Expats in Kyiv: how to embrace all new changes

A colorful map of the world stretches lazily across the wall of the room. It’s spread widely, and is attractive with the chaotic nature of the lines and unusual forms. Infused with thousands of ropey river, scattered with bottomless seas and oceans. And it hides the entire planet with its extraordinary beauty and unexpected dangers. Sitting on the sofa in front of this colorful wall, you can long explore the contours of thin borders, between dozens of countries.

As we go on and on and on, we start traveling, imagining all the new places that call to us. In this flight, we stumble slightly on a relief and a very special point, proudly on the territory of Ukraine. This miracle that came out of nowhere is our favorite Kyiv. Kyiv is an incredible city. This is our own “New York”, with thousands of sounds and voices, people and transportation, islands of nature, and continents of urbanism. Of course, there is a huge collection of Ukrainians from different cities. Along with them, foreigners from all over the world are discovering this city, which will be their home for the next year or two, maybe forever.

You can make your first acquaintance with city by reading the useful article RELOCATION TO KYIV: A SHORT GUIDE.

So does it feel like to be an expat in a foreign country? What do you do when you’re in a new environment? How do you adapt and make it your own? The question interests not only Kyiv expats, but all of us. As we all know, wherever you are, you want to feel comfortable. By no means is it always easy.

The wide diversity of countries, cultures, mentalities, and conventional notions pushes a person to go along the path of a baby learning to walk. The only difference is that the child does it unconsciously, but the newcomer is less fortunate. Or maybe more?

At the same time, the process of finding, becoming, and adapting oneself in a new environment is fascinating. It’s like you’re exploring this new microcosm and launching your smiling face into orbit.

There is no standard instruction, but you can find a lot of information about a future house online. At the very least, such a step will help you find the ground under your feet to continue and relieve yourself of trivial stress. The rest you can get from the experience of other people – their useful tips and ways they’ve improved their lives in Kyiv.

New game – new rules


What difficulties may arise when moving to Ukraine? When moving to Kyiv, questions will arise at all stages. How to do as much as possible? How can you get used to a new life? At the same time, starting from scratch is an attractive prospect that will replenish your bag of jewels called the “life-changing experience.” Remind yourself that moving abroad requires patience and time to understand what kind of game it is, who the players are, and to get acquainted with some rules. Fortunately, Kyiv delights with a vast international community and gradually makes the city and infrastructure comfortable for its residents from Ukraine and other countries.

How to become happy in a foreign country?


Simply! Find here what brings you this fantastic feeling. Statistics will not lie: more than 60% of people consider an international living experience as positive. And so, do not set yourself up for the bad. Look ahead. There are more than enough of them in Kyiv. Every time you change the place and environment of your life, you challenge yourself. This is a way out of the comfort zone and, of course, can add a lot of stress and anxiety. The whole palette of emotions will be yours. It should not be an obstacle, but on the contrary, it is a sign that you are doing everything right. Remember, your life will remain yours, even in another city on another continent.

Planning here and planning there


Use planning to cope with stress, boredom, anger, fear, and apathy. What could this be? 

First of all, put in order your documents required to travel abroad. During a pandemic, this is extremely important. Requirements may change or new documents may be needed. Pay attention to this.

Organize your budget and organize travel and transportation.

Learn more about the new country and city, in particular: values, traditions, habits, language, history, etc. This way, you will be able to calm down and feel more confident.

The main thing is the language. When you know the language, you can adapt fast. Find your way, your hobby in a foreign country.

Elizabeth (Poland)

Meet the locals


When communicating with other people, we go through different stages, which is quite normal. Everyone is different, and it’s important to remember this in order to remove excessive bias and debunk imposed stereotypes. To fit into another environment is another challenge. It would be best to observe more, notice, try to understand people’s behavior, and open up to new acquaintances. When you are away, it isn’t easy to take friends with you.


Changes ordered?


The feeling of change is an entirely natural process. It’s better to accept it than to resist. Everything will be easier and more pleasant. Whether you are moving with your family or alone, adaptation begins with a decision. It will be beneficial for you to use this valuable experience to the maximum.

Knock-knock, I’m your new home


Adaptation to life in Kyiv, of course, begins with housing. Finding the desired apartment for rent is not easy. Don’t want to overpay? Get to know about this first: DO EXPATS IN KYIV PAY TOO MUCH RENT.

How to search correctly? Pay attention to the current issues in our blog about house hunting. Who should you contact? Should you try doing it yourself? Finding an apartment in Kyiv alone has some risks. Suppose you want to find a comfortable apartment that fits your needs – Vestor.Estate will be able to solve this critical task. We will find your accommodation in the most comfortable area to live in the historical city center. The intensity and all the colors of Kyiv life will become your neighbors. In such favorable conditions, you will feel more accessible and faster, like a fish in water. Moving into your cozy dream home, you will get the usual dose of peace and pleasure.

Be good with your smartphone. If you’re entirely new, the safest neighborhoods are in the center. If you want to network, Facebook groups like Kyiv Expats are good. There are also get-togethers like the Big Meet. Using smartphone apps like Duolingo to learn some Ukrainian or Russian, or become fluent, is also really helpful. Working as an English teacher is relatively easy to find and is a great way to meet people.

Podol is my favorite district. Dining is excellent in Kyiv, both for Ukrainian food and international food. Apartments, and landlords and brokers, can be very tricky. Make sure you are working with reputable people, like the ones on this site.

Tips from Kyiv expat David (USA)

The expat community is the first support


Many people live in Kyiv, so try to contact expats upon arrival. Meeting people with the same experience will benefit you and help you overcome melancholy and helplessness. Their adventures, tips, and opinions will give you a broader view of the environment. But do not limit yourself only to this circle of communication, in your native language. Do not deprive yourself of a significant experience – meet people, expand your vision and opportunities.


Learn the Ukrainian language


It is much easier to start learning the local language than you think. Start small. Learn the most necessary phrases for greetings, shopping, asking for help. Translators will be the first tool to help with this. It takes time and patience to overcome the language barrier. You can start learning a new language from the moment you decide to move. Master the basics with a native speaker or join online programs – it’s a great way to learn the language.

In general, when moving to a new city, making friends with locals is useful. Like in coffee shops and parks, frequent places are good options to get to know people if bars aren’t your scene. Having a dog or speaking English is useful for having people start a conversation with you. If you don’t want random people to talk to you, avoiding both things in public is a good way to stay under people’s radar. If you don’t speak the language, learn a few key phrases like “please, thank you, and I don’t understand.” Some other phrases might be useful for shopping and ordering at restaurants. Still, if you pay attention, you can pick things up pretty quickly.

RaeAnne (USA)

Explore the city


To adjust to life in the new country, choose local places of interest, such as restaurants, pubs, and cafes, where Kyiv residents go. Local cuisine will help you get to know the country by taste. Nature, entertainment, historical monuments, events, trips, people, music… You will be able to find your tribe, feel closer to culture and people.

Our lists can go on indefinitely, but this is only one side of the move. The other is entirely individual. It depends on our character, goals, desires, upbringing, and past life. Be that as it may, most Kyiv expats are positive and often remain permanent residents at this point on the map. It would seem that Kyiv is so small on paper, surrounded by a web of other cities, countries, and borders.


Kyiv has a big heart that sincerely and passionately loves its residents. Some training and knowledge will help expats get started, and then you will gain your own personal and unique experience. And this will be your Kyiv history.

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