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On the cover
¹7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard – and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Ukraine Abroad

Ukrainian Students

Now that autumn is peeking at us from around the corner it’s time to…plan what to do next summer, at least if you’re a local student who would like to head abroad to the US the next time the hot weather rolls around. What’s On looks into Ukraine’s work-and-travel complex.
Work, save money and travel - play your cards right and you can do all of that at the same time, if you get yourself in with the right work and travel company that will take you across the pond to the United States. All you have to do is apply for a three-month work abroad programme, which will also give you the chance to travel around the country. Two companies that have been working in this area for more than eight years are Coliseum and TM Studentland, both specialising in cultural exchange.

 They’re skilled when it comes to navigating the hazards that can confront Ukrainian students heading overseas. Work and Travel USA, Internship USA, Academic Year USA and Au Pair USA and Europe are other popular and heavily-advertised outfits that do this sort of thing in Ukraine.
On the other hand, no matter how good a job your travel company does, at some point you’re on your own. Kyiv Polytechnic Institute student Liliya Filippova, a native of Kyiv, ended up working as a waitress in Richmond, Virginia and in the picturesque port city of Portland, Maine, famous for its lobster fleet. Like many veterans of work abroad, she’s full of advice. “When you’re looking into what job offer to go after, check the work hours that they’re offering,” she says. “The normal work week in the United States for students is 30 hours. For every hour after that you get paid extra. Also, make sure you don’t have to pay for your uniform if a uniform is part of the job. Most companies should supply the uniform for free.” She says it’s the same story when it comes to transportation. Sometimes you have to travel miles just to get to the place you work and it can cost money. Such are the little surprises of working in a strange culture.
Another piece of advice is to find a job that includes room and board. Timophey Brik, a Shevchenko University student who went to the States (also to Portland) with Work and Travel says, “If you get a job that includes boarding, in most cases you won’t have the chance to change it because the sponsors don’t allow you to change where you live without their permission. When you pick a flat yourself read the sublease carefully. Sometimes you have to sign for six months even though you’re only there for three and you end up spending all your money. My friends had problems with that.” 

Don’t Fear the Locals
Many students try to take two jobs at a time. “That’s what I did. It’s hard but you have to do it,” Timophey says. “The problem is that some job offers don’t allow you to do that. Still, you do find kids who are working three jobs at a time.”
Another issue: American taxes are high. The good news is that you can get your money back when you return to Ukraine. Liliya explains, “The first step is to bring back your paychecks. Then simply go to the Work and Travel Department and sign the Social Security Form. You get approximately $500 back. During my first trip abroad I didn’t know about that, but I strongly advise everyone to look into it.” Then there’s the matter of interacting with the natives, but you can rest easy on that point. “Ukrainians are very hospitable, but people who have been to the States say that people there show even more hospitality,” Liliya says. The main thing is not to be afraid of asking for help if you need it. You’ll most certainly get it.
Knowledge of English is obligatory. Few people in, say, Portland, Maine or Richmond, Virginia will speak Ukrainian or Russian with you. On the other hand, I personally have met a couple of guys who went to the States without being able to form a coherent English sentence. Some of them came back that way too. Why? They had avoided the natives out of shyness or fear and stayed shut up in their little national groups. But if you don’t have such fears you’ll come back fluent in English without a doubt. 
Taking things a step farther, is it still possible to stay in the States for good as a legal immigrant? “It can be,” says Liliya. “Still, lots of people say that America doesn’t need any new immigrants and it can be really hard to find a profitable niche in the business world. The job offers from travel companies are low paid and not especially prestigious. The best states to work in are on the East Coast. The most vacancies are in lifeguarding and serving food. These jobs pay well for overtime and of course you get tips.”

Police Cars and IDs
It can be hard emotionally and mentally to be away from home for such a long time, separated from your parents and friends by an ocean. What do you do if you get in trouble? The first thing is to contact your employer and American sponsors. Then write to the Ukrainian department of the company that employed you. Your insurance probably doesn’t cover dental services, cases in which you were under the influence or cases of chronic illness. And don’t forget to take your insurance and identification with you everywhere you go, says Vasiliy Kucherenko, a Kyivan who’s worked in Colorado and New Jersey.
“Once I was shopping and my friend asked me to buy him some cigarettes,” he says. “Of course, I didn’t have my ID on me. I didn’t get the cigarettes, but what I got is a short, polite talk with the local police.” They were worried about lurking terrorists. That’s not all that happened to Kucherenko. “One time in New Jersey,” he says, “some friends and I went to Newton for the weekend. The town looked strange to us because there were no people on the streets, only cars. We needed to find a telephone booth. There were four of us: an Italian, a Colombian, a Moldovan and me, a Ukrainian. The Italian and Colombian went down the street to see what was down there when suddenly the police drive up to the Moldovan and me and ask who we are. We tried to explain that we were foreigners working in New Jersey. But the cops said that it was prohibited to walk on the street from 18.00 to 19.00 and that we had to go to the police station. In the back seat of the car we found our friends, the Italian and Colombian. The next prohibition was that in the back seat there was space for only three people. But there were four of us! The police car drove slowly to the police station while two of us followed it on foot.”
As far as travelling among Ukrainian students goes, Washington DC, Niagara Falls on the New York/Canadian border and Brighton Beach, the Russian-speaking enclave in Brooklyn, are most popular. And the way most kids get around is by bus. “The best bus company in the USA is Greyhound,” Liliya and Timophey both say. “They provide excellent service for a fair price and offer a variety of discounts.” 
So if you’re interested, start planning now. Spending your whole life in one country makes you think the world is very small, so why not take a trip? You have to fight to survive in another country, but you’ll get stronger and come back home refreshed.

Vadim Mishkoriz

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Comments (4)
You are not authorized! Only registered and authorized users can add their comments!
Nick | 22.03.2011 21:36

Hi, i'm looking for someone to help me with a recruitment job. I need a Ukranian that speaks Russian and English. Ideal for a student. The pay is good and in dollars. My email address in bundtalent@gmail.com

Eric | 01.03.2010 01:21

Hey guys! Indeed a great program. check the website of Center of International Programs on 84 Artema Street. www.cip.com.ua. The program is more affordable starting from 595$ USD for Self placed option.CIP is expat owned and is registered both in Ukraine and Baltimore, Maryland USA. The company also hosts a new year lottery and gives discounts wroth of 5000$.

WAT-girl :) | 01.03.2010 00:03

??, Work and Travel ??????? great experience! ?????? 2 ???? ?? ????????? ? ????? ???. ??????????? ???????? ???, ??? ?????. ?????????? ?????????? ?????? ? ??????! ?????? ?? CIP. ?????? ?? ??????? ??????????????? ? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ??????? What's on ? ??????????, ??? ?????, ?? ???? ? :) ???????? ???? ?????? ?? ???????????!

???? | 17.10.2008 13:21

??, ???????? ?????????... ??? ?????... ????? ???????????... ??????, ???? ????? ??????? - ?????????! ???? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ????????? Au-Pair - www.zagranitsa.com.ua

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didn’t Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer­sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they don’t understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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