Life in Kharkiv

Privet! :)


Maybe you sent me an email about moving to Kharkiv or maybe you just stumbled across this post. Either way, you want to move to Ukraine, right? Awesome! 

If we haven't yet met: I'm Katherine and I once dragged my husband Denis off to live in Kharkiv, Ukraine for 8 months a few years. We don't live there anymore (sadness!!) but Ukraine is AWESOME and you should totally go there.


Kharkiv, aka Kharkov, is the second-largest city in Ukraine. (It's also the coolest, but I hear Dnipro is quickly catching up. If you want to see why Kharkiv is so cool, skip to this part.)

I hope that the information here will help you find a job, find an apartment, and get to know the beautiful city of Kharkiv. If you're planning to move to Kharkiv, drop me a line at katherine at streetrussian dot com and tell me about your adventure!

One last note: I haven't been to Ukraine since 2014. (Did I mention sadness?!!) This means I'm terribly out-of-date with any kind of visa info, sorry. In general, you'll probably be restricted to a 90-day visit unless you can get permission to stay longer. If you have questions about getting a work visa in Ukraine or getting some form of residency, I suggest registering at the expat.ua forum here to fully use the 'Visa and Immigration' section. There are lots of great questions + answers in that thread.

Obligatory photo tour-
Sumskaya street, the heart of downtown Kharkiv.
Freedom Square in 2013.
Suburban Kharkiv neighborhood.
Downtown Pushkinskaya street in March.
The remodeled Gorky Park.
"Monument to the Liberator Soldier" outside the 23 August metro stop.
Beer with my brother at Slavutich Shato.
Kharkiv's cable carts.
Preparations for a spring holiday in Freedom Square.
The famous Mirror Stream Fountain on Sumskaya street. If you get married in Kharkiv, you'll probably wind up here for pictures.
The entrance to one of Kharkiv's metro stations. Pretty cool, huh?
The Lopan river.

Bonus: If Trip Advisor made a music video about Kharkiv, it would result in this.

How to find a job in Kharkiv

Unless you get sent here by your company as some kind of sweet package deal, be prepared to teach English. Locals in Kharkov not only speak Ukrainian/Russian better than you do, but they also probably have a better education to boot :P That leaves little for foreigners to do but cash in on their native language skills. The good news: if you can string together a sentence, you can get a job.
Tons of language schools are listed on this website. Click on each school's link. Some school advertise their vacancies in English. If it's not in English, use Google translate or search the page for работа (work) or вакансии (vacancies) New schools pop up practically overnight, but the most established schools are: International House, English Town Rainbow, American English Center, Interlink, iLingua, Green Forest, WAY club, Biz Lang School, and Exclusive Language School. There's also a list of English schools on eslbase.com.
An ad for Just English It, one of the local schools
Dave's ESL cafe has a popular job board that's frequently updated.
Rabota.ua is a popular site that's updated frequently with new jobs. Same thing for work.ua and jobcast.com.ua. You should be able to find some teaching jobs by simply typing "English Teacher" in the поиск (search) box. Also, occasionally other jobs for native English speakers will be advertised. These usually involve call center work and you may luck out and be able to work from home. Look for jobs like these by entering "English" in the search box.
In the end, if you have the resources to just show up and start asking around, you'll find plenty of schools that are hiring. (But still, if you're moving overseas, think it through before you make the leap. At least make sure you've got an emergency fund in case things don't work out as expected.)
It may be possible to find a non-teaching job, but it's more difficult. I've heard of foreigners coming to Ukraine and landing IT jobs, for example. My husband went this route and even though he speaks Russian, it still took him about 4 months to find a position. Having foreign citizenship was a major hurdle for him; many companies were scared off by it. Just an FYI, the popular IT jobs at this moment involve PHP, Java, Oracle, and iPhone app development. Lots of web developer positions. On a positive final note- many IT jobs will be advertised in English (like these vacancies).

Useful posts from teachers:

*If you're looking for a job in another Ukrainian city (Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Dnipro, etc) click here. But come on, Kharkiv really is cooler than all those other places!*


How to find an apartment in Kharkiv

Local bulletin board advertising apartment rentals. Not an anomaly- they all look like this!
This can be tricky to do if you don't speak Russian or Ukrainian. There are several agencies here that will help you in exchange for a finder's fee (usually about 50% of one month's rent.) You may find that landlords don't want to rent to foreigners. Some landlords are courteous enough to put that in an ad so that you won't end up wasting your time contacting them. If you're curious as to why it's so difficult to rent as a foreigner, read the comments some Ukrainian friends left me.

Overall, you need to be patient and persistent. Take it from Joyce, a teacher in Kiev: "I don't know how many phone numbers my friends have called, how many brokers don't call back after learning I'm a foreigner, how many people are running scams, how many owners and brokers simply don't pick up the phone even though you're trying to see an apartment to rent it."
 
I like the websites below because they allow you to specify your search parameters: price, location, rooms, floor, etc. The bad news is that yep, they're in Russian. Google translate might help?
  • kharkovestate.com/ (click on сдам to find rentals. This site is like Craigslist, people can log on and post their own ads.)
  • kharkov-realter.com.ua/flats (default screen will show apartments for sale. Click the аредна box to see rental apartments. This site belongs to a realty service.)
Word-of-mouth is another popular method : ) Ask around or get online and start posting!
"Son, we're moving!" "To ХТЗ!"
Cheaper accommodations can be found in Холодна Гора and ХТЗ (tractor factory). Салтовка is also a popular residential area. My ideal part of town is Проспект Гагарина because it's near the city center but still affordable and has many things within walking distance (supermarkets, the circus, downtown, river & park...) In my experience, a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment will cost between 2000 and 5000 uah a month, more for a luxury place. For more details, check out my Ukrainian housing post or our story of finding an apartment in Kharkov. For a horror story, read how we fell for an apartment scam in 2013.
There's a continual cycle of building (but not necessarily finishing...)

Explore Kharkov:

Kharkiv Parks:
★  Alley of Glory / Artem Park (near Moskovski Proskpekt metro station)
Atop the Gorky Park Ferris wheel
★  Gorky Park (Sumskaya Street, downtown) (click here for the "Park" movie theater)

★  Grigorovski Forest (in Holodna Gora)
★  Youth Park (in Holodna Gora)
  Саржин Яр (near ботанический сад metro)
  Shevchenko Park (downtown)

  Зелений гай (near Proletarska metro station)
  Zhuravlevsky hydropark (a long walk from Kievska metro station)  

58 Places to Eat & Drink:
1. Antalya
2. Anti-cafés (Oblomov, Doma, Liberty)
3. Barabashova Café (2
4. Beirut
     Bier Gasse closed
     Cafe-bar Maybe closed
5.  Cafe-bar People
6.  Capri Pizza
7.  Churrasco Bar
     Cinema Café closed? Looks like it's since become a second Churrasco Bar location.
8.  Cipollino Pizzeria
9.  Coffee Life
10. Coffee Time
11. Факел Kaфе (Lighthouse Café) 
12.  Fansipan Vietnamese Café
13.  French Bakery
14.  Гигант Nightclub (Giant)
15.  Gogol Café
       Grill House Bistro gone, unfortunately. Something called "Sandwich Club" is now there instead
       Jazzoff Jazz Cafe now a cheap pizza / beer joint by the same name
16.  Jazzster
17.  Кафе Ной (Cafe Noah)
18.  Kharkiv Palace (2)
19.  Китайская кухня Лебедь (Chinese Kitchen Swan) Красноармейская 15 location now closed
20.  КоКАВА (KoKAWA)
21.  Кофея Coffee Shop
22.  кулиничи
23.  La Crêperie
24.  Lounge Cafe
25.  Lviv Chocolate Workshop
26.  McDonalds (more!)
27.  Mafia 
28.  Mexico House
29.  Мiсто
30.  Mojito bar at Radmir :(
31.  Обломов (Oblomov Anti-cafe)
32.  Paris
33.  Parma
34.  Paprika
35.  Patrick Irish Pub
36.  Печка Лавочки 
37.  Pivbar Soyuz 
38.  Pizza Felice 
39.  Pizza Колдун 
40.  Pizza Maranello
41.  Pushka
42.  Rivoli Art Café
43.  Shish Kebab Palace 
44.  Sky Lounge Bar (in Kharkiv Palace Hotel)
45.  Stargorod
46.  Sutra Bar Pacha Mama 
47.  СушиЯ (SushiYa)
48.  Taki Maki
49.  Тануки
50.  Twenty Two pub
51.  Час поїсти (Time to Eat)
52.  Шато (and again)
53.  Шоколадка Coffee Shop
54.  Шоти
55.  Умами (Umami)
56.  Viennese Coffee Shop
57.  Yakatoria  
58.  44 Favorite Place

What to do in Kharkiv:

Admire the train station
Avoid killer icicles
Bowl at Holiday
Browse the AVEK Gallery
Buy books and Soviet memorabilia
Catch a cable cart across town 
Cheer on Metalist at a home game

Dance in Gorky Park after dark 
Do the Harlem Shake 
Dodge large predators at the zoo
Eat шаурма
Estudiar español 
Explore Prospekt Gagarina
Go horseback riding in the forest

Ice skate at Шато Ледо (or catch an IMAX film!)
Interview at a marriage agency
Learn some Russian (2)
Make borsch
Order groceries online 
Paraglide!
Plan a picnic 
Race in go carts (summer only)
Rent a rowboat (summer only)
Ride the metro
Stay home and watch the Freedom Square webcam
Swim at Dolphinarium Nemo
Take in a performance at the Kharkov State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater (aka ХАТОБ)
Tour Kharkov (2)
Travel to Poltava
Walk downtown
Watch movies with the SciFi move club
Window shop at the Caravan/Daffy shopping complex
Visit the Bridge of Love (2) (3)

Other Stuff

  • Tons of useful info on the Peace Corps Ukraine page (ie, can I buy popcorn in Ukraine? what should I wear to work? what's the voltage? etc.)
  • expatua.com/forum usually offers a lot of conversations between the naive and the cynical. Some amusing / informative reading.
Just another glamorous Kharkov winter :p

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