Ukraine is unique and BYU is fantastic Past Review

By (FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES/HUMAN SCIENCES., Brigham Young University) - abroad from 05/01/2013 to 07/26/2013 with

Brigham Young University: Ukraine - International Connection Internship

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I am grateful for what I learned with regards to life skills and working with kids. I know I needed to learn these things. I gained a whole new appreciation for where I am from while expanding my outlook on life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The BYU part of the internship was wonderful. My assignments were explained really well and helped me fully immerse myself in this experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The coordinators came from International Connection and the actual individuals were very kind and willing to help, but things were lost in translation and there was a lack of organization. Our schedules were changed all the time and it was hard to get onto any sort of regular schedule.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment is wonderful, but the area location is not fantastic. It takes us an hour and a half to get anywhere in the city. Looking back I don't think I would wish to live closer to downtown just because it is quieter out here, but other's might not want to travel so much.

* Food:

I love the food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I would suggest taking a language course in Russian before coming.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

It isn't that I didn't feel safe, but people need to be careful. I have had quite a few incidents with drunk people and a couple vulgar men. These things could happen in any large city though so just be safe and stay with someone. Most people are there to help you, not harm you so look for an older lady and walk by her if you get nervous.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

When we were actually in Ukraine it was pretty easy to live on a student budget. The food is cheep, but you have to pay for public transportation any time you go somewhere. We spent between $1.50 and $3.00 every day on the transportation which adds up over the course of three months. Also as part of our program we were traveling to other countries once a month and we were not told before hand that only the minimal amount of sights and hotels were paid for. No museums were paid for and major attractions including Pisa while in Italy were an extra cost to us (for example, Pisa was another 35 euros).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? In Ukraine I was able to spend under 50 dollars. This is transportation money and food money.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The restaurants that you can find in America (e.g. T.G.I Fridays, McDonald's, etc.) are much more expensive than the traditional Ukrainian places.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We had a couple language classes while we were here (as part of the International Connection program), but the most helpful things we learned were just by sheer desperation. I would suggest a basic language course before coming. Know the alphabet and basic conversation because we were encouraged to use the language, but we didn't have anything to go off of.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I haven't taken anything in Russian
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Locals
  • The Kids
  • The Holidays
* What could be improved?
  • The Organization (International Connection's part. BYU's part is extremely organized and helpful)
  • The language preparation. There should definitely be at least a little knowledge of Russian.
  • The hidden costs. Transportation and traveling expenses add up.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Ukraine is nothing like the European places I have seen before. It has a very unique history and these people's lives are incredible and hard. I was not prepared to see some of the sadness that I was engrossed in, but there is beauty in their struggle that you can't see anywhere else. As far as International Connection goes I would have liked to know that my local coordinator does not speak much English so we are working through local translators who try really hard, but sometimes miss things. I would also have liked to know the language and how much money I would be expected to spend once I was here.