Ukraine is a country on the way up. The years since the fall of Soviet Communism have seen the Ukrainians swing between wild optimism and occasional bumps back down to earth, like after the euphoria of 2004’s Orange Revolution, but, for visitors, there has never been a better time to learn Russian in Ukraine.
More about language travel in Ukraine
The name “Ukraine” means “borderland” and the country lies between Europe and Russia. The scenery ranges from splendid, classical city centres to the Carpathian Mountains in the far west via huge green plains and gorgeous Black Sea beaches. Much of the country is flat, fertile farmland, perfect for growing the kind of hearty food Ukraine is known for. Be sure to try borsch (deep reddish-purple beetroot soup) or, if you’re not watching your waistline, Salo (salted pork fat which keeps the cold at bay!).
Another speciality that you will almost certainly find yourself trying is horilka, the 80 percent proof local booze. It is often flavoured with pepper or honey and has allegedly got even stronger since the Soviets left! There is a work hard, play harder mentality in Ukraine and nightlife in the major Ukrainian cities is wild. If you have not yet been initiated into the Eastern European approach to partying, be prepared for late nights and bleary-eyed mornings.
You will have plenty of opportunities to improve your Russian language skills in Ukraine. As well as being the country’s de facto language – especially in the south and west – the country attracts a large number of visitors from Russia itself. Particularly popular sights are the golden domes of the many Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox cathedrals that dot the country, said to be some of the most beautiful anywhere.
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