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Foreign students studying in Uzhhorod: please meet!

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It surely looks like a tolerance test – the very thing often mentioned by Transcarpathians but sometimes virtually forgotten.

In Transcarpathia, locals just love dwelling on their own tolerance and multiculturalism in the region. True, indeed. Though, in the last few years there have been incidents when Transcarpathians happened to forget the tolerance. Even more so, in their opinions in social media.

Reasons for that were events involving foreign students – cross-talks, road accidents, with deadly repercussions as well, which, alas, have formed quite a few stereotypes about the students as a certain threat.

That’s why we aim to ruin those stereotypes, for we know from our own experience: out of the great community of foreign students taking courses in Uzhhorod most are open-hearted, friendly and very nice young people. Just like you and I. So meet them.


Eumanne Emmanuelle will be 35 in August. He came to Uzhhorod from Nigeria in 2017. The would-be doctor is taking his internship training, clinical internship to be more precise, and majoring in radiology (a subdivision in clinical medicine on utilizing Roentgen rays for surveying body organs and systems and diagnostics of diseases – editorial).

His boss, as Eumann calls his supervisor, Vitaliy Myhovych, a radiation therapist, says that he’s got quite a lot of interns but Eumanne is just about the most talented. He’s got a motivation to train and work, help people and he’s got many original ideas on improving the work flow.

Eumann graduated a medical school in his country, passed the exams and obtained a doctor’s license. Some friends of his, studying in Odessa, recommended him to take studies in Ukraine.

– I chose Ukraine, for it’s peaceful and you can get good practical experience. Comparing studies in USA, Asia and European countries, it’s very positive that Ukraine allows to take studies for everyone, including practice in medical establishments, – says Eumanne.

Back in his motherland, Eumanne has several brothers and sisters. However, he is the first in the family to become a doctor. His sister is a programmer, his father is an entrepreneur and his mom has just retired.

Studies take the doctor over 80% of his time. But he takes a rest in Uzhhorod, too – walking, jogging, cycling, meeting colleagues, and sometimes taking trips outside the city to pick mushrooms.

– I spend my weekends with my friends, go to church on Sundays, – says Eumanne. – Whenever I have a break in my studies, I do some travelling. I have recently been to England and USA. I also attend clinical conferences in Lviv, Kyiv, other regions in Ukraine and Europe.

– I like the Transcarpathian cuisine. It reminds me ours somewhat. I like eating borshch, buckwheat cereal, shashlyk BBQ, pizza and cakes. Mostly I like everything but still our cuisine is different and there is a wider choice of food. At the seashore where I live in my country we have lots of seafood. We also take more cereals, fruit and vegetables, – confides Eumanne.

Since 2014, for many foreigners Uzhhorod has become a place for studying and living. By Order from the Ministry of Science and Education, foreign students were transferred from the East, so that they could safely complete their education. Then the Uzhhorod National University accepted 305 youths from the State Medical College of Luhansk. Later, an additional Medical Faculty No2 was launched for them.

Time went on. So did the migration processes in Ukraine. Some of the foreigners from Uzhhorod moved to large cities. Instead, youths from Lviv, Kyiv and Kharkiv entered the university. Quite a number of boys and girls intentionally came to study to Transcarpathia, advised by their relatives or friends, who had previously obtained their education here and returned to their home places. The Medical Faculty still remains the most popular one. It is followed by the Dental Faculty, the Faculty of Technical Science and Engineering and the Faculty of International Economic Relationships.

Is Infographics 2 1

Based on the information from by Department of Foreign Students Support, by 2019 (Quarter I), 1617 students are enrolled as citizens of foreign states.

Is Infographics 1

What do we know about them? Local mass-media, hunting for sensations, often provide information on unpleasant events related with disorderly conduct, road accidents or manifestations of sexism. Unfortunately, such occurrences do happen. However, their number is no ore and no less than the average indicator among locals. Instead, the mass-media pays no attention to the incredibly interesting stories on other peoples, their traditions, culture and customs.

