Practical information about life in Ukraine


In this section we collected several important advice for incoming participants about registration procedure in Igor Sikorsky KPI and life realities in Kyiv and Ukraine. 
    1. FINANCES. Just after your arrival to Kyiv, Academic Mobility Office can help you with information about the transfer from the airport or station. You need to change money to hryvnias. We advise you to change money from dollars or euros (other currencies are more rare). The exchange rate in the airport or station is unprofitable, the best variant is the bank. There are a lot of banks and ATMs near KPI campus. In Kyiv you can easily pay with the card, but in marshrutkas and at markets you need to pay with cash. In rural areas of Ukraine cash is much more preferable.
    1. MOBILE CONNECTION. You need to buy the sim-card of one of Ukrainian mobile operators. There are three main operators – “Kyivstar“, “Lifecell” and “Vodafone“. You need it to communicate with all your coordinators and professors, as well as many registration procedures (especially related to payments) tied to Ukrainian mobile numbers.
    1. PREPARATIONS FOR THE REGISTRATION. Make 10-12 photos (3.5 cm x 4.5 cm) in advance – you will need it in Passport Office, in the Centre for International Education and some other offices. You can also do photos in the printing centre in the building 12 of KPI.
    1. NAVIGATION IN THE CITY. To navigate in Kyiv and travel city easier, it is recommended for you to download the map of KPI campus (LINK), scheme of metro (LINK) and download “EasyWay” application (LINK). Be attentive: due to the decommunization, a lot of Kyiv streets and squares were renamed, thus, do not be confused: many buildings has signs with old names, but all online maps show new names. Ukraine has right-hand traffichouse numbering is European – numbers start from the end of the street closest to the city centre; odd numbers beginning from 1 on the left side of the road, even numbers beginning from 2 on the right side; houses located deep into the quarter have additional Cyrillic letter indexes (1-а, 1-б, 1-в, 1-г etc).
    1. TRANSPORT. Kyiv has developed transport infrastructure; it includes metro, buses, trolleybuses, trams, light rail (rapid tram), city train, funicular and marshrutkas. You can find more information about the transport  on websites of “Kyivpastrans” (LINK) and Kyiv Metro (LINK).
        • METRO has three lines. One trip costs 8 hryvnias (not unlimited by time, crossings from line to line are free). Entering station’s vestibule, you can buy the one-way ticket with QR-code at the cash desk or machine; when you stay for a long period, it is more profitable to buy Kyivsmartcard, it costs 375 hryvnias, and each trip is 6,5 hryvnias instead of 8. All announcements (both text and voice) in metro are in two languages – Ukrainian and English. Note that there are not any limits in time or zones in metro, you can enter once and travel until the stations will close at midnight.
        • BUSES, TROLLEYBUSES and TRAMS are the part of “Kyivpastrans” (Kyiv Passengers’ Transportation) operator. One trip costs 8 hryvnias, but Kyivsmartcard is also applicable in onground transport. You can buy the one-way ticket with QR-code at the cash desk or machine at the metro, or via the application You need to validate the card or ticket inside – there are several validating machines of orange colour – scan the QR-code or attach the card until the green lights and the sound will appear. The fine for the ticketless fare is 160 hryvnias. Funicular is type of tram that has only two stations and travels by the hill from Poshtova Square to Mykhaylivska Square. It also costs 8 hryvnias.
