Work and Travel in Ukraine
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN UKRAINE FOR TRAVELLERS
To many casual observers around the world, Ukraine is known as the home of Chernobyl and, more recently, for its continued tensions with Russia. It suffices to say Ukraine has a bit of an image problem.
But backpackers in the know have been drawn to “the breadbasket of Europe” for decades due to its cheap cost of living, beautiful nature, and modern bars and restaurants.
Prices have risen in the last few years as the best-kept secret in work and travel has gotten out. But plenty of great opportunities are still available for the intrepid backpacker.
Read our travel guide below to figure out how you can work and travel successfully in Ukraine.
1. Teach English
Like in many other countries, being a native English speaker can be a great asset in your quest to earn money while travelling. If you have a TEFL certification, you stand to command even higher pay. There’s also a lot of variety in the opportunities available for teaching English. Courses can be online, in a children’s school, at a summer camp, or even directly in a family’s home.
2. Work in a hostel, bar or restaurant in a city centre
Due to its notorious affordability, Ukraine’s major cities such as Kyiv and Lviv have become must-stops on the budget backpacker trail in Eastern Europe. Working travellers should have little trouble finding work in a hostel or bar, and speaking English comfortably will be a big asset for you. Bring your skills with you such as mural painting and learn new ones such as mixing drinks.
3. Volunteer at a summer camp in the Carpathian Mountains
It is a common Ukrainian tradition to send children into the mountains for fresh air and excursions during the summer months. Working travellers can utilize a variety of skills at these camps - teaching English or arts and crafts, leading treks, swims, or horseback rides, or playing the guitar around the campfire. Even just knowing how to build that campfire successfully is enough to qualify you for this unique work and travel opportunity.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR UKRAINE
Citizens of the EU, Canada, the USA and many other nations can stay without visas for up to 90 days. Citizens of Australia and New Zealand need a visa, as does anyone intending to work, study, take up permanent residency or stay for more than 90 days. Some visa-on-arrival arrangements for tourists are available at major airports and seaports; check before departure. See HERE for more information.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN UKRAINE
Ukraine’s climate can be rather extreme, with high temperatures in the summer and cold snows in winter. Generally, spring is quite lovely, though. The country is very fertile so working travellers interested in gaining farming experience should consider heading to one of the many farms in the region this time of year. If you have skills working with farm animals, you’ll be a big asset to farmers. Most farms have several horses, pigs, cows, shepherding dogs, and sometimes even buffalo.
Book up work with summer camps for a unique and fun experience working with children. Head to the resorts in the mountains, lakes, or rivers to work in hospitality accommodating vacationers. Farms and conservation projects will be in full swing.
Wheat, nuts, and apple trees are harvested in autumn, so if fruit picking is your skill as a working traveller then you’ll find ample opportunities in Ukraine now. If you’re interested in teaching English in a formal school, you should be preparing your applications in advance of the beginning of the academic year.
Winters in Ukraine are always snowy, so take advantage and head to ski resorts to work as an instructor, rental technician, or chalet support (cooking, cleaning, etc).
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN UKRAINE
Ukraine is a country with a very colourful culture, and Ukrainians are immensely proud of it. The people are quite hospitable - if you happen to stay at somebody’s place you’ll be treated well. Make sure to return the hospitality by being a good guest.
Despite the western media’s reports, Ukraine is generally safe, even in the cities. As usual, exercising caution and using common sense at night should be a given, i.e. don’t flash wads of cash around.
Ukrainians are by now used to welcoming foreigners to their country, so working and travelling here in that respect should be a breeze.
Now that you’ve learned the facts, are you ready to start working and travelling in Ukraine?