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Ukrainians educated abroad can find homecomings rough

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April 15, 2010, 10:28 p.m. | Op-ed — by Olesia Oleshko

After getting her master’s degree in journalism from America’s Indiana University, Olesia Oleshko was enthusiastic about returning to her native Ukraine, but major disappointments followed. (Courtesy)

I think everybody has unforgettable moments of sheer happiness. I remember one of mine. It came on a sunny April day in 2007. I got to my job in Kyiv, made my morning coffee and started checking my e-mail. There it was – an acceptance letter from Indiana University, followed by an e-mail from Inna Barysh, Fulbright Ukraine student coordinator, saying that my studies in the United States will be supported by a generous stipend. It was the time of my life. I couldn’t get my work done that day. In my mind, I was already packing suitcases and picturing my life in the U.S. My experience in America was even better than I expected. I earned my master’s degree in journalism, made a lot of good friends and even got a great job offer in Washington, D.C. But I had to turn down the offer because my Fulbright scholarship contract and J-1 visa required me to return to my home country for at least two years.

That provision makes perfect sense for many reasons: First, the American government provides scholarships for people willing to make a change in their own countries, and they want this change to happen. Second, it’s always good to think twice before making such a crucial decision – to settle in another country and start everything from scratch.

So, I packed my suitcases, bought a Barack Obama T-shirt, grabbed my favorite Starbucks latte and headed to the airport. Apart from the contractual obligations to return to Kyiv, I had a bunch of personal reasons to return to Ukraine: I couldn’t wait to apply my improved writing skills, share newly gained investigation and reporting techniques and, in brief, show Western standards of journalism in action. Dreaming about my rocketing career, I happily fell asleep in a Boeing seat somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean. I was going home to start a new page in my life.

At first, the new page contained nothing but reflections on a strong reverse culture shock that was striking me at every corner, be it people spitting on the ground or cashiers at the nearby grocery lacking such words as “hello” and “thank you.”

I figured that the best way to keep my sanity would be to start a new job as soon as possible and to get into the swing of things, which I did. The foreign affairs desk at one of the biggest Ukrainian magazines sounded promising – lots of international travel, interviews with interesting people and a pretty comfortable salary by Ukrainian standards.

The first days at work revealed some unexpected underwater rocks, such as the chief editor ordering a reporter to interview a person (usually a politician or a businessman) for money. This “offer” just infuriated me – at the very beginning I stated that I would never ever do this kind of an interview. This position provoked serious tensions with the chief editor, but eventually she figured that fighting with me was useless and she started assigning other reporters for these kinds of tasks.

Apart from the violation of journalism standards (no respectable news organization accepts money for interviews), I faced a very severe violation of professional ethics – open sexual harassment from an editor. He sincerely did not understand why I was so outraged by his “compliments” and “offers” and why I kept complaining to the senior management about this situation. Luckily that didn’t last too long. He got another job and quit.

By this point, I really wished I were back in America. Such things happen there, too, but at least you can seek protection from a court or a relevant supervisory board. The transition from America to Ukraine turned out to be harder than I expected. So I chose an easy way: I changed my job.

I found a perfect balance. I work in Ukraine, but with a great international team. I keep my American and Ukrainian networks, celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving with my American friends who live in Kyiv and, when I am in a nostalgic mood, I watch “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” At the same time, I keep in touch with other exchange students who are staying in the states for another year. Some young Ukrainian women even got married in order to secure their return to the states after the required two-year stay at home. I don’t know if there are statistical data showing the number of successful marriages and failures, but as far as I can see, not many couples managed to resist the challenges of time and distance.

Those women who worked it out seem to lead happy lives with their American husbands, while those whose international marriages fell apart are either trying to re-establish their careers in the states or are just giving up and coming back to their home countries, where they have safety networks of friends and families.

I can’t say for sure what’s better – to return to your home country for good or to do everything possible to return to the country that gave you a great education, new friends and an unforgettable life experience. Personally, I like living in different countries and I hope to do it again. It’s useful to break out of your comfort zone and then proudly say: “If I made it here, I can make it anywhere.”

So I don’t rule out the possibility of going abroad again to gain some new professional or academic experience. But it is a mistake to think that everything will automatically be better abroad. Any undertaking of this kind requires self-discipline, strong motivation and clear goals. You have to know what you want to achieve, how you are going to do that and, another key point: whether your host country will benefit from having you there.


