You know, for people who have the hardest time permitting their children to attend sleepovers, inter-state excursions and any program not designed for the church or mosque, Nigerian parents are awfully trusting when their children decide an education abroad is what they want to spend a few years of their lives pursuing.
And when it comes to the holy trinity of Nigerian parent dreams for their children’s futures – engineers, lawyers and doctors, you can be sure The US, The UK and Ukraine will get no objections from Daddy Junior when those international school brochures start landing in the mail. Which brings us round to Ukraine.
If you’re Nigerian, you may have noticed an interesting uptick in your younger peers and family members, uploading pictures to their socials with an abroad-looking sky (you know what I mean), and a location tag that says ‘Ukraine’. More often than not, this peer is usually in the Ukraine to study medicine, contributing to the country’s notoriety as a medical education destination.
But should you spend your coins investing in a medical education in Ukraine? We investigated. But first, a little about Ukraine.
What exactly is Ukraine’s gist?
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, with a population of over 41 million people. Interestingly, the Ukranian population has experienced a steady dip. In 2013, their number were a little above 44 million, but high emigration and death rates, with a confounding low birth rate have contributed to its steady decline.
The people of Ukraine speak Ukranian as a first language, while some native speakers know Russian as a second language. So if you’re planning on moving there, now is not the time to ignore DuoLingo’s very manipulative practice prompts.
The country is fairly young, knowing independence for just 29 years and it is bordered by 7 countries – Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldovia.
Now that you know a little Ukranian trivia, let’s hop on to the question any aspiring medical student would want to know
Why should I spend my coins on a Ukranian medical education?
Let’s make this simple. You already know the exchange rates of the Naira to the Dollar and Pound, so no need to rehash horror stories. The Ukranian Hryvnia however, goes for an interesting ₴1 to 14 Naira. Now look at these stats.
Average medical tuition fees in the US: $37,556 (public, in-state) to $62,194 (public, out-of-state)
Average medical tuition fees UK: £20,590 per year for the first two years, then over £40,000 for years 3, 4 and 5 for non-EU students i.e you.
Average medical tuition fees Ukraine: around $4000 – $4500 for studying in English and even cheaper in Russian or Ukranian (again, double up on DuoLingo hustle).
Put simply, with a Ukranian medical degree, you enjoy the benefits of being able to apply for a medical job anywhere in the world, for a sizable fraction of the cost.
Also important is the fact that admission into Ukranian medical schools does not require entrance examinations, a big deal when you consider that foreign counterparts like the US require the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), likewise the UK’s UKCAT (United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test).
Not so shabby, no? We’ll see.
What else is great about Ukraine?
Its cost of living
Ukraine is a relatively cheap place to live, emphasis on the relative. To get a decent accommodation, fully furnished in places other than its capital Kiev like Chenrnihiv, Lviv, Rivne, can set you back around $250-$400 per month. While housing in its capital- Kiev can cost around $400-$600 per month.
This relative low cost stretches to its services, like haircuts, tailoring, manicures, shoe repairs.
The Ukranian transport system
Ukraine is navigable via trolleybus, tram, bus and in some parts, metros. These costs are also relatively low with a bus, metro or trolleybus ride within the city averaging around 8 UAH or ₦112.
The Ukranian Instagram flex is unmatched
Ukraine is full of historical sites which in millenial speak translates to hella Instagrammable spots.
Ukraine is home to 7 UNESCO world heritage sites, gorgeous cathedrals like Saint Sophia’s in Kiev. Museums, a dolphinarium and plenty historical buildings.
What’s not so great about Ukraine?
First off, Eastern Ukraine has spent the better part of the last six-years embroiled in a crisis. As of April 2020, the UN estimated that 3.4 million Ukranians were in need of humanitarian assistance. This means that a large portion of the country is displaced and in the middle of cripplng conflict.
I don’t know how else to put this but, racism and xenophobia are so entrenched in the Ukranian culture, it has its own Wikipedia page.
A quick scan through Nairaland, discussions with past inhabitiants of Ukraine and a simple Google search will reveal some overt and covert instances of racism in the country.
From locals giving non-locals a wide berth in public transportation, to targeted police attacks on immigrants. Worthy of note is that the Ukranian police is also notoriously corrupt and prone to asking and recieving bribes It is unrelenting and a scary situation to be in.
What Should I know about studying in Ukraine?
If you are undeterred by the bad,and wish to pursue an education in Ukraine, you should know:
Admission is gotten courtesy agents or contractors
As mentioned earlier, no admission examinations are required for medicine or engineering courses. However, a small business, based off of cheating aspiring students of their money, with no admission to show for it is brewing. Extra care should be taken to source admission from only well known agents.
There are English-speaking schools in the region
Learning Ukranian or Russian isn’t a prerequisite, as teaching programs allow for English language learning. However, a quick ask around revealed that some of the University tutors may not be entirely proficient in the English language, leading many students to source for translations to academic teachings on their own.
You’re going to need to meet the following requirements before a Ukranian visa can be granted to you: an admission letter, valid passport, birth certificate, passport photograph, sponsorship letter, sponsor’s ID, sponsor’s bank statement, visa fee payment receipt, travel insurance, flight reservation, school leaving certificate and medical certificate.
Ukraine is a great, relatively priced country to gain quality education. However, this experience can be marred by the social and poltical challenges the country is currently grappling with. The choice is yours to determine if these circumstances will serve as a deterrent or no.