Today, students from 60 countries of the world are studying at Uzhhorod National University. All of them are officially enrolled. The large majority of them come from India.

Is Infographics 3

The foreigners come to Uzhhorod to live for 5-6 years during their studies and then return to their home places. Only a few of them stayed in Transcarpathia, getting married or finding a job. And only a few of them manage to learn the Ukrainian during their study time. Lectures at the university are delivered in English for foreigners and English is used for communication among them. They don’t often succeed in starting a chat right in the street, since in Ukraine people do not have a decent command of English, especially the elderly. So newcomers make friends among local age-mates or, in case they are shy by character or not too sociable, stick together and live in their own micro-world.

However, each of them is an independent interesting personality. Many are gifted with creative talents. They come from large or small families, wealthy or poor ones, having their own fates, plans and prospect for the future. They compose music and shoot video clips, win sport competitions and show their professional skills, assist Uzhhorod surgeons during difficult operations, cook delicious meals, do tattoos or can hold ancient tea ceremonies.

What is their vision of Uzhhorod? What do they think of us? Is it easy or difficult for them to live here? What are their preferences? What is it that they cannot get used to? What is it that they are going to miss when they are back home? All of these and more we discussed in our conversation with them.

Hero 1

Andrew Young, 22-year-old, from Taiwan

Teacher of English and music. Likes Ukrainian cuisine and the sakura blossoming season in Uzhhorod.

There is a lively conversation going on at a table of the Panorama Terrace. Andrew, a Taiwanese, is teaching English to Irene. They met in an English-speaking club and arranged for private tuition.

– I came from Taipei to study at the Medical Faculty. I have been here for 3 years out of 6 and that’s been quite a long adventure. I’m a student myself but, at the same time, teach locals English, Chinese and music.

Andrew is the youngest of the three kids in the Young family. His mom teaches in the National Orchestra, Dad has a few diplomas – as an architect, a veterinarian and a physician.

Andrew likes to help people, so he made a decision to become a doctor. He was making his choice regarding studying among 4 countries: the USA, Finland, Russia and Ukraine. He dropped USA at once, that was too expensive for him, to pay 60K dollars per year. Studying in Finland is free of charge but once you graduate from a university, you can only work as a male nurse and you have to enter other studies to have a higher level. So Ukraine won the struggle within in Andrew’s mind. Among the criteria he was weighing, was teaching in English, state strategy for the Western world and European values – and the cheap cost of studies.

Foreign students in Ukraine do not get scholarship. So it is the boy’s mom who pays for his studies in UzhNU. That makes 3.5 K dollars yearly. That’s why Andrew makes extra money on the side. But often he gives free lessons – just to communicate with people.

– What I like most in Uzhhorod is its weather and meals. Because food is really authentic and organic here. Even if you don’t want it to be organic, still it is.

Andrew loves cooking himself. He chose a private house for living and they allow him to grow vegetables and fruit in the kitchen garden. That’s how he cooks healthy salads and stews. His favorite dish is a cheese-cake.

– My least favorite thing in Uzhhorod is, definitely, the local taxi driver. Since my Ukrainian is bad, it is really difficult to explain to them the point of destination – so that they could not make the fare higher.

The boy’s appearance provokes different response from Uzhhorod locals. He says it is rather hard to live here but it is interesting, too.

As he returns to Taiwan, Andrew will have to confirm his UzhNU diploma by passing the national exams. Only then he will be able to work as a physician. And it is the Ukrainian nature that will stay in his memories as the most favorite reminiscence: the rivers and the sakuras, the forests and the kind people.

– Ukrainians are truly sincere people. Once they take care of you, they will keep on doing that for very long.

– Українці дуже щирі люди. І якщо вони одного разу подбають про тебе, то вони це ще будуть робити дуже довго.