        • NIGHT TRANSPORT. If you are late for a normal transport, you can use the night trolleybuses. You can find routes and schedules by the link: The prices and system are the same as in daytime normal onground transport. 
        • LIGHT RAIL (rapid tram) is also served by “Kyivpastrans”. It is similar to tram, but more separate from road traffic, thus has a higher speed. The prices and system of payment is the same as in metro. The Light Rail’s Line passes through KPI campus – you can take it to reach the Central Railway Station.
        • CITY TRAIN is the ring line system of trains. One ride costs 8 hryvnias, tickets are sold in the ticket-offices at the stations. It has big interval and operates only during rush hours.
      • MARSHRUTKA has the most developed infrastructure within Kyiv transport systems; it covers virtually all the city. Marshrutka is the type of transport, typical for ex-Soviet countries – yellow-colored minibus for 40-50 people, that works with stops “On demand“. To catch the marshrutka, standing on the stop, you should wave your hand. Entering, you should pay 6-10 hryvnias in cash to the driver (or pass your money to the driver, if you entered the back door). Driver must give you the change. To leave marshrutka, you should ask driver about that in advance by the phrase “[na zupyntsi, bud laska]” or “[na astanovke, pazhalusta]” (Stop here, please).
    1. INTERNET. You can find some points in the city, where you can connect to WI-FI (MAP). The most popular places are cafes and fast-foods. You can catch WI-FI in Igor Sikorsky KPI at the Library, Knowledge Square and at several points on the campus territory. “KPI Telecom” operator provides the Internet service for dormitories. Also, all mobile operators provide the mobile Internet connection – 3G and 4G. 
    1. HEALTH. During the registration procedures after the arrival, all incoming students should undergo the medical examination in the Hospital No 11 (3, Hetmana Street, phone: 456 40 66, exam hours: 13:00 – 14:00, Monday-Thursday). If any problems with the health will appear, incoming student should inform Academic Mobility Office, coordinator at the faculty/institute and professors (if courses will be skipped). All foreign students are registered in the Hospital No 11, so they can use the service of this clinic. Also, the obligatory condition for incoming students is the medical insurance. It is provided by one of Ukrainian insurance company and students can register and pay for the insurance in the Centre for International Education. 
    1. EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN UKRAINE AND KPI. The educational system in Ukraine is the following: School education is divided into Primary (1-4 forms), Secondary (5-9 forms) and High (10-11 forms). Students can leave school after 9th form and enter the college or continue to study and enter the university after 11th form. The Bachelor’s Degree programme lasts 4 years, Master’s Degree – 1.5-2 years.
      Igor Sikorsky KPI was one of the first Universities in Ukraine, that adopted the ECTS grading system. At the same time, our university, as many other Ukrainian universities, uses the traditional grading system. These systems have the following correspondence:

