Reviews by experienced expats
LIEV – Review of the locals in Ukraine #3 – Metrolity
Positive features: Stoic, Tough, Loyal, Family oriented, Loving
Negative features: Closed, Low self-esteem, Indifferent, Cunning, Suspicious
Coming from a southern US background, I’ve been conditioned to be friendly and open, with lots of smiles and good cheer, and to form alliances quickly..even with strangers. Lviv couldn’t be more opposite.
For the most part people are stoic, emotions are hidden, and lives are closed, until you become a known and trusted acquaintance. They think you’re either crazy or dishonest if you are too friendly too soon. That said, friendships here have value. You can depend on your friends here. But of course that obligates one to be available in kind. Unlike my hometown which is populated by majority transients, who when compared to Ukrainian friends would be considered “fair weather” friends.
I felt brutalized after my first few encounters with indifferent and seemingly hostile service personnel. Though after repeated visits to the same shops they warm up considerably. Some customers (especially babushyas) seem to have not learned the concept of a que or line and will step in front of you quite aggressively. I’ve found that when asked for directions etc strangers are quite suspicious upon first encounter, but once they’re convinced you are no threat, are more than willing to help.
Gender norms fall along traditional lines. Women are feminine and the men are masculine..generally speaking. A few of American friends and I share a similar experience. When we asked our wives for help with solving a problem, they all responded with “you’re a man, figure it out.” A man is expected to solve problems and be competent. Period! An American woman would be miffed should her husband make any decisions without consulting with her, but here it is the norm. The man is the head, the woman the neck.
Anecdote: My bank cards were cancelled and I had no money. I told my landlord about my situation and he not only accepted a delay in payment but fed me, and helped me with some day to day things, my language teacher (landlords cousin) and her family brought a wonderful meal to me, along with offers of help. The people who lived next door also invited me over for dinner a few times and a couple of good bottles of Harilka and cognac. My girlfriend of one week gave me a thousand hryvnia,which is a huge amount of money when the average monthly wage is around 8000 Hryvnia. I have rarely experienced such kindness and generosity.
Eric - USA
Eight years as a child of a US soldier in Germany, built a gentleman’s ranch/farm in a small Pueblo in Jalisco, Mexico, a few months in Thailand, and visited most countries of Europe. Now retired with resident status in Lviv, Ukraine, and married to a Ukrainian woman.
KIEV – Review of the locals in Ukraine #2 – Metrolity
Positive features: Generous, Flexible, Proud, Direct, Love children
Negative features: Crafty, Overbearing, Pushy, impatient, can appear lackadaisical
Ukrainians are usually very helpful. While it is initally difficult to make deep friendships, once you’ve cracked the shell you’re a friend for life. Ukrainians are very generous towards their friends but suspicious towards others. The older generation is always happy to give advice, even when unasked for but they have wealth of experiences that few Westerners can even imagine.
Anecdote: My husband lost his wedding ring on a local playground. We searched for hours and didn’t find it. We made signs and posted them, offering a reward. A man found it and called and returned it – refusing the reward but accepting a bottle if Irish Whisky (where we are from).
Sarah - USA
Married and living in Kiev for twelve years and with children for eight years.
KIEV – Review of the locals in Ukraine #1 – Metrolity
Positive features: Friendly, Quiet, Religious, Open minded, Lovers of Vodka 😁😁😁
Negative features: Not many of them speaks English, Drinking problems for 25% of the population, Not good driver
Ukrainian people are very friendly and opened (especially to European or Americans). They want to be part of Europe and to leave from the soviet way of life. That’s why a foreigner in Kiev will be not face any problem since he is not looking for troubles of course.
The city is just fantastic. Very beautiful and very green. Cost of life 3-4 times less than any European country and the quality of life is the same like in any European country. Much more safe than the rest of the big European capitals despite the fact that the country is in big conflict with Russia. In Kiev you will not understand nor even 1 second that the country is in war. The amount of super luxary cars can only be compared with Monaco or Dubai.
A lot of nice restaurants, bars, clubs, excibitions, will make your days interesting. And of course in Kiev (and in Ukraine in general) you will see the most beautiful women in Europe. Very beautiful and very kind.
Tasos<br /> - Greece<br />
Owner of T&T group if companies<br />
I am living in Kiev since 2015 and I am visiting the city since 2010. I am married with Ukrainian woman and I have a son 3,5 years old with her. I own 25%of an Ukrainian film and advertising production company and I also have a company with my wife and were we open companies for foreigners and provide them with work permit and permission for living for 3 years.