Kyiv Post staff writer Olesia Oleshko can be reached at oleshko@kyivpost.com
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Anonymous April 16, 2010, 5:43 a.m.    

Great story and a fantastic experience. I'm American and I've also had the pleasure of traveling and living in other countries and personaly it is very rewarding and quite refreshing to experience other cultures, languages, even standards of living. I work for a global compmany and still get opportunities to travel. I love Kiev and I'm quite fond of Ukraine. It has allot of serious problems but it is a wonderful country full of very interesting history and sights that can take your breath away (with joy & pleasure). I can only hope that one day in the new future Ukraine an Ukrainians get to reach and experience it's full potential for greatness. It's already been far too long over due. What keeps bringing me back to Ukraine is my wonderful girlfriend of which I plan to marry soon. I think your advice for those considering marriage outside of their country is very good and very true. I have no doubts about mine because we have known and dated each other for 3 years now. We are eternally best friends and know & feel each others every move. I cannot describe the love and connection we share... it is too good and too powerful to acurately describe. Even when she comes here to live with me I am certain we will continue to return to Ukraine for visits & vacations. Ukraine is in my blood now!

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Anonymous April 16, 2010, 4:10 p.m.    

so dramatic

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Anonymous April 16, 2010, 6:52 a.m.    

Hello; I,m a Canadian of Russian decent, speaking Russian and with High education in Canada. I have travelled to Ukraine many times and love being in Ukraine, with your wonderful hospitality and education of the Ukranian people. I also have lived in and worked in Ukraine off and on for 10 years. Living in Canada is similar to the USA and with the same living standand but with only 30 million people compared to 300 million in USA but Canada is about twice in land area of USA.

The comment I wish to make is ;; today don't get overly excited about the USA. For many years the USA was fantastic but today in is faltering, as the world is changing drasticly and the USA is changing very much, but unfortunately for the worse in many ways, but Canada and many Europian and Asian countries as well as Russia and Ukraine are showing wonderful improvements in many many ways. 30 and 40 years ago the USA was fantastic and for for many years it was super but today it's economy, education, business, politics are very noticably seriously faltering while many many countries including Russia and Ukraine, maybe very slowly, but certainly are showing promise and getting better. So don't panic, go for a visit if you want but I really thing in the future you will have a better life in Ukraine and Russia than you will have in the next 30 years in the USA. All the best, poka, Alex.

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Anonymous April 17, 2010, 1:57 a.m.    

Your certainly intitled to your opinion but I totally dissagree with your assessment and biased putdown of the U.S. Like yourself I've travelled all around the world and have lived in several different countries. There is good and bad in most all including Canada but more important (Especially Westernized Countries) is &quot;What you make of it&quot; shall be your greater experience. I could list a truck load of things I feel that are wrong with Canada but that would not in the greater picture take away from the greatness of Canada. Theres a reason this wonferful woman has a fondness for the United States. She received her graduate education from there and no doubt saw the good and the bad and found the experience and the country to be profoundly a great place to be. Theres nothing in her story that's speaks of any negative that would preclude a return. If you feel so strongly negative about the U.S. then stay the hell away... that's perfectly find with us all.

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 10:33 p.m.    

&quot;If you feel so strongly negative about the U.S. then stay the hell away...&quot;

this goes with the author, who seems not to like Ukraine at all. So if you don't like this country so much and you can't find ANYTHING positive here (though of course i agree that Ukraine has tons of negative and unpleasant sides) then stay the hell away!

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Anonymous April 17, 2010, 8:40 p.m.    

Russia is a big horrible Soviet dump that resembles living standards like Mali or Zimbabwe. If you go outside Moscow and St Petersberg its going back to the 1800s. Russia is a primitive and very very poor country

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Anonymous April 18, 2010, 1:37 p.m.    

Australia is the rear end of the world.

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Anonymous April 16, 2010, 10:56 a.m.    

Great article! Really enjoyed reading it!Thank you, Olesia

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Anonymous April 16, 2010, 9:05 p.m.    

Your article screams that you want to return to the US but you did not really state why. You seem to be applying if you found an American man you would definitely marry him just to return to America. It is a shame that many beautiful and talented Ukrainian woman have such mentality.

Be careful what you wish for because there are lots of American lazy potato couches loosers who will want to take advantage of your plea...just from looking at the comments below. I have seen so many beautiful, educated Slavic women marrying old, ugly, fat and uneducated American shmacks.