Hero 2

Adeoluva Osadare, 24-year-old, from Nigeria

Came to study by his sister’s recommendation. Goes in for music, sports, plays basketball. Enjoys his time in Ukraine.

My sister once studied in Ukraine and suggested that I should come here to get my education. Soon I’m coming home, for I’m graduating from the university.

I go in for music, sports, play basketball.

What would I say about Uzhhorod? Definitely, the weather is better. Still, I personally don’t like it very much, for it’s damp. It often rains here, both in winter and in summer. So I both like and hate this kind of weather.

Local people mostly treat me kindly. They keep asking me if I came from Africa or America. But some people show an unpleasant response and ask what I am doing here at all.

When I am home to my native land, I will tell about my Ukrainian language studies. What I learnt is just how to say “Dobriy den” (Hello, How do you do? Good day! – in Ukrainian) – but still I have enjoyed the time I spent here. I have had different situations but mostly I like it.

It seems to me that Ukrainians are like old people, very warm, homely and kind. They remind me my mom. For instance, as I just arrived here, I forgot to put on my hat, and a woman said: “What is the matter with you? Where is your hat?”

Hero 3

Hari Krishnan, 23-year-old, from India

Hobby – making photos

Doesn’t like Ukrainian cuisine for the absence of spicy ingredients

has learnt Ukrainian

Is considering staying in Ukraine to live.

I came to Ukraine for my medical studies, to become a doctor. My main hobby is to make photos, and it became my job eventually.

What I like in Ukraine is that days are long here and there is summer and winter. In India, we are close to the Equator so it doesn’t matter for us if it is winter or summer.

I don’t really like the local meals. For I’m from India and we like spicy food and they don’t have it here.

Once I could not speak Ukrainian, I had hard times, and then it became easier.

Ukraine is a country of enormous potential. I think that people will be unleashing it, and Ukraine will become one of the best countries in the world. It is here that I fulfilled my potential and forged my own path. That’s why my heart is warm to this country. I may stay here but this is not for sure yet.

I like communicating with interesting creative Ukrainians. You may find such people all over the world, and you have to find common ground with them, talk to them and make friends.

Hero 4 2

Gabriel Anaman, 24-year-old, from Zimbabwe

Flows rap poetry, works with kids, goes in for African dances

Plays the bass

Came to Ukraine at 17

Has lots of friends here

I am studying medicine, sing rap songs, work with kids and go in for African dancing. One more hobby of mine is playing the bass guitar.

What I like about Uzhhorod is that everything is very cheap here, as compared to other places in Europe. But I don’t like the mentality of some people. They are not hospitable.

Being an expat in Ukraine is both good and bad. Understanding is hard, and that is too bad. And then again, you’re special and have more opportunities, and that’s good.

Бути іноземцем в Україні – це і добре, і погано водночас. Погано, тому що важко порозумітися. А добре, тому що ти особливий і маєш більше можливостей.

I was 17 when I came here, so actually I grew up here. I have lived the best time of my life in Ukraine. I got lots of friends. We have common interests in music, and they’re all nice people.

Hero 5

Amala John, 20-year-old, from India

Winner of Miss Medical Faculty Award in 2019

Her hobby – listening to music, dancing, cooking

My hobbies are listening to music, dancing, cooking, spending my time with friends and family and exploring the city. This is my first year here, and so far I have no local friends.

I like the local river, it’s fascinating. Generally, I like everything about here. I’m proud to be here.

Uzhhorod is a very peaceful city, so multicultural. And Ukrainian are wonderful people. I like to see them smiling.

Disclaimer: the present material is presented by the civic community of “Institute of Central European Strategy” with the support by US Agency for International Development (USAID). Creating the material became possible with sincere support from the American people as provided via US Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents or the material is a sole responsibility of the civic community of “Institute of Central European Strategy” and does not necessarily reflect opinion of USAID or USA government. Reproduction and use of any part of this material in any format, including graphical, electronic, copying or using in any other way whatsoever is prohibited without a link to the original source.

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