Higher education in Ukraine has been highly valued since the times of the Soviet Union: best professors with years of experience in their area passed knowledge to a younger generation of students. Nowadays, Ukraine is promptly catching up with the world standards of education and involves new technologies, as well as modern information basis, into the studies at educational institutions. International students among others are encouraged to study in Ukraine — let's find out more about it.
To start with, let's see how post-secondary education in Ukraine works. It is mainly provided by technical schools, colleges or universities. Apart from those, students have academies, institutes and conservatories, including 14 classical and 45 technological and branch universities, 30 academies and 72 institutes to apply to. Post-secondary education in Ukraine offers all levels from bachelor to PhD. Courses are available in Ukrainian, Russian or English.
What you need to study in Ukraine
Whether you want to study at college or university in Ukraine, it's necessary to know rules of applying for international students. According to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine site, foreigners can enroll in higher educational institutions with accredited educational programs in the following ways:
1) twice a year for the degrees of Junior Bachelor, Bachelor and Master, before and at the beginning of the academic semester;
2) during the year for postgraduate studies, doctoral studies, clinical studies, medical residency, the preparatory faculty program and the academic mobility program.
Students from countries that have signed a visa-free regime with Ukraine — Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Russia — don't need a visa for studying, however, need to provide an Invitation to study which we will talk about later. As for other countries, students need to obtain a D-type visa for long-term stay, which can be issued at local Ukrainian Embassy or Council.
Anyway, potential student needs an Invitation to study — official document from the university one is applying to. It demands submission of a valid copy of passport and officially certified copy of document from previous educational institution through the site of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Invitation to study typically takes from one to four weeks to be issued and is valid for up to 6 months. Besides, the site has detailed information about scholarships for international students in Ukraine.
Best universities in Ukraine for international students
Now that we’ve discussed the application process, let's have a look at the best establishments one can obtain education in Ukraine.
A notable mentioning goes to one of the first universities in Ukraine, founded in 1834 in Kyiv — Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Its bright red building you might have seen on various pictures of Kyiv’s downtown. Ranked within top 500 Universities in the world, it is a major research center for various majors of education in Ukraine - anything from social sciences to international relations. The university offers several levels of education for international students, including Master's, PhD, as well as a wide choice of student exchange programs where students from 400 universities all over the world can come over to study in Ukraine. The tuition depends on speciality, but usually starts at USD 2500 per year. Taras Shevchenko National University is especially popular for its law faculty — for instance, in 2017 university launched the joint international Master's program Ukraine-European Law Studies, which allows students to get a double diploma — from Taras Shevchenko University, as well as from Mykolas Romeris University. Students have a chance to choose from several specialities: Legal regulation of Public administration and Human rights, Private law, Intellectual property law and Healthcare law. The course is offered in English.
Read: 5 Amazing Reasons To Learn Ukrainian Today
Another quite popular option in Kyiv is Bohomolets National Medical University, alma mater for over 10 thousand students, with about 2000 of them from foreign countries. Since its foundation in 1874, it stays in the top-200 of educational institutions in Ukraine, provides the best medical training and practice opportunities. Various departments offer course of study: for instance, Medical Care, Pediatrics, Dentistry, Pharmaceutics and Psychiatry. The cost of study for international students at Bohomolets University in Ukraine starts at USD 3000 depending on the speciality.
Karazin Kharkiv National University offers various levels of study starting from Bachelor's to PhD in a wide range of specialities: for instance, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Informational Technologies, International Relations, Natural Science, Biology, Chemistry and Bioengineering, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics. To give an idea about the study cost, a year of Bachelor's majoring in Law costs USD 2900. Besides, Kharkiv National University has a preparatory department to help future students accommodate to studying in higher educational institutions, which gives lessons in Ukrainian and Russian.
Ivan Franko National University of Lviv is one of the most popular universities in West Ukraine. Founded in 1661, the university keeps up with the modern educational programs and is a partner of such famous programs as Erasmus+, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus and Horizon 2020. Several courses are offered in English: joint Master's in Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics with University of L'Aquila, Italy, and a double Degree of Master in Law with Vilnius University, Lithuania. As for the cost of study, full-time Bachelor's for international students costs USD 15000 a year, and USD 1695 per year for Master's.
Advantages and disadvantages of studying in Ukraine
Sure enough, like anything in the world getting education in Ukraine has its pros and cons. To start with the good, Ukraine certainly has lower admission fees per year in all educational levels than other countries in the world, at the same time obtaining solid knowledge level. Thus, university staff usually consists of professors with vast experience in their area and a huge amount of written works. Young and aspiring lecturers in their turn make sure that studying is far from boring by including video materials, contemporary literature and maintaining good humor on lectures and classes. Moreover, international graduates easily find jobs in Ukraine and are valued as multi-lingual specialists in any field.
Another great advantage is cost of living in Ukraine, which is an important point for any international student. For instance, rent of a one-bedroom apartment in the downtown will cost about USD 300, and in other districts it is about a hundred dollars cheaper. Regular price for a monthly transport pass is about USD 9. Unlimited Internet costs about USD 4 per month. Prices for food generally stay under 5 dollars, which is true for 1 liter of milk, bread, cheese, apples, 1 kilogram of beef, cheese, 1 kilogram of rice, as well as 1.5 liter water bottle. Leisure is quite accessible as well: about 3 dollars for a movie ticket, price of meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant starts at 15 dollars, and a monthly fitness club card costs about USD 15-20 depending on the club.
Read: Ukrainian Living Conditions
Ukraine has numerous sightseeing attractions, which gather millions of tourists each year - the old churches in the world, museums with unique works of art, spacious arboreta and national reserves, and mountain range great for activities at any time of the year. Moreover, Ukraine is conveniently located in central Europe, making it a great transportation point for traveling. Lately low-cost airlines are adding more and more flights to various destinations in Europe and Asia. Besides, neighbouring countries like Poland, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia are easily accessed via train or bus at a decent price which is convenient for balancing living cost of international students studying in Ukraine.
As for disadvantages, many state universities often experience budget cuts, which means shortage of studying materials. As universities follow programs approved by the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine, which aren't updated or reviewed often enough, students have to study using old books from 90s. Professors and teachers try to involve as many modern materials as possible, but the book basis of program is still quite outdated. Disbalance between number of students in group and low wage of professors makes it impossible to review work of each student deeply enough, as teachers simply aren't motivated enough to sit with a huge pile of works in their free time.
Is it safe to study in Ukraine
One question that often worries international students is whether Ukraine is safe to live and study in. Ukraine is generally a safe country, provided you remember to keep to basic safety measurements: avoid walking alone late at night in dark or poorly lit streets; keep the valuables and cash safe and out of sight, especially in crowded areas, tourist spots and public transport. Make sure to have an ID with you. Besides, a good tip for international students is to keep the Embassy number saved in contacts. In case of any emergency, it is always better to contact the Embassy of your country. Ukrainians are quite welcoming and hearty, so friends you make here will make sure to keep you out of trouble and be your translator whenever you struggle. It is worth noting that Ukraine still fights with a system of bribing, common in many areas. If you encounter any bribe demands or threats from staff of educational establishments, it is necessary to apply to police. As ever, Ukrainian friends may help with talking to police in Ukrainian or Russian.
Read: Etiquette in Ukraine
Ukraine welcomes all international students and fights to create beneficial environment for their living and studying during their stay in the country.
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