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Anonymous April 17, 2010, 3:58 p.m.    

Thank you all for the comments, appreciate it. As for the last one re marrying an american guy, - dear GUEST, I have a boyfriend, so just cool off. cheers

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Anonymous April 18, 2010, 3:12 a.m.    

Olesia,

This is a great article, very interesting and very brave. I am always impressed with those graduates who are brave enough to return to their home countries whether temporary or for good. As a graduate of a US program I also had a 2-year home residency requirement. But I never found courage in me to pack and go back to my home country. I did everything possible to stay in the United States. The only option that I did not consider was staying through a marriage. I thought if I am going to stay in the USA, I should achieve it based on my own skills and education. Alas the requirements are too strict. My American friends used to joke and advice to go to Mexico and cross the border illegally. They thought I would get a better chance of getting a status in the US as an illegal immigrant. To make the long story short, after long journey of various trials, I ended up moving to Canada and finding many other fellows in my shoes. While there is probably no good statistics as to what percent of graduates return to their home countries, what percentage stays in the US, what percentages find another country as a new home, I am sure Canada is a big winner by being so close to US and welcoming all the educated graduates of US who are not allowed to call US a home! There is no single country that is as dear to me as the US is. Yet I cannot live in there. It’s great to see the passage of a much needed health reform and I hope next in the queue is the much needed immigration reform.

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Anonymous April 17, 2010, 8:59 p.m.    

The last guest's comment is pretty interesting. I can see why any mentioning of marring Americans by Ukrainian women makes a guy mad, BUT...

Speaking from my personal experience as former international student in the US, and from experiences of my other female friends with the same background, if you compare an AVERAGE educated Ukrainian man to AVERAGE educated American man in terms of being marriage material - Ukrainian men would lose. Please note, that we do not compare here some American red neck, who dropped high school to some young Ukrainian MBA from good Lviv family.

So,in my opinion, in general, American men are less spoiled by women, more confident, independent from their parents, and, that is the most important, they are looking for a PARTNER in relationship, not for a house service. Besides, usually they better take care of themselves, go to gym, etc. I am not saying that there are no such guys among locals, there are, but they are much harder to find. If a guy is successful, smart and good looking 9 out of 10 he is very spoiled by women. This is called &quot;Echo of war&quot;, you know :) So I do understand many of my friends going back and marring those Americans. By the way, none of them is fat, old, ugly or lazy.

Again, we are not talking here about famous Eastern European mail-order brides the Guest mentioned in his post. And of course - nothing personal.

Cheers.

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Anonymous April 19, 2010, 11:40 a.m.    

Awesome point!

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 12:01 a.m.    

:)))... Totally agree with Guest2... Ukrainian men are soooooo spoiled:)... They have beautiful Ukrainian girls around them and they don't even appreciate that...

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Anonymous April 17, 2010, 10:34 p.m.    

This is really amazing how men can turn any discussion on any subject into &quot;mine is bigger then yours&quot; fight :)))

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Anonymous April 18, 2010, 12:11 p.m.    

It is a great article. Thank you, Olesia!

Well, a little bit of background - I am an Ukrainian men, who spend a total of 4 years in the US on two separate programs with J-1 visa and the same requirement. After my first program, I came back to Ukraine and spent three years here finishing my studies and working. After that I also went to the US for my masters and worked for a year and a half in an American company before coming home.

I always expected Ukraine to do well in the future and always thought that I will be able to contribute to my country's success. I was always aware of the difference in the quality of living between the West and Ukraine, but I always believed that the gap will narrow in the future.

However, when I returned to Ukraine after 3 years of living in the US, not only did I have a cultural shock, but I also had t change my perspective on Ukraine's future. Of course, I was shocked to see young people drinking beer on streets at 11 am, hundreds of people casually walking around the city in the middle of the day on a workday (aren't these people supposed to be at work?!), or hear racist comments coming even from people who lived and earned their degrees abroad. I never considered immigrating to another country until I finally realized that cheating is a way of life in Ukraine and it's not going to change anytime soon (by soon I mean some 20 years or so). Ukrainian politicians are saying things that sound good and do what is good for them. I am sure that most of them have majority of their net worth in offshore accounts and therefore their own well-being is not tied to the well-being of the country. Our business people follow contracts as long as the contracts are beneficial for them. Everyone is looking for ways to benefit from cheating, not for ways to actually do something productive. In short, all the business and political elite is busy with squeezing some money from the country for themselves and nobody is actually considering improving the well-being of the whole country. After three years abroad I could not help but catch myself thinking that the society overall had also been degrading all this time and I just don't see this trend reversing. Now, after looking at all these happening, I also find myself thinking of immigrating - I do not want to lower my ethical standards to the local norm (the same as Olesia did not want to interview politicians for money) and I realize that I would not be able to succeed professionally here unless I do it.

