Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, with an area of 603,700 square kilometers; a coastline of 2,782 kilometers and a population of 45.70 million (2008). The capital and the largest city in Ukraine is Kiev. The seven neighboring countries are: Belarus, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Poland. To the South, Ukraine is washed by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Sea borders are shared by Turkey, Bulgaria and Georgia. The Ukrainian landscape consists mostly of fertile plains and plateaus, crossed by rivers such as the Dnieper (Dnipro), Seversky Donets, Dniester and the Souther Buh. They flow from north to south into the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The country's has two mountains ranges. The Carpathians in the west, with the highest peak being the Hoverla mountain at 2,061 meters (6,760 ft), and on the Crimean peninsula, in the extreme south along the coast.
Ukraine has temperate continental climate in the mainland with Mediterranean climate on the coastal belt. Winters vary from cool along the Black sea to cold farther inland. Average annual temperatures range from 5.5–7 ºC (42–45 ºF) in the north, to 11–13 ºC (52–55.4 ºF) in the south.
Ukraine has a Democratic Government headed by a nationally elected president. The "Verkhovna Rada" or the Ukrainian parliament is the highest legislative body with 450 members elected for a four year term. On August 24, 1991 Ukraine declared itself an independent country from the former USSR. Post Soviet rule, Ukraine has opened her doors to foreign investors, businessmen and tourists. Ukraine has always been a very hospitable and friendly country, happy to receive foreign businessmen, foreign guests, tourists and students.
The people of Ukraine have created good architecture. Monuments from 11th to 18th centuries can be seen throughout Ukraine. Industry is well developed. Space, rocket engineering, aircraft & ship building, high tech equipment production, micro electronics, chip development, media technology and genetic engineering are note able examples. The Antonov airplanes, Kraz Trucks are exported to many countries. From 1991 to 2007, Ukraine has launched 6 self-made satellites and 101 launch vehicles. Electrical equipment made in Ukraine is highly rated in the world. Power station turbines, transformers, high-voltage instruments are used in many countries. International communications is very well developed.
Science & Technology
Ukraine has highly developed scientific potential. The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine has won a world-wide recognition as a center for physical studies of materials, electric welding, special electric metallurgy, synthetic super hard materials and tools made from them.
Ukraine attaches great importance to the international economic, scientific, medical and technological cooperation, particularly in the field of sharing the national experience with other countries. First of all it concerns training of highly skilled technical and medical personnel for developing countries. Many specialists from the developing countries have graduated from the educational institutions of Ukraine.
National minorities in Ukraine
Bulgarian, Greek, Jewish, Crimean Tartar, German, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Hungarian and dozens of others are part of Ukraine. A system of national schools, libraries, mass media, scientific centers, radio and television, theatres and creative societies is developed. Languages of all peoples inhabiting the territory of Ukraine are granted equality on the state level. The majority religion in Ukraine is Christianity. There are about 0.5 million Muslims in Ukraine, mostly in Crimea and Kiev. Jews form a small minority with a population estimate ranging from 100,000 to 300,000.
After independence Ukraine achieved progress in development of the national system and mechanisms in the sphere of protection of human rights. Democratic elections, political pluralism, freedom of speech and mass media, establishing the democratic social state based on the rule of law have become reality. The human beings life, health, dignity and safety are recognized in Ukraine as the highest social value. The constitution guarantees the right of every person to appeal to relevant international institutions and organizations for protection of his or her rights. Ukrainians openness, accessibility and efficiency are more than just empty words.
Higher Education for Foreign Students
Foreign students study in regions full of surprising contrasts of which they quickly become a part of, especially during the many festivals and the intense cultural life, for which the region and the country is famous. Ukraine has always been open to foreign students. There are about 1000 institutes of Higher Education in Ukraine and over 30,000 international students are enrolled in various institutes from over 100 countries from Asia, Europe, America and Africa. The international student community in Ukraine comprises men and women from all over the world; who have the invaluable experience of studying together with students from many different cultural and national backgrounds. Contact with students from many countries in the world broadens understanding of other peoples & provides valuable friendships, many of which last a lifetime.
Ukraine is linked with most major European cities. Most international flights go to Ukraine. International trains enter Ukraine from many countries. Ships are available from various cities in the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. All official land border crossings into Ukraine are unrestricted, provided you have a visa ahead of time. Ukraine is literally the hub of central Europe. Travel between major Ukrainian cities is best by train or by flight. They are cheap, frequent and convenient. There are bus services to most cities and towns. Taxi services are numerous in Ukraine. Fines are imposed if traffic police smell alcohol in a driver's breath. Driving Speed limits are 40 km/h in built-up areas, 90 km/h in countryside and 110km/h on the motorways. Foreigners need an international driving license to drive automobiles in Ukraine.
1 Hryvnya (UAH) = 100 Kopiyok (singular-kopiyka). Notes are in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 10, 5, 2, and 1 hryvnya. Coins are denominated in 50, 25, 10, 5. Foreign currency is readily changed at numerous currency exchanges on the streets or in banks. Credit cards are not readily accepted. Only restaurants and hotels accept them. International ATM cards work in most ATMs.
GDP was estimated at 198 billion USD in 2008 and per capital income at USD 4,322 per annum.