We are used to think that Ukrainians abroad are associated with illegal employment, search of a better life and hard labour. Meanwhile, there are plenty examples when our fellow citizens abroad become successful businessmen and hold high positions. ForUm has decided to tell about those Ukrainians, who live abroad and break all stereotypes about "success without citizenship".

Interestingly that such successes are almost never covered by media, unless you are a rock-star or a famous writer, but Ukrainians often have to work hard their way up, proving not only skills but also the fact that we are no worse than Europeans.

"It is believed that only those who studied abroad or was lucky to make a family can achieve something abroad. But I know hundreds of Ukrainians, whose talent, hard-working and insistence are appreciated wherever they go. I think these are the people mass media should write about, because they not only show how to achieve success but also inspire others to changes in Ukraine," Pavlo Vasyliv, professor of an Italian university, says.

Viktor Svincicki, 29, coordinator of Polish-Ukrainian programs, Lublin:

Having achieved success in a foreign country, don't forget to remind that you are from Ukraine

Speaking about Viktor, the first word that comes to mind is "restless". It was the name a group of Ukrainian journalists called Svincicki during the festival "Night of culture" held in Polish city of Lublin. Viktor was entertaining the guests round the clock: city tours, organization of mass media at the festival, transportation, dinners, accommodation. 

When at four o'clock in the morning tired journalists gathered in a cafe to share impressions, Viktor continued to tell jokes and funny stories. "Viktor, do you ever sleep?" I asked. "When I think how many things I can do during sleeping hours, I get upset. My work is my rest," he answered.

Viktor is half Polish, and thanks to the Pole's cards he entered Polish university and studied by public contract. "It was my only bonus, to get the rest I had to work hard. To have some pocket money I was making translations, sometimes till five o'clock in the morning, two hours for sleep and then back to lectures," Viktor tells.

Thanks to these translations he found his future job. At first he was helping deputies of Lublin's Seim during official meetings with Ukrainian officials, then he was charged with coordination of a joint project, and two years later he was officially taken in office of the city hall.  

"The problem is that only Poles serve in the city hall. I had to prove that I work hard, want to learn and develop. In the result, deputies made an exception and adopted an amendment to the regulations of the city Seim. Thanks to this amendment I can work as a state official without Polish citizenship," he specified.

Today Viktor Svincicki coordinates all projects between Lublin and Ukrainian cities, including meetings, festivals, roundtables, experience exchange and business negotiations. He does not speak much about his success, but believes that Ukrainians can be successful in any country, he main things is to set a goal and never give up.

"And do not forget your roots. Wherever life brings you and when you win always say 'I am from Ukraine', and having reached the top thank your parents," he sums up.

Maryna Vronich, 29, specialist of analysis unit, London:
Nobody impedes you to become successful but yourself!

Maryna is a young beautiful girl easy to talk to. She smiles finishing her English tea and keeps silence for several minutes. Noisy square of London around us, business partners are holding talks at the near-by table, Russian tourists are going on a city tour. "I like big cities, like London and its city noise. It is the only place I have rest," Maryna finally says.
For the fourth year in a row he has been working in a big IT company of London as a specialist of the analysis unit. It does not seem like a woman's job, but Maryna does not bother. "I studied applied systems analysis in the university - only two girls in the group of boys, worked in several international companies of Ukraine, then in Moscow and finally was offered a job in a London company," Maryna tells.
The girl admits that the working conditions are good, salary is high and perspectives are better than in Ukraine, but she is mostly impressed by attitude. "Here people appreciate hard working and do not care about who your parents or sponsors are, but only about what you can do, what you want to learn and how you work," she points out. Maryna believes that the desire to advance and develop is appreciated in any country.
"We often complain about negative stereotypes regarding Ukrainians abroad. I am sorry, but who creates these negative images? Ukrainians complain that our education is based on bribes. Have you tried to enter and study by yourself?" she shares her opinion. Vronich continues that in England students do not even know that an exam can be "bought" and start working at free time already from the first year of study. They graduate speaking six languages, with broad-based knowledge and minimal working experience.
"Our linguists study three languages, but speak only one - English. Then they come here and to the question "What do you know?" answer "I speak English". It sounds funny in the country where everybody speaks English... I mean that we do have a potential and we are no worse than Europeans. I work here with Ukrainians education after all, and nobody complains," Maryna sums up.
Valentyan Matviychuk, 27, works in a government agency, Warsaw:
If you want to achieve success, forget about free pass

"What is success? It is a goal you set and follow regardless of circumstances. My goal was to get higher education abroad. Poland was the closest..." Valentyan tells about her studding experience.
To pay the bills Matviychuk had to combine study and work. "Poles study free of charge, but foreigners must pay 2000 euro per term minimum. However, there is a possibility to appeal to the rector and ask to cancel the payment. I managed to do so and my life became somewhat easier, for which my rector has my eternal gratitude," she specified.

From the very beginning Valentyan decided not use the status of a foreigner - "no free pass, privileges and pitiful glances". To be respected by Poles, you must respect them, learn their language, culture and history - this is the only way to get on the inside, the girl believes. The success did not come immediately. It took her five years to prove she is no worse than others.
"It was difficult at the beginning. There were no other foreigners on the course and Poles kept their distance. I don't remember anyone helping me, though I did not ask for help anyway. When I was studying none of the professors knew I was Ukrainian. No free pass," Valentyna notes.

After the  graduation the girl got a job in one of the central bodies of executive power of Poland. In two years she was promoted to an executive position. Now she lives in Warsaw with her husband.

Zinoviy Svereda, 34, professor of social economy, Rome:
Ukrainians have not learned yet to use their potential

We met Zinoviy in a small pizzeria "Da Simone" on the outskirts of Rome, where my friend brought me to try true Italian pizza. At first we spoke about usual things from people from the same country: Ukraine, politics, beauty of Ukrainian women, etc. After some time Zinoviy told he was teaching in the Pontifical Gregorian University.

"When I graduated the faculty of economy of Lviv university, the situation in the country left much to be desired: no work, small salaries... Thus, as many others, I chose to work abroad. In Rome I entered a PhD program and then started teaching social economy, psychology, cooperation and public self-organization," Svereda said. 

My Ukrainian-Italian company was such an interesting personality that we talked for three hours: religion, cinema, economy, modern literature, wine-making. "Why don't you come back to Ukraine? We need people like you", I asked him a little bit angrily. "You think I have not tried. After the PhD program I immediately went to Ukraine, but was politely told they did not need me, so I came back to Rome," he answered.

Zinoviy tells that in the university he works with professionals: many professors work for government and are engaged into various programs of UN and FAO, helping to promote projects in countries of Africa, Asia and Europe.

"I don't forget about Ukraine and do everything I can. Now we work with colleagues on scientific program and some initiatives in Ukraine. We study European grants, look for Ukrainians partners," Svereda specifies.

After the dinner he invited me and my friends to visit the Cathedral of St.Sofia, built by Ukrainian, cardinal and patriarch Josyf Slipyj (Josef Blind). On the way Zinoviy spoke about charitable activity and support of Ukrainians working in Rome, about volunteering.

Having visited the cathedral and learned about success Ukrainian people reached on Italian soil, I wanted to cry. On foreign soil Ukrainians render mutual support and demonstrate unity, so what impedes us to do the same in Ukraine?  
"Ukrainians are intelligent and hard-working people. They know and respect their traditions and culture, like Italians. The thing is that Ukrainians have not learned yet to use their potential. For example, we have the country full of lawyers. What for? How many of them will become true professionals and really good specialists? The very few! In Italy things are different, everybody knows his business. If Simone bakes pizza, he does it at the highest level, he searches for old recipes, invents new, buys high-quality ingredients. Simone bakes pizza, and he does not need to be a lawyer. This is the biggest difference between us," Zinoviy underlined.
It is fact that for Ukrainian specialists it is difficult to built a successful career abroad. All important positions in companies are occupied mostly by locals, while foreigners have to settle for secondary roles. Moreover, different legislation, absence of official agreements on employment, non-recognition of Ukrainian diploma also complicate the life. Those who want to make a career abroad must not only work hard, but also prove that they are no worse, but better than his local colleague. And no bribes and contacts can help - successful countries like successful people.
However, as we can see, the examples of people who risked and managed are numerous. The characters ForUm told you about are a living proof of that Ukrainians can be successful in any country of the world - the key is faith, hard-working and patience. 

Olga Karetnikova


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