      95-100 – Traditional: excellent (5)
      85-94 – Traditional: very good (4)
      75-84 – Traditional: good (4)
      65-74 – Traditional: satisfactory (3)
      60-64 – Traditional: sufficient (3)
      <60 – Traditional: unsatisfactory/fail (2)

      The autumn semester in Ukraine traditionally starts in the first days of September and lasts until the end of December, with examination session after holidays – during January. The spring semester starts in February and lasts until the end of May, session – during June.
      The classes schedule is very different from one university to another. Igor Sikorsky KPI has adopted following schedule for all faculties and institutes:

      1 class – 8:30-10:05
      2 class – 10:25-12:00
      3 class – 12:20-13:55
      4 class – 14:15-15:50
      5 class – 16:10-17:45

      Students usually have from 1 to 4 classes a day.

    1. LEISURE. Kyiv, as a big capital city, offers a lot of opportunities to spend the free time for everybody; whether you like the active leisure, or relaxing – you will be pleased with Kyiv’s attractions a lot. To find your type of spending the free time, visit the link:
      Being an Igor Sikorsky KPI student, you have the chance to visit different events, organized by the Students’ Council (LINK). It organizes different sportive and cultural events, like “Battle of Faculties”, “Mister KPI”, “Queen KPI” etc. Don’t miss the chance to take part in the active student life in Ukraine!
  1. GENERAL ADVICE AND FACTS. Finally, we collected some minor, but very useful advice for you:
      • Learn Ukrainian or Russian language on the basic level, or use Phrasebook or online translators to communicate with locals. Many young people in Ukraine speak English, but the opposite situation with people who are a little bit older. Drivers and conductors in transport, many policemen and other servicepeople do not speak English at all. At the same time, local people are very hospitable, and will definitely help you.
      • If you are from Southern warm countries, you should think in advance about warm clothes. Winter in Ukraine can be very cold, so you should be ready to meet this climate and not to fall ill.
      • Academic Mobility Office, as the modern department, uses social networks to contact with Igor Sikorsky KPI students. We advise you to add the pages of our Office in Facebook, Instagram, Telegram into your list of friends to communicate with us faster.
      • If you need to wash or iron your clothes or bed sheets, you can go to the nearest laundry.  Two places where you can find laundromats on the territory of campus of Igor Sikorsky KPI are 8th and 19th Dormitories (LINK).
      • Note, that it is illegal in Ukraine to take any items of historical importance (badges, medals, icons, historical paintings etc) out of the country; the legal drinking and purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 18; drinking and smoking in public is not allowed; keep your passport with you, local police may ask to see your passport and visa at any time; always cooperate with local authorities; penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict; there is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Except these advice, you should know that due to the decommunization law, it is forbidden to use Soviet symbolic (mottos, anthems, emblems etc). Also, due to the Russian aggression, it is strongly recommended not to use Russian symbols (waving flags on the street, singing anthem, carry the yellow-black ribbon etc).
    • As in any other country, the possibility of petty theft exists – make sure to guard your bags and person, because pick-pocketing is possible in crowded metro stations. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others during payment processing. Never leave food or drinks unattended. Also, it is highly recommended not to eat the street fast food from kiosks, especially on the railway or bus station – you can be poisoned, the food there can be cooked in poor sanitary conditions. Travel by road can be hazardous: pedestrians should be particularly careful, because cars can drive risky. Despite, Kyiv is quite safety, it is better not to walk around the dark places after 9:00 PM, especially in far districts. 

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The prices in Ukraine are lower than in Europe. The national currency – hryvnia, UAH (click to see) – is only legal currency for payments. You can change the currency in the bank or exchange desk in the city (we do not advise you to change the currency in the airport, hotels or railway stations). You can usually withdraw hryvnias from ATMs, but some of ATMs do not support some types of cards. Below you can find the currency converter for you comfort:

Загружаем курсы валют от

For example, the average full lunch for the one person in the student’s canteen is for about 80 UAH, in cafe – from 150 to 300 UAH. The price for one public transport trip in Kyiv is for about 8 UAH, ticket for a train from Kyiv to other cities costs from 150 to 2000 UAH, for a plane – from 1000 to 6000 UAH. 

In 2018 British travel agency “Hoppa” put Kyiv to the first position in the list of the world’s cheapest travel destinations –

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The landscape of Ukraine consists mostly of fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus. Ukraine’s various regions have diverse geographic features, ranging from the highlands to the lowlands. The country’s only mountains are the Carpathian Mountains in the west, of which the highest is Hoverla with 2.061 meters, and the Crimean Mountains, in the very south along the seaside. 
Inadequate supplies of potable water, air- and water-pollution and deforestation, radiation contamination in the north-east from the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant are the major issues for Ukrainian ecology, but in general, ecological situation in Ukraine is quite good. Two-thirds of the country’s surface land consists of the so-called black earth, that has made Ukraine one of the most fertile regions in the world and well known as a “breadbasket”. Ukraine has a mostly temperate climate, with the exception of the southern coast of Crimea which has a subtropical climate. Average annual temperatures range from 5.5–7 °C in the north, to 11–13 °C in the south. There are more than 30 Natural reserve parks. One of the most famous is “Askania Nova” – the reserve that consists of a zoological park, a botanical garden, and an open territory of virgin steppes. The virgin forests of Carpathian Mountains were included into the list of UNESCO World Heritage. Also, there are a lot of arboretums and botanical gardens at the territory of Ukraine, like Holosievo in Kyiv, Sofiivka in Uman and Alexandria in Bila Tserkva.

Despite the effects from Chernobyl Catastrophe, nowadays, Kyiv is ecologically safety. With the great number of parks, forests and squares, Kyiv is very green and blossoming. CLICK to see the Ecological map of Ukraine.

