Country info and advice - Ukraine
The following comments are from teachers who have taught, or are currently teaching, in Ukraine. If you are a teacher and have some advice to share, please add it here.
I went to Russia for the first
time. Since I am a teacher, I wanted to visit schools for a few days... I made
mistakes, and I learned from them.
My first mistake was that I had a passport, but I did not have a visa. So, at Moscow airport, I changed my ticket and flew to the Ukraine instead. Americans do not need a visa to enter the Ukraine. My second problem was that I couldn't find a store in the Ukraine to get Internet Provider Service. I had brought my laptop computer with me, but in the USA we use 110 volts and in Europe it's 240 volts so I bought an adaptor and was happy to turn on my computer while in Kiev. However, could not get on the Internet!!
My third problem was that my bank in America restricted my checking account / visa card money, and I could not get my money while in Kiev!! I was scared, stressed, and terrified with only $100 dollars (500 Grizm). I bought a Cell Global phone and a 180 minutes time card. I phoned my bank in the USA, and I could only get $200 dollars (1000 Grizm) each day!! I needed to pay $80 dollars a day rent, and my bank did not allow me enough money. My bank in America spoiled my trip to this country! Should I sue them for the cost of my trip, plus the anguish they put me through? Do not respond to this last question or comment. Before I left the US, I went to two banks, and posted a computer note in my checking account about my planned trip to Russia and the Ukraine. Despite this precaution, my bank restricted my money and limited my withdrawal to $200. (1000 Grizm) per day. There is a time difference of 7 hours between the USA and the Ukraine. In other words, when the US bank manager is opening the bank at 9am, it is 4pm in the Ukraine and they close their bank at 5pm. I only had a window of one hour to phone the bank, wait 30 minutes, and access $200. And BINGO!!, my bank account was restricted again, until I phoned again the following day!
My fourth problem was that it was cold, and it was raining every day in Kiev. There was no hot water in my flat. Hot water was available for only one hour, during my 3 day stay in my apartment flat in Kiev. I was waking up feverish, with heart palpitations, stressed, lonely, and shivering after 3am; my room was cold.
My fifth problem was that I could not get access to the Internet to email local contacts. Telephoning America costs 13 cents per minute, if you use country code 8110. Later, I found that it is cheaper to use code: 0001 to call the USA... For example, if you wanted to phone me from overseas, use: 0001-856-.... The country code for US cellular phones is 0001 and only costs 3 cents per minute.
My sixth problem was that I phoned the American Embassy in Kiev, and the operator literally threw the phone down on me (disconnected). I did not receive a friendly response from our American Embassy in Kiev.
Today, I am back in my home sweet home!! I will go back to Europe, but I will be more prepared in the future; maybe next year. Hopefully, my experiences will help other adventurers who are not afraid to enjoy life by traveling.
Ukraine is an excellent option
for teachers looking for new challenges and to develop their skills in one of
the fastest growing ELT markets Europe. Not overly saturated with incoming
teachers, a determined and qualified teacher can make decent money compared to
western Europe, and fast-track their career by getting valuable experience in
other academic and management positions.
Cambridge Exams, IELTS and business certificates are highly sought after in Ukraine, which provides a healthy market for teachers wishing to teach preparation courses or become examiners.
It is important to be sure you have found a good school to work for as with any developing EFL market, there are a lot of 'cowboy' schools.
Both The British Council and International House have a strong presence in Ukraine. However, there are some very exceptional private sector schools which are British-owned.
I work for The London School of English and highly recommend this company as they have 15 years experience in Ukraine and have several attractive schools in three different cities (Kiev, Odessa, Donetsk).
Visit the following website to learn more: www.educationalsolutions.com.ua
Ukraine is an excellent place
to teach for those who have a background speaking Russian or who know people
here already. For those who don't have these advantages it can be a difficult
Getting legal employment, a work visa and finding a supportive school to work with are all issues that new teachers to Ukraine face. If you have a TESOL qualification and experience teaching, you will find it much easier to find a supportive school. Even still, you have to be careful about who you work with here, some schools may try to change terms and conditions inexplicably midway through your employment, or pay you less etc...with no explanation.
Few schools offer legal employment and a work visa is also hard to come by, mainly because the process of getting a work visa is time-consuming and they prefer to have as little evidence they are earning income as possible.
My advice is to be firm, the English Schools in Ukraine are business not educational enterprises. Many view their teachers as earners, not educators and often not even as people.
Don't start working for someone if you have any doubts about their honesty or integrity. Ask to speak with other teachers at the school and make sure you know about your 'legal' situation so you are prepared if it becomes an issue.
I own I Speak English in Kyiv and would be happy to give any further advice if you wish.
If your advice is about a specific school, please post it in our forum
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