Author Topic: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?  (Read 171 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline AkMike

  • Global Moderator
  • I live here
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1895
  • -Receive: 1449
  • Posts: 2647
  • Gender: Male
Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« on: 19:37 07-Dec-2017 »
Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
I found this article in we b and it seemed really interesting for me. Something seem to be not so true, but the general idea is really close to th reality! Enjoy getting the experience of the foreigner!


As you begin your Ukrainian experience you will go through various degrees and stages of culture shock. At first your excitement of living in a new culture will exceed the tensions and difficulties of living in it. You may not experience a culture shock. After the excitement dissipates, you will most likely experience the tensions and difficulties of living in a foreign non-English-speaking country.
Below is a collection of cultural generalizations that foreigners have shared about living in Ukraine. These will get you started understanding your new Ukrainian environment and hopefully have you begin to understand why Ukrainians act the way they do.
By recognizing differences and understanding their origins, you should be better able to handle cultural differences between American and Ukrainian culture.

Safety ? American standards for safety are very high. One of the reasons for America?s high safety standards is its legal system. Safety in Ukraine is far from the standards of America and it will require caution on your part. Some examples:
Snow Removal ? Snow removal is not the norm. Be prepared to walk on packed, icy snow. Wear shoes with great soles.
Lighting ? Lights in hallways occasionally go out and take days to fix. In stairwells, lights may not even exist. Carry a miniature flashlight with you, but this could also give you away as a foreigner.

Emergencies ? 101, 102, 103, and 104 are the emergency numbers in Ukraine. Operators at these numbers most likely don?t speak English. If you have an emergency, it is advisable to contact your neighbor or call an AEC manager for immediate assistance.
Repairs ? In America, when repairs are in progress, strong safety flags and caution alerts are prominently displayed. This usually will not be the case in Ukraine. Be cautious when walking the streets. A hole dug for street repairs may not be filled and paved properly. And, low levels of some street lighting may make it difficult to see street repairs.

Eye Contact ? In Ukraine, people like to stare at others and have no problem doing it. In America, we may see this as an act of aggression, but it?s a favorite pastime for Ukrainians. Ever wonder why Ukrainians love to wear sunglasses? 😉

Time ? Americans generally use time in a linear fashion. We create schedules, to-do lists, and keep our appointments. Americans are monochronic, in that time plays a significant role in their lives. In Ukraine, as well as many European countries, people are polychronic. Time is considered fluid and should be pliable. Individuals from a polychronic culture will continue a meeting past its scheduled end time and be late for the next meeting because time is infinite. For example, one common norm in Ukraine is that a person is not considered to be late if that person arrives within 15 minutes of the arranged time.

Outlook ? Ukrainians have a short term outlook whereas Americans have a long term outlook. Ukrainians don?t know what the future will hold and what will exist so they live for today. You may see an outlook such as take as much as you can today because it may not be there tomorrow. In the short 16 years of independence, Ukrainians lost money as a result of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and then in the late 90?s when hyper inflation caused a financial crisis.

Personal Space ? Americans love their personal space and spacious surroundings. In general, an American?s personal space is an arm?s length of space. When this space is infringed upon, it could make a person anxious. In non-American cultures, this personal space shrinks. This is true of Ukraine. Personal space is reduced; people live in cramped apartments and rooms are compact. This translates into a limitation of personal space on the street. You will see this in metros, buses, and elsewhere. You may find that the personal space you enjoy back home is less here in Ukraine.

Pushing ? Another element of personal space is what we consider shoving. In Soviet times, because of the limitations in available supplies, if you didn?t take what you wanted, you probably wouldn?t get it. The simple idea was if you want it, you will go after it. The more you want something the more aggressive you need to be. Think about this in terms of food supply and you can understand the genesis of this behavior. This aggressiveness has transferred over to today?s culture. You will find on the metro, in traffic, at markets, and other places that the norm in Ukraine is what Americans call pushing and shoving.

Order ? Americans love order. We have learned to wait and be patient. We form lines and wait our turn. This is not so in Ukraine and other European countries. You will find order (in your eyes) is not the norm. You may view life as chaotic. Any space that is open will be taken. The genesis of this is explained in the section of pushing. The best example of this is trying to get up an escalator at a metro station.

Landlords ? In America, when we rent an apartment, we take control of it and it becomes ?ours? for the contracted period. In Ukraine, the apartment owner may still view the apartment as theirs. They may visit the apartment. They may want to have tea with you so the two of you can become better acquainted. Relationships are very important in Ukraine. Landlords may store some of their possessions your using as a storage facility.

Americans have the tendency to develop relationships very quickly. Americans also have the tendency to dissolve relationships with the same speed. A person could be introduced as a friend or best friend within hours or minutes of meeting. In Ukraine, a person is first an acquaintance and only after time becomes a true friend. Once friends, friends are friends for life.

Image ? Ukrainians believe in being strong and self-sufficient. You will not see the showing of signs of weakness. It is better to suffer than to lose face. Thus, maintaining a person?s, an organization?s, or country?s image is critical. Complete chaos could exist on the inside, but on the exterior, a state of calm and strength will be displayed. You can see this in terms of fashion and style, the cars people drive, and the sharing of emotions. For example, if you are out with a Ukrainian, they may want to pay for your meal or beverage. They insist even if they can?t afford it.  ??? For the American, it will be necessary to not accept this insistence three times. An offer to pay is made; you deny it and request to pay. The offer to pay is made a second time; you again deny it and request to pay. Finally, the offer is made a third time and you again deny and request to pay it. This is when it could be accepted. Call it the rule of three.  ::)

Complaints ? Ukrainians are good-natured people. They don?t want to hurt people, especially people they know. So, rather than complain, Ukrainians will dismiss the complaint and remove themselves from the unpleasant situation. Many times this happens in class. If a student doesn?t like a teacher or an action of the teacher, the student may not complain, but will not re-register at the school.

Flexibility ? Things change like the wind in Ukraine. The stability we find in America is still developing here. A foreigner living in Ukraine must be prepared for change. It is part of life.

Stubbornness ? Throughout Ukrainian life, you will find that people ?stick to their guns.? They are downright stubborn. This comes back to the idea of showing strength and that their view is good. You should also be stubborn. Resolution processes are long in Ukraine. Be persistent and the two of you will resolve the issue over time.

Emotions ? Ukrainians are emotional and show their emotions. Many times, emotion is used in negotiations. Rather than having a calm conversation, Ukrainians will be loud and emotional. From an American standpoint, we become concerned because this heightened emotional state is rarely shown. Don?t let it impact you. It is not uncommon to see this display.

Trust ? Many Ukrainians distrust ?big brother.? This transfers over to business organizations as well. You may find common people conspire against a company or the government. For example, many companies keep two sets of accounting books; for the tax authority and for the owner.

Supply Chain ? A majority of Ukrainian stores lack a sufficient inventory or supply chain system. Today, the store may have your favorite product and tomorrow it could disappear. Store managers don?t manage inventory levels so you may find there isn?t bread available at the end of the day. This can be frustrating for Americans. So, if something you want is available now, you might want to buy it because it might not be there later.

Customer Service ? America has become a customer-focused society. In Ukraine, this idea is only now being introduced. You may think this word doesn?t exist in Ukraine, except at a few westernized restaurants. At a restaurant, your waitress won?t smile, but may grunt at you. You might be considered a nuisance; a person interfering with the worker while talking on the phone or reading a book.

Connectedness ? Due to America?s strong infrastructure, there is a great connectedness among various parts of the organizations. Ukraine?s infrastructure is still developing. Satellite parts for an organization may not operate with the same interpretation or procedures as another part. For example, the Ukrainian consulate in New York could interpret a procedure differently than the consulate in Chicago.

Immigration control at the Kyiv Airport could act on rules in a different manner than immigration control at a border crossing to Moldova. This could be true for dispersed organizations such as supermarkets, the rail system, and others.
Role of family in Ukraine ? Family plays a central role in a Ukrainian?s life. In America, we strive for independence and have no problems moving away from home. We are highly mobile. It is not uncommon for some families to only see each other once per year.

Gender Bias ? In Ukraine, men do men things and women do women things.

Ukrainians View of Americans: ?All Americans are wealthy.? ?Americans dress sloppily.?

Superstitions:

Drafts ? Many Ukrainians believe drafts are the reason for sickness. So, even on the hottest summer day, windows may be kept closed for fear of a draft. This could be one reason there are so many doors in a Ukrainian apartment.

Cold Beverages ? Americans love ice cold Coke, as well as other beverages. Once again, many Ukrainians believe this is the root of illness. You will find that beverages are somewhat cold ? not icy cold.

Shaking hands across a doorway ? Many Ukrainians consider shaking hands across a doorway a bad sign. They believe this will somehow ruin your future relationship, so they will want to shake hand with you once inside a room.

Sitting at the corner of a table ? Ukrainians avoid sitting at the corner of the table because they believe that a person who sits there will have a curse and will not marry.

Colds ? Ukrainians believe that people get colds because of cold weather or because of not dressing warm enough. They do not associate colds with viruses. When treating a person with a cold, they will keep that person in a warm place and have them drink hot tea with very sweet raspberry jam.

Common Customs:

Shoes ? When entering a house, you should remove your shoes. Many Ukrainians will have house slippers for their guests to wear.
Shaking Hands ? Men will always shake hands with each other upon meeting and departure. A man will not initiate a handshake with a woman, but a woman could initiate a handshake with a man.


You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login


In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One. Yakov Smirnoff

Online Reggie

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1279
  • -Receive: 1034
  • Posts: 1365
  • 100% Against jellied eels
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #1 on: 20:10 07-Dec-2017 »
Firstly, a big thanks to Mike for this Article.
The points that rang true for me below, except as noted in red.

--------------------------------------------

Safety in Ukraine is far from the standards of America and it will require caution on your part.

Be cautious when walking the streets. A hole dug for street repairs may not be filled and paved properly. And, low levels of some street lighting may make it difficult to see street repairs.

In Ukraine, people like to stare at others and have no problem doing it.

For example, one common norm in Ukraine is that a person is not considered to be late if that person arrives within 15 minutes of the arranged time.

[Kind of true:  For me better to say it as, "Ukrainians commonly b-lls-t about due dates, items in stock, contracts, and may or may not keep appointments.  Not all Ukrainians, but enough to be a problem."]

Ukrainians don't know what the future will hold and what will exist so they live for today.

Personal Space: You may find that the personal space you enjoy back home is less here in Ukraine.

Pushing:  Another element of personal space is what we consider shoving. The more you want something the more aggressive you need to be.

Landlords: In Ukraine, the apartment owner may still view the apartment as theirs. Landlords may store some of their possessions at the rental apartment.

Ukrainians believe in being strong and self-sufficient. You will not see the showing of signs of weakness.

[Nope.  They cower when stood up to.  I have had to do it; not proud of it.  They stand up to people they think they can overpower.]

Rather than complain, Ukrainians will dismiss the complaint and remove themselves from the unpleasant situation.

[Nope.  Complaints and gossip-based complaints are the norm.  Be prepared to have a lot of jive made up about you because you are a foreigner and do not speak the language.  It may take you years to find out about it.]

Things change like the wind in Ukraine.  [Exactly the opposite - The pace of change is like a tortoise covered in peanut butter and dipped in glue.]

Ukrainians are downright stubborn.

Ukrainians are emotional and show their emotions. Many times, emotion is used in negotiations. Rather than having a calm conversation, Ukrainians will be loud and emotional.

You may find common people conspire against a company or the government. For example, many companies keep two sets of accounting books; for the tax authority and for the owner.

A majority of Ukrainian stores lack a sufficient inventory or supply chain system.

At a restaurant, your waitress won't smile, but may grunt at you. You might be considered a nuisance.

Family plays a central role in a Ukrainian's life. [Stated differently: Be prepared for others to meddle in your private life.]

[I agree with all the superstitions.  Skvozniak etc.  Not repeated.]

Offline kyivkpic

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1409
  • -Receive: 1329
  • Posts: 2068
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #2 on: 20:41 07-Dec-2017 »
Gee...well, one culture has been the most successful and progressive for hundreds of years, built on rational principles and the rule of law and formed by people so fed up with their lives here in europe and the barbarism that they got on a Fraking boat to the New World with just a bag of clothes and dreams that came true.

The other culture is still mostly based around history's most repugnant and destructive society with hundreds of years of slavery, war and biblical scale tragedies and they're still fighting about who gets to be King, killing each other and they can't operate motor vehicles properly.
« Last Edit: 20:42 07-Dec-2017 by kyivkpic »
Твоя голова всегда в ответе за то, куда сядет твой зад.

Online Fraucha

  • Global Moderator
  • I live here
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2619
  • -Receive: 4089
  • Posts: 6593
  • Gender: Male
  • I have equal disrespect for everyone.
    • Sundra-Tanakoh
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #3 on: 07:03 08-Dec-2017 »
"Ukrainians believe in being strong and self-sufficient. You will not see the showing of signs of weakness.

[Nope.  They cower when stood up to.  I have had to do it; not proud of it.  They stand up to people they think they can overpower.]"


They also suffer from a serious lack of self esteem. This is usually reinforced in school when teachers call them stupid in front of the class or mock them if the student knows more than the teacher.

"new car, caviar.... " or the first minute here    You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
 maybe be gone in the UK but STILL alive in UA today.
« Last Edit: 07:05 08-Dec-2017 by Fraucha »
Peace is the failure of the military to convince the government that it can and should kick its enemies ass.

Online Reggie

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1279
  • -Receive: 1034
  • Posts: 1365
  • 100% Against jellied eels
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #4 on: 11:46 08-Dec-2017 »

Interesting about the school Fraucha, didn't know that.   Good thread. 

Online Fraucha

  • Global Moderator
  • I live here
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 2619
  • -Receive: 4089
  • Posts: 6593
  • Gender: Male
  • I have equal disrespect for everyone.
    • Sundra-Tanakoh
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #5 on: 12:34 08-Dec-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

Interesting about the school Fraucha, didn't know that.   Good thread.

I have heard this from multiple kids, not only my own. Recently we had to go to my son's school to straighten out how the teacher SHOULD be treating kids. I left no stone unturned and was not kind to any of the administrators. Kids tell me things are 100% better. Just because teachers had a poopty education and child hood doesn't mean our kids should. We stood up and I threatened legal action if my kid is discriminated against or he scores are suddenly low and that I will take his LOW graded tests to the University (where I have 3 Professor friends in the science departments working) to be rechecked.
Peace is the failure of the military to convince the government that it can and should kick its enemies ass.

Online Reggie

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1279
  • -Receive: 1034
  • Posts: 1365
  • 100% Against jellied eels
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #6 on: 14:58 08-Dec-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I threatened legal action if my kid is discriminated against or he scores are suddenly low and that I will take his LOW graded tests to the University (where I have 3 Professor friends in the science departments working) to be rechecked.

Good for you.  You did the right thing.   

One of the things they understand here, and should understand, is that if they pull any funny business a sh-tstorm is headed their way.   There are good Ukrainians (it needs to be said), but the common culture of the bad ones: The only thing they understand is being stood up to and not wavering an inch.  (I'll tell you a funny story privately.)
« Last Edit: 16:40 08-Dec-2017 by Reggie »

Offline kyivkpic

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1409
  • -Receive: 1329
  • Posts: 2068
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #7 on: 15:07 08-Dec-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

Good for you.  You did the right thing.   

One of the things they understand here, and should understand, is that if they pull any funny business a sh-tstorm is headed their way.   There are good Ukrainians (it needs to be said), but the common culture of the bad ones: The only thing they understand is being stood up to and no wavering an inch.  (I'll tell you a funny story privately.)

Absolutely.

I'd like to hear it too :)
« Last Edit: 19:59 08-Dec-2017 by kyivkpic »
Твоя голова всегда в ответе за то, куда сядет твой зад.

Offline Дідусь

  • Global Moderator
  • I live here
  • *
  • Thank You
  • -Given: 1789
  • -Receive: 3949
  • Posts: 12173
  • Gender: Male
  • Retired, living near the cognac distillery!
    • Expatua
Re: Are Americans and Ukrainians so different?
« Reply #8 on: 15:53 08-Dec-2017 »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login


Good for you.  You did the right thing.   

One of the things they understand here, and should understand, is that if they pull any funny business a sh-tstorm is headed their way.   There are good Ukrainians (it needs to be said), but the common culture of the bad ones: The only thing they understand is being stood up to and no wavering an inch.  (I'll tell you a funny story privately.)

Absolutely.

I'd like to hear it too :)

Me too, either privately or here on the forum. Remember, my beloved is a retired English language teacher and she continues to keep in touch with the school, its teachers and any progress.

"When surrounded by the dark void of the wilfully blind, it does not excuse those that are a spark of light their duty to shine" - Pompey Nik