For a long time, many Ukrainians believed that their country was “lagging behind” European countries in all respects. However, after living in Europe, many Ukrainians realized that many aspects and services in Ukraine are not worse, but even better than those in European countries.
According to a survey by Gradus Research, Ukrainians who have lived abroad prefer the way of life and mentality in Ukraine, as well as people and relationships. The best in Ukraine is also considered to be the size of utility tariffs, comfortable opening hours of stores, price-quality ratio in the beauty sector, digitalization of commercial, public and financial services, and opportunities for personal development.
Of course, in the EU, Ukrainians are more satisfied with urban development, the quality of tap water, compliance with law and order, wages, waste sorting, etc. However, many services in Ukraine are lagging behind European competitors.
Mobile communications are more affordable and of higher quality in Ukraine. For example, in France, high-quality mobile Internet is available if you buy a SIM card for your passport, which is analogous to our contract with a mobile operator. However, such a contract is more expensive and inconvenient for tourists, for workers, and for those who do not plan to stay in France all year round. If you buy a SIM card with a regular monthly subscription, the Internet will be of poor quality and provide a small amount of megabytes.
Ukraine has much easier access to healthcare. Unlike European pharmacies, Ukrainian pharmacies are open 24/7 and you can buy any medicine you want. But many EU countries do not have this. Many medicines that Ukrainians can freely buy at home can only be purchased abroad with a doctor’s prescription, and you can wait days or even weeks for an appointment. And if we add to this the problems with language skills, many Ukrainians cannot use European medicine. So many Ukrainians who have traveled to Europe go to Ukraine for diagnosis and treatment! As for dentistry, the majority of Ukrainians prefer domestic dentistry to European.
In Europe, Sunday is a day when everything is closed. All shopping centers are closed and it is difficult to buy clothes or even food. In Poland, only a few small shops are open on Sundays, and even those are only open until lunchtime, and most products are quickly sold out. In Ukraine, on Sunday, Ukrainians can buy most of the necessary goods.
Many Ukrainian refugees in Germany complain about bureaucracy and poorly developed digital services. If you need an account statement, you should go to the bank and print it out. In Ukraine, many modern services have been created that allow Ukrainians to instantly receive business information, documents, and find out data from state registers online without queuing or visiting government agencies. In many countries, citizens need to stand in line at bureaucratic institutions to get services that in Ukraine everyone can get in a few minutes on their smartphone. Many Europeans are amazed that Ukraine is the first country in the world to equate an electronic passport with a physical passport in terms of legal force.
Many Ukrainians note that Portugal, for example, has a rather complicated and outdated banking system. It is very difficult to open a bank card in this country. In many stores, you can’t pay with Visa or MasterCard, as only local cards are accepted.
Even rental housing in many European countries is less competitive than in Ukraine. Many apartments can be rented without furniture, which is very rare in Ukraine. In Portugal, with an average salary