Last Updated: 06/24/19 | originally Posted: 08/29/2011
As a native English speaker, I hit the traveling jackpot. anywhere I go in the world, English is the lingua franca, as well as if anything’s ever in a second language, it’s always English.
In hostels, people usually converse with each other in English, which means I can always discover a conversation to join. I’m never restricted by language.
While there have been times where I’ve had to get innovative with nonverbal communication, for the most part, communication is much easier for me as an English speaker than it is for my buddies from Germany or Portugal.
At least, up until I went as well as visited Ukraine this month.
Out of all the countries I’ve been to, Ukraine ranks number one on the listing of locations where nobody seems to speak English.
It may noise like hyperbole to state that. surely some people must speak some English, right? A few do. Those who interact with tourists or work in worldwide restaurants can comprehend a few words.
But daily Ukrainians? The ones I encountered couldn’t even comprehend words like “water,” “train,” “bill,” or “thank you.”
Now, I’m not one of those tourists who demands the locals understand my language. I don’t truly expect anyone to be fluent in English, just as somebody from one more location wouldn’t expect me to be fluent in their language. however provided exactly how pervasive English is around the world, most people in major cities can state something.
One night, I was suggested a nice Ukrainian restaurant by my hostel owner in Kiev, as well as I asked the guy if they spoke English there. His response? “You’re in Ukraine, man. nobody speaks English here.”
But you understand what? The lack of English didn’t turn me off Ukraine.
In fact, dealt with with an incomprehensible script (Cyrillic) as well as nobody around to speak English with, I was really excited by Ukraine. While it was almost impossible to get around as well as request help, I looked at it as a challenge.
I spent 20 minutes staring at a train routine to figure out which train was mine. I got innovative when trying to speak to people, utilizing as many hand indications as well as drawings as possible. I directed a great deal at things I wanted. I had to pantomime “choo-choo” to get to a train station, compose numbers down for prices, as well as overall, just be extremely confused.
I liked the challenge. though I was only there for a week, I believe that’s why I liked Ukraine so much. It was a difficulty to travel around. It was an adventure. as well as for me, the bigger the experience as well as the higher the challenge, the more I feel like I’m traveling, discovering, as well as discovering about the world.
But Ukraine had a great deal more to offer than just a language barrier. I only saw Lviv as well as Kiev, however they were extremely fascinating cities (I liked Lviv more since of its old historical center). There was this mix of modernity, old Soviet architecture, as well as gorgeous parks. If I can state anything about the communists, it’s that they truly like to make parks.
Little babushka grandmothers walked next to women using Prada. The Russian Orthodox churches littering the country, with their gold plating as well as cone tops, were both opulent as well as symbolic of a deep sense of faith. as well as I truly liked Ukrainian food. I was surprised at exactly how flavorful it was. I was expecting a hearty, dull cuisine of meat as well as potatoes.
But the borscht, the potato dumplings, the blintzes, the meat — it was all delicious. The sour cream they put in it adds a wonderful structure to the soup. (For inexpensive as well as great Ukrainian food, eat at Puzata Khata, with locations all around the country.)
While I was in Kiev, I likewise satisfied up with a lot of Couchsurfers who took me to a Ukrainian university party.
Other than my Couchsurfer guide as well as one of her friends, nobody there spoke sufficient English to converse with. There was a great deal of equating involved.
And a great deal of vodka toasts.
The Ukrainians like their vodka. I believe to prevent uncomfortable silences triggered by the language barrier, we just toasted to things. We toasted as well much actually, as well as when I begin to sluggish down, they laughed as well as tried to feed me more vodka. I can’t hold my vodka in addition to a Ukrainian.
I never Ukraine expected would be so thrilling. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this big country, providing me lots of new things to do when I get back there. A week wasn’t even close to being enough.
But provided the language barrier, I believe I may requirement to discover some Ukrainian first.
“Na zdorovye” (“cheers”) will only get me so far.
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Book Your trip to Ukraine: Logistical tips as well as Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to discover a inexpensive flight. They are my two preferred browse engines since they browse websites as well as airlines around the globe so you always understand no stone is left unturned. begin with Skyscanner very first though since they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest stock as well as finest deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, utilize Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses as well as inexpensive hotels. My preferred locations to stay are:
Dream home Hostel.
Kiev central Station
Don’t fail to remember travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will protect you against illness, injury, theft, as well as cancellations. It’s comprehensive security in situation anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to utilize it many times in the past. My preferred business that offer the very best service as well as value are:
Safety Wing (for everybody below 70)
Insure My trip (for those over 70)
Medjet (for extra repatriation coverage)
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Looking for more info on visiting Ukraine?
Be sure to go to our robust destination guide to Ukraine for even more planning tips!