Life in Kharkiv

Welcome to Kharkiv (aka Kharkov), the second-largest city in Ukraine!

Preparations for a spring holiday in Freedom Square

Kharkiv is located in northeastern part of the country and is not far from the Russian border. In fact, although most signs here are in Ukrainian, the majority of the inhabitants speak Russian as they go about their day-to-day life. Kharkiv is a very special city, a mix of Soviet history and modern international companies. It's easy to find new adventures around every corner. Come see it for yourself!
Downtown, Sumskaya St
Mirror Stream Fountain & Theater, Sumskaya St

click here for a photo tour around the city!
click here for a music video made in Kharkiv that shows many famous landmarks (honestly, there are people older than 30 who live here)
Lopan river

How to find a job

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.
An ad for Just English It, one of the local schools
  • is a popular site that's updated frequently with new jobs. Same thing for and 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. My boyfriend went this route and even though he's a Russian native speaker, 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).

How to find an apartment

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 N, 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?
  • (click on сдам to find rentals. This site is like Craigslist, people can log on and post their own ads.)
  • (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 the City

★  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


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 
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.)
  • 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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