nia)
Time Zone: EEST Eastern European Summer Time. 11 hours ahead of PST
Electrical Outlets: There are two associated plug types, types C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Ukraine operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
With regard to clothing, MODESTY is of EXTREME importance. Neither underwear nor midriffs may be shown. And nothing form fitting, guys or gals. No scoop neck/ low necklines for gals. Take your cues from the nationals in the varying situations you find yourself.
Work Clothing: Jeans, “scrubs,” or active wear. Yoga pants are permitted if worn with a long shirt to completely cover the rear. Closed toed, sturdy shoes. T-shirts or basic crew necks. No shorts or sleeveless/tank tops for women. Men may wear shorts. Any writing on shirts should not contain anything offensive, crude, provocative, political or inflammatory.
Casual Clothing: Nicer outfit for outings and excursions, like jeans or capris and a polo shirt or nicer crew neck.
Church/Dining Out: Church: Clean jeans with nice t-shirt or polo shirt and tennis, skate or deck shoes for men. Below knee dress/skirt with t-shirt and flip flops or sandals. Note: we don’t want to “out dress” the locals.