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Anonymous April 19, 2010, 8:10 p.m.    

First, what is the idea to comment here about the ways to avoid coming back to Ukraine after J-1? Guys, for this purpose you can go to forums in Russian, or you want all this stuff be attached to your files in the Fulbright office? You could not find any other place for this sensitive info, couldn't you? Don't educate Fulbright.

Second (to the author of the article). Don't idealize US publishing companies. Layoffs are huge. Employees shut up and write what the editor assigns to write. You have understanding of that environment from the US movies. Where are you going to find a job after you file a lawsuit about harassment? Don't be ridiculous.

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Anonymous April 19, 2010, 8:15 p.m.    

There are western publishing companies which treat employees as trash, they collect piles of resumes, when they need to cut staff they tell you about a layoff at 6:00 pm when are on your way home and give you 15 minutes to pick up your belongings. Standard agreements are signed that they can let you go at any time without any reason. This article is written by a baby from a day care. She has never worked in the US journalism.

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Anonymous April 19, 2010, 8:27 p.m.    

Well, she is a spring chicken in J-world. She studied in a J-school and the US government paid. She even did not work until 3 am at the bar as many US students do. She saw America in the way it is described in press releases of the State Department through expensive pink glasses:)

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Anonymous April 19, 2010, 11:16 p.m.    

Don't be ridiculous, a western company would do everything possible to avoid a harassment lawsuit (bad publicity) and they have very strict policies on that issue. A guy who even tried to assault his female colleague would be fired within a second unless he's running the company :)

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 3:09 a.m.    

First of all, what exactly does she qualify as a harassment? She did not explain in details. May be it is a harassment only according to ridiculous US standards. The result of that is a very low birth rate in the modern West. Yes, US editor will not tell an employee that she has pretty legs. And what? What's the deal?

Honestly, decent women are seldom harassed by male bosses. Even in Ukraine. Ukrainian women go to job half-naked, with tons of make-up and short skirts and then they want US standards towards them. US females look differently at work.

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 3:37 p.m.    

are you actually blaming women for being harrassed????

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Anonymous April 23, 2010, 11:56 p.m.    

A compliment is NOT a harassment! You don't like the compliments, I'm sure she could've told the editor in a way that he wouldn't have tried to complement her ever again... Women in Ukraine are equal with men. (Though they are bossing husbands at home most of the time:).. )

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 3:13 a.m.    

US editor cannot tell a female employee in a short skirt that he loves her legs, but he can lay off a 9-month pregnant female employee. Such stories were even on TV after the financial crisis happened. Ukrainian law does not let anybody to layoff a pregnant woman. Thanks all those bad Soviet times! We still have law based on the Soviet law. US is US and Ukraine is Ukraine. What is this discussion about???

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Anonymous April 19, 2010, 11:25 p.m.    

If you are smart enough you can apply for a scholarship, too. Instead of working at the bar

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 3:01 a.m.    

You know what, I have seen US editors who earned money in the past to pay their tuition, working until 3 am at the bar. There are more applicants than scholarships. State Dept. does not give away tons of money to US kids to make them journalists. US government does not need to make everybody in Alabama or Nebraska a B.A. in journalism. Besides tuition, you need food and a bed. This article is picture of a spring chicken.

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Anonymous April 23, 2010, 11:52 p.m.    

And how many Americans applying for scholarships?.. And how many scholarships are there to be distributed?.. Huh?.. Obviously she didn't live a life of an average American trying to get an education or of an average Ukrainian for that matter...

As for bribes... I currently was looking through American newspaper of an average Midwest city.. Bribes, bribes, bribes... contracts, bribes, contracts... just.. wanted to mention that... Oh, and trust me, they'll pay American advisers tons of money to come to Ukraine and teach Business Ethics:)))..

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 3:16 a.m.    

A good comment below. That's right, US editor can layoff a pregnant employee any moment but cannot tell her that she has perfect legs. What is so wrong with telling you that you have a great shape? When you get older you will want to hear that...

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 5:42 a.m.    

Let's vote!!! Who thinks that it is offensive to hear that your legs are perfect? I would love to hear this! They are really good, by the way, but nobody tells me this...:(

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 5:23 a.m.    

Dear Olesia,

I sure admire your courage for publishing such bold statements based on but one (max 2) year(s) of highly limited exposure to American reality. Trust me, you HAVE NOT seen real America!!! As one of the guests has correctly noted, you have seen it through the pink eyeglasses the State Department kindly bought for you! You did not have to think about accommodation, food or any other needs that we, mere mortals, have, let alone HUGE TUITION FEES. Don't get me wrong, I believe this education is worth every cent, but that is not the point. I have seen this system from both sides now, as an exchange student (State Department sponsored as well) and a regular international grad student who has no State Department to look after her this time, so let me tell you one thing - they show two completely different pictures!

And I have another question - how can one experience CULTURE SHOCK when coming back HOME? I beg your pardon, but this fact proves that you were blind, for it is only the blind who do not see our reality - it is the topic of nearly every conversation in the country! How come it took you a year in the US to gain eyesight? Or do you mean to say the country changed so drastically during that year you spent here in the US?

I am sorry to sound sarcastic but it is because of people like you that Americans think badly of us - you come here and start saying every negative thing imaginable just to make them accept you. That is pathetic!

I also have a note to the editor - please, show some respect to the locals next time and abstain from publishing such offensive articles, for they sure ARE offensive - the whole concept of reverse culture shock is. In a way, it ascertains that Ukraine and the like countries have no 'culture' of their own, so exchange students get a glimpse of it only when they come to the US and are, therefore, shocked by the lack thereof upon return home.

Please, note that this post is my personal opinion and is not intended as an attempt to change someone else's.

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 5:39 a.m.    

Cultural shock exists when people come back. When US people come back to the USA they also experience a cultural shock. Don't demonstrate your ignorance in elementary psychology.

Have you seen 'Everything is Illuminated'? The guy had a shock back at home, too (at the airport).

Why do you think the article is offensive? It is just an article to boost more clicks. How to get out from Ukraine after being educated in the States - this topic was supposed to get response. Ha-ha!

A big part of the readership is former J-1 visa holders, so, this is a good topic in terms of marketing. People click and comment.

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 5:58 a.m.    

Oh, it is not my ignorance - I do know the concept of culture shock (btw, it IS 'culture' and not 'cultural') - I just don't believe in REVERSE culture shock. I sure do know what it is like to enter a FOREIGN country, but in order to experience one coming HOME, one would need to be absent from it for WAY longer than a year or two. In our case (I am an ex-J-1-er, too) it is just a matter of brainwash. Btw, your example from a movie did a bad job trying to prove me wrong - I really hope, you were not serious :)

As for your point on the target audience, I am with you, I just don't like all the 'reverse culture shock' b/s!

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Anonymous April 23, 2010, 11:40 p.m.    

Totally agree with the BS of &quot;reverse culture shock&quot;! :).. You may not like coming back and experience again the negative sides of home culture, however, coming back home is not supposed to &quot;shock&quot; you. Period. And reflecting on other people's notes, I'd like to mention that I would agree that it's really nice to go and live somewhere for free for two years and get a free education....

Guess what, to go to a private college would cost me $80K for a two year degree... State University.. $40K.. Plus, one has to think about room and board and health coverage while in school... You get your dose of stress..

I believe we need to look at the article as just an opinion of a girl who got scholarship and had everything paid for.. and didn't really enjoy coming back to Kiev. Nothing else.

I remember when I got a better GMAT score then a girl, had a better resume and better experience (we were competing for a scholarship through Maskie Program). Guess what, that's when I learned about reverse discrimination:).. Learned later that there &quot;quotes&quot; and they needed to get girls as well... Merit base admission criteria my ass.. (sorry). Anyway, she didn't experience fully life in the US and I didn't really like her tone of criticizing Kiev and Ukrainian culture. No need to be whining here:).. You don't like Kiev, you move out (whatever it takes.) However, there's no need to praise one country and criticize other without mentioning positive and negative things on both sides.

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Anonymous April 20, 2010, 6:30 p.m.    

Dear Olesia, Today is tax day in America (April 15). It is one of the many onerous obligations that you did not have to face or to pay. However, as one of only 47% of US taxpayers who pay federal taxes, I am very glad you enjoyed your Fulbright experience, courtesy of my tax dollars and that you did the Right Thing- which was to return to Ukraine. If more of the Ukr. exchange students would have your conscience, believe me, the reputation of Ukraine as a hotbed of illegal immigrantion might be slightly mitigated. I have a friend who experienced the same warm, generous, happy circumstances as a Fulbright scholar. She was an American who spoke Ukrainian and received a fellowship..yes, you guessed it!! To Kievan Mohylanska Academia in Ukraine- and her experience was probably even more wonderful than yours. She could not stop gushing about her lovely apartment in the center of Kiev, her wonderful cook, her obliging chauffer, her kind cleaning lady , her admiring colleagues at work, her extremely intelligent director - the exceptionally warm and enriching experience her little girl was having at a Ukr. private school where the children were given the utmost attention and love (&quot;not like in America&quot;) - her very words. In other words she had everthing in Kiev that she did not have in Boston. So you see, your point of view, especially when you are young and still naive, depends on what you personally experience in a foreign country. I spend the summers in Greece and love riding the metro. Have you ever ridden the subways of New York or that of Philadelphia??Yes, there you would have had true&quot; cultural shock&quot; especially after living in Indiana, which is essentially the midwest, and the pace of life slower. I hope you have the opportunity for more travel abroad!!!!

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Anonymous April 23, 2010, 5:17 p.m.    

You are an American and your government does not leave you an option not to pay taxes. Don't pretend that you are a hero.

Of course, you always have a choice, you can go to teach ESL to Bahrein or Saudi Arabia and you will not be taxed. It's up to you. If you work for a US employer, you will be taxed. It is better when your taxes are spent on exchange students than on weapons. It's better to build schools than prisons. When Soviet Union sent Russian teachers to Dagestan, there was no war there. Isn't this clear and obvious?

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Anonymous April 25, 2010, 11:40 p.m.    

Western values closed many schools in countries of the ex- Soviet Union but don't worry tomorrow you too may have a secret jail of CIA. Real progress.

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Anonymous April 22, 2010, 2:44 p.m.    

I liked this article. To all of you people getting upset, please keep in mind that exchanges, and the entire Department of State, are supposed to be &quot;representational&quot; of the U.S. That means they want to portray an above average image to their contacts, be they other diplomats or students.

I have culture shock every time I return to the U.S., although not all of it is bad, or even good. Some is just strange. I remember being horrified by the sheer size of 64-ounce convenience store drinks. I can't finish a serving size in U.S. restaurants anymore, which makes me feel wasteful instead of thankful for America's wealth. Even with the 24-hour supermarkets here in Kyiv now, I still feel odd looking at the size of produce and meat cuts in the U.S. I hate that in the U.S. there are no corner kiosks to help you out in the middle of the night.

Final note: Please walk across the office and have a chat with Ms. Nataliya Bugayova. Her opinion is that sexism is not such a big problem in Ukraine, so I'd like for you to share your story directly with her.

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Anonymous April 23, 2010, 11 p.m.    

Well.. There are 24 hrs stores all over. Rite Aid, CVS/Pharmacy, some grocery stores work 24/7.. Please!:).. Do you really think that it would be great to have kiosks all over the city?.. Do you see many kiosks installed in Germany, England, other developed countries? Another thing.. I, personally, don't mind taking leftovers home... I don't have to cook next day:).. I totally except the portion sizes in the US... Working out helps stay fit...

PS. Hatred - is not a good thing:).

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Anonymous April 24, 2010, 7:07 a.m.    

Great article, Olesia. I totally understand your culture shock after you had a chance to live in a society where your abilities rather than your legs matter in your professional life and people who want to be honest and ethical are not laughed at.

I am puzzled by people decreeing that one cannot have a culture shock after returning to home country. What makes you think you can prescribe others how to feel?

I would like to see what happens to a US employer who lays a 9 month pregnant woman and stays in business. Any examples of such employers living happily ever after, please.

Many Ukrainian employers would not hire a woman with kids to begin with, and it's legal. In the US it's illegal to ask about one's family status during job interview. Feel the difference? And have you ever seen a US job add specifying that they want a young pretty woman under 25 (and i don't mean for strip dancing)? Whom are you kidding.

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