Teach English in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine
Flag of Ukraine

Ukraine is one of the oldest places in the world. Over 500 cities were built more than 900 years ago; that is before Christopher Columbus even set eyes on the continent of America! Unique archeological excavations abound from Greek ruins dating back to 400 BC to 14th outdoorsmen there is plenty for you too. With 33 nature reserves, national parks and biospheres, hiking and camping in breathtaking locations like the Carpathian Mountains can be found in abundance. Teaching English among Ukraine's history and natural beauty could be the best choice you ever made.

March 4, 2014: Due to recent events, please consult the U.S. Embassy in Kiev's website for updates on safety and security before deciding to teach abroad in Ukraine.

Kiev
Kiev
  • Peak Hiring Times: Classes begin late-August to September and again mid-January to early February.
  • Average Monthly Salary: Many schools base pay on the number of classes taught per week, so it may vary month to month. An average for someone teaching 20 classes per week would be $1000 USD per month.
  • Average Cost of Living in this Country: The average monthly cost of living is about $700 USD using Numbeo.com.
  • Save or Break Even? Likely break even unless you are a frugal individual.
  • Visa: To live and work in the Ukraine, individuals must first obtain a work permit and then apply for an IM-1 visa (work visa) and then a temporary residency permit. Obtaining a work permit requires the assistance of an employer and upon receiving one, foreigners are required to leave the country to apply for their work visa. Many travel to nearby Poland to apply. Visit TryUkraine.com to review the entire process.
Private Elementary/High Schools

English teachers at private elementary schools and high schools enjoy the benefit of teaching several hours daily in classrooms, generally the same hours every week. Teachers are usually required to have a TEFL certification although some schools require a bachelor's degree. Hiring begins at the start of each semester, January/February and August/September. The pay is enough to live modestly. Check out the highly acclaimed International Baccalaureate school in Kiev for openings.

Language Centers

Language centers are a popular option for teaching English in the Ukraine. Because they are not tied to school semesters, classes start year round. There are several throughout the country in the larger cities of Kiev and Dnipropetrovsk and a few of the smaller cities like Lugansk. Most require a TEFL or CELTA certificate. The majority of classes are in the evenings. Types of classes include group discussions, corporate lessons, adult classes, children's classes, and English classes emphasizing professions such as restaurants, hospitality or medicine. A few schools with locations throughout the country are Native English School, AEC, International House Kyiv, Cicerone, and British Council.

Private lessons

Another common way to teach English and earn money in the Ukraine is through private lessons. Even if an individual teaches for a language center or at a private institution, they will likely supplement their income with private lessons. Private students are often obtained through tutoring current students, friends of students or recommendations. Private lessons start year round. Read this helpful account of an English teacher's average week in the Ukraine. It is worth a read.

Students in Ukraine
Students in Ukraine
When and Where to Look for Jobs

English teaching jobs can be found throughout Ukraine but larger cities generally have more schools and language centers. The capitol Kiev, with its picturesque parks, monasteries and monuments, is filled with schools and opportunities to teach. Odessa is the self-proclaimed "capitol of humor" and deemed the Ukrainian Paris. Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhye are other cities where teaching English is popular. Teachers can either find a job online beforehand or find a job within 90 days of staying in the country visa-free. August and January are ripe with teaching positions while in the summer there is a hiring lull. TryUkraine for a small fee offers to place teachers' information in a database for schools to review and use for hiring.

Qualifications

Most private schools and language centers require their teachers to have a TEFL/TESOL certification. More renowned schools or higher education establishments desire a bachelor's degree. A few institutions like the British Council and International House Language School have TEFL/CELTA certification programs, but none offer guaranteed teaching positions.

Salary & Cost of Living
Red onions for sale in Ukraine
Red onions for sale in Ukraine

English teachers in the Ukraine make about $1000 USD per month with an hourly pay ranging from $10 to $25 USD. Teachers are responsible for their own airfare, accommodations and living expenses. Earnings are low, but the cost of living in the Ukraine is low as well. Numbeo.com is a great resource when researching the cost of living in particular countries. The average monthly rent for an apartment in a city center is about $425 USD while outside the city center rent can dip down to $275 USD. The cost of a monthly public transportation pass is about $12 USD, an inexpensive restaurant meal $6 USD, and a beer $1 USD.

Classroom & Work Culture
  • Student-Teacher Relationships: There are no strict societal rules in the Ukraine on student-teacher relationships. Sometimes students and teachers interact outside of class as many students are adults and friendships can form.
  • Dress code: There is no particular dress code for teachers in Ukrainian schools. Generally clothes should be clean and neat without tears or dirt. "Smart but casual is the general rule for most teaching jobs in Ukraine," says International House Kiev.
  • Greetings: Greetings in the Ukraine consist of a firm, warm handshake with eye contact, and each individual repeats their own name during the handshake.
Why Teach in Ukraine?

Ukraine may not be your typical teach abroad destination, but with its rich and long history, and castle dotted landscapes, it's sure not to disappoint. However, teachers should be aware of the current political situation before committing.

Photo credits: Kiev. St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, Ukraine Students, and Ukraine, Yalta Red Onions.


Contributed by Alecia Weaver

Alecia Weaver recently finished work as Post Production Coordinator for the new Fox television series "Enlisted." A certified yoga instructor, her next adventure of learning and love will take her through Bali, Thailand and Cambodia. Follow her on twitter @alecia4444.

Do you think there is something missing in our guide to teaching in Ukraine? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.

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