In 2017, researcher Philipp Gärtner compared and analyzed satellite images of different European cities and identified Kyiv as the greenest city in Europe within cities with more than 2 million inhabitants –

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    • LANGUAGE. Ukraine has one official national language – Ukrainian, Eastern Slavic language with Cyrillic script. The second most spread language is Russian that is widely spoken in big cities and in Eastern and Southern regions of the country. Polish, Jewish, Crimean Tatar, Hungarian, Belarusian, Romanian, Slovak and Bulgarian are among other languages of ethnic minorities. 
      Ukrainian alphabet is Cyrillic with 33 letters. All official documentation, education process, diplomatic and parliamentary debates are on Ukrainian only. The language situation in Kyiv is very ambiguous. For many centuries, due to Russian policy in Ukraine, the main language in all big cities, including Kyiv, was Russian. The situation changed only after receiving the Independence. Ukrainian became more popular in the capital because of restoration of its prestige and status of the national language. Also, many students and workers from Western Ukraine came to Kyiv, so Ukrainian-speaking population in the city increased. But many locals use Russian as the language for everyday conversations. 
      Except Ukrainian and Russian, exists the mix of these two languages, so called ‘surzhyk’, which is very spread among people from countryside. Also, there are many dialects of Ukrainian, especially on Western Ukraine, where Poland, Hungary and Romania exchanged a lot of traditions and words with local Ukrainians.
      Click the LINK to find the Ukrainian and Russian phrasebook, that can be useful for you during your stay in Ukraine.
  • CULTURE. Ukrainian culture is very rich and begins from ancient times. Ukrainian customs are influenced by the Eastern Orthodox Church and traditions from Slavic mythology (MORE ABOUT UKRAINIAN CULTURE).
    Ukrainian names, as well as Russian and Belarusian, consists of the surname (family name, often derived from names of professions), name (mostly from Slavic and Greek origin) and patronymic (name of father with suffix “-vna” for women and “-vich” for men). Ukrainians call friends by name (or its derivatives), senior or higher-standing people – by name and patronymic (the most polite form of appeal). Second names are not typical. National holidays in Ukraine include:

New Year – January 1
Orthodox Christmas – January 7
International Women’s Day – March 8
Easter – April-May
International Workers’ Day – May 1
Victory Day – May 9
Pentecost – May-June
Constitution Day – June 28
Independence Day – August 24
Day of Defender of Ukraine – October 14
Catholic Christmas – December 25

Except these days, some traditional holidays (mostly related to Orthodox religion or ancient Ukrainian customs) are celebrated, like Maslyana (similar to Mardi Gras in France, day when people farewell with winter, eat pancakes and jump over bonfire), Ivan Kupala Day (related to the fest dedicated to good August harvest), Kolyada (Christmas eve tradition with sources from ancient pagan traditions, but rethought as the day when people walk around village with carnival, singing songs and hail the birth of Christ) and many others.

  • RELIGION. From ancient times, territories of modern Ukraine were inhabited by Slavic tribes. On the first stage of its existence, Kievan Rus had the Slavic pagan cult. Main gods were Perun, Yarilo and Dazhdboh. Kievan Rus was baptized into Christianity in 988 by Prince Vladimir the Great in Kyiv’s river of Pochaina. Nowadays, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Greek Catholicism and Roman Catholicism are the three most widely practiced religions in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the largest in the country. Faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the second largest, practice Byzantine rites, but are united with the Roman Catholic Church. Entering the Orthodox church, men should take off their head-wear, and women vice versa – wear the shawl. It is forbidden to speak loudly in churches and take photos with the flash. Judaism is practiced by Jews throughout Ukraine, Islam is practiced mostly in Crimea and Kyiv by Crimean Tatars. During the Soviet time atheism was very spread due to state anti-religious policy, so a lot of Ukrainians in modern Ukraine still follow this philosophy. By statistics, 67.3% of Ukrainian citizens are Orthodox, 18% are atheists or agnostics, 12% are Catholic, 2.5% are Protestants, 0.1% are Jews and 0.1% are Muslims.

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Information from resource

Despite the restless situation on Ukrainian East, Kyiv is the safety city. Hostilities are conducted at the distance of more than 700 km from Kyiv, so there is no occasion to worry. Ukraine is the state of law, Ukrainian police works to decrease the level of crime in cities, and it is it quite safety to walk Kyiv’s streets. Except this, there was not any act of terrorism in Kyiv.

Below you can see the infographics with comparison of the level of crime in Kyiv, London and Paris. Thus, we can state that our city is much more safe than other big European capitals.

However, you should always be attentive. Do not walk at night in the dark quarters and districts, especially those far from city centre; do not travel by the empty transport after 22:00; do not believe people on the street who ask you for help – it can be a criminal, who can easily rob or attack you. Last years, online and mobile frauds are very spread, so be attentive and always check the information. Avoid places with many drunken men (especially avoid walking at night at Friday or Saturday). We collected for you the list of addresses and phone numbers of all police departments in Kyiv city (FILE).

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About transport in Kyiv visit the link:
About ways how to get to Kyiv from Europe visit the link:

If you want to travel Ukraine and enjoy more cities and places of our wonderful country, you may use different types of transport:

    1. CARS. You can travel Ukraine by thumb, last years the hitchhiking became popular within young people in Ukraine. It can be tiring and sometimes thoughtless, but at the same time it is a cool adventure. You can also rent a car if you have the international driver license, know Ukrainian Trafic Regulations and have enough money. Visit links to find the best variant:
    2. BUSES. The roads in Ukraine are in fair conditions, but last years, Government try to invest more into road repair. You can travel by bus around all Ukraine, but be attentive, check the operator company ( The prices are low, but the comfort conditions can be poor. If you want to travel on short distances from Kyiv by bus, the only variant is suburban marshrutka that goes from one of metro stations to different villages and nearby cities. There are several bus stations in Kyiv, the main is Central Bus Station on Demiivska square.
    3. RAIL. Trains are the most popular transport for travelling throughout Ukrainians. Ukrainian national railway operator “Ukrzaliznytsia” (UZ) serves large amount of national railway routes. Trains are grouped by Night Rapid, Express and Suburban. Suburban train is called “elektrychka” it travels from large cities to nearby stations (not farther than 150-200 km). Night Rapid trains are the most widely spread. There are three tipes of classes – “SV” (very comfortable, two people in one compartment), “cupee” (the most popular, four people in one compartment, two lower and two upper beds) and “platzkart” – the cheapest one (without walls and doors, with additional side-beds).
      Expresses are the trains of “INTERCITY+” system. There are many routes from Kyiv to other country’s centres, like Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa, Dnipro etc. Modern trains equipped by European standards and run at the higher speed, up to 350 km/h.
      For more details about travelling by trains visit the link:
    4. AIR. Travelling by air in Ukraine is fast and safety. The main national airlines “Ukraine International” serves the majority of national flights (LINK). There are 9 international airports in Ukraine – Kyiv (KBP), Kyiv (IEV), Kharkiv, Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Lviv, Odesa, Chernivtsi and Zaporizhzhya. Usually, all the airports have comfortable connection with the city.Visit websites of Ukrainian international airports to find more information about travelling Ukraine by air:
  1. DESTINATIONS. In this section we collected several popular Ukrainian destinations to travel.
      • KYIV OBLAST (REGION). There are several interesting sights near Kyiv. Many extremals visit one of the most famous and moody place in the worls – the Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl. There are tours organized from Kyiv to abandoned cities of Chernobyl and Prypiat (visit the website – LINK). Some kilometers to the South East from Kyiv located “Manufaktura” outlet city – shopping centre architecturally designed in the old North European cities style (LINK). At the same direction form city you can visit the “Kyivska Rus” Park – the real-size model of the ancient Ukrainian town, where different festivals take place (LINK). To the South from Kyiv there is a big town Bila Tserkva with amazing “Oleksandria” Gardens, and nearby is the village Buky with its stunning park. Dozen kilometers from Kyiv Oblast to the south you can find the town of Uman, famous for its “Sofiivka” Dendrological Park and as the holy place for Hasidims. To the north from Kyiv city, in the village of Petrivtsi, located “Battle for Dnipro” diorama and the residence of President-escaper Viktor Yanukovich – “Mezhyhirya” Park.
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      • NORTHERN UKRAINE. The ancient city of Chernihiv is located in 150 kilometers to the North from Kyiv. Chernihiv was very important city of Kievan Rus, it is the big region centre with rich history. The same as Kyiv, it offers tourists many beautiful parks, panoramic views on wide river, as well as ancient monasteries, churches and mansions. You can take the bus to Chernihiv from “Chernihivska” or “Lisova” metro station. Also, not so far from Chernihiv, you can find old residence of Cossack Hetmans – town of Baturin.
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      • EASTERN UKRAINE. Despite the dangerous situation in Eastern part of our country, there are several big and safe cities, popular for tourists from different countries. The major city of Eastern Ukraine is Kharkiv – the historical capital of Soviet Ukraine. Kharkiv is famous for its massive Soviet constructivism architecture, blossoming parks and rich culture. Kharkiv metro, the same as Kyiv metro, is the example of rich marble and granite architecture. 
        The other one big and beautiful city of Eastern Ukraine is Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk). The city has the reputation of the major business centre of Ukraine. The same as Kharkiv, Dnipro has a lot of examples of massive and rich Soviet architecture, but at the same time there are a lot of modern business centres, as well as mansions from XIX century. One of the longest embankment in Europe is located here – it is really worth seeing. You can take the “Intercity” express train from Central Railway Station in Kyiv to Kharkiv or Dnipro every day. Not so far away from Dnipro, there is another old city – Zaporizhzhya – the historical centre of Sich, country of Ukrainian Cossacks, with its capital on the Khortytsia island.
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      • SOUTHERN UKRAINE. Ukraine is located on the shores of wonderful Black Sea and possesses many summer resorts. One of the most beautiful cities in all Ukraine, so called “Pearl on the seaside” is the worldwide famous city of Odesa. Odesa is known for its incredibly beautiful architecture of XVII-XX centuries, dizzy Potyomkin stairs from high city centre to the seaside and unrepeatable cultural mix of Russians, Ukrainians and Jews. Together with Lviv, Odesa is the most popular destination for holidays throughout many Ukrainians. You can take the “Intercity” express train from Central Railway Station in Kyiv to Odesa every day.
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      • WESTERN UKRAINE – LVIV. Lviv is the capital of Western Ukraine. In old times it was the major centre of Red Rus – the western part of Old Ukrainian state. Nowadays, Lviv has unique architectural style: each nation that ruled the city contributed into its atmosphere, so now Lviv is the mix of Polish, Austro-Hungarian, and Ukrainian. Except the stunning architecture of XVI-XX centuries, Lviv possesses incredible culture, its famous for its numerous cozy cafes and restaurants, fragrant coffee and very delicious chocolate. It is definitely worth visiting! You can take the “Intercity” express train from Central Railway Station in Kyiv to Lviv every day. 
        Except Lviv itself, you can take the guided tour around the Lviv oblast. There are a lot of ancient towns with breathtaking panoramas and old massive palaces, castles, and cathedrals.
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    • WESTERN UKRAINE – CHERNIVTSI. Western Ukraine offers many different places to visit and travel. The another one is the snug city of Chernivtsi. Sometimes, people call Chernivtsi as Little Lviv, because this city also has example of perfect old architecture. The most famous sight in Chernivtsi is UNESCO-protected heritage: Residence of Bukovina Metropolitans, now – Fedkovich National University of Chernivtsi. Also, you can take the tour from Chernivtsi to nearby towns of Khotyn and Kamyanets-Podilskyi, where located really impressive massive old castles. You can go to Chernivtsi by air or by night rapid train.
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