ver since I moved to Ukraine, I’ve had to accept several lifestyle changes. I was of course well aware of the considerably lower salary which I’d get, having lived for two and a half years in London. Although I should have suspected it, the significantly reduced amount of time spent travelling was going to be a surprise. This is not just due to the money, which on the face of it isn’t a big issue since I always like to prioritise spending for such things, the real problem is time. It just hadn’t occured to me that being restricted by term times meant that going away when I wanted was no longer an option. What’s more, I’d got very used to the international transport infrastructure of Western Europe. The distances involved are much greater than I’d imagined. For example, the distance from Sevastopol to Kiev is the same as from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and on the train 14 hours. Simferopol airport offers flights to internal destinations as well as Moscow and Istanbul, so there’s no way to get around without at least changing once. To cut a long story short, I had the option to travel for a week and I was determined to take advantage of it to get as much language practice as possible. On the whole, I love the opportunities I have for language development living in Ukraine, but it is a monocultural society in comparison any what can be found in any Western European country. The opportunities for language practice with native speakers is limited to Russian. Even though I live in Ukraine, I don’t even speak Ukrainian. Crimea Is a Russian speaking region, and despite seeing lots of things written in the country’s only official language (adverts, official signs, packets in the supermarket) there’s more written in Russian. I don’t own a TV (but do regularly stream a variety of European news channels and series), so I have next to zero exposure to the spoken language. What’s more, several weeks ago there was someone in our school talking on the phone. I asked what language they were speaking and was told Ukrainian! I was shocked. I would like to learn Ukrainian but I completely lack the motivation due to its complete lack of usage in the part of the world where I live. For all intents and purposes it really is a foreign language.
In Ukraine, but without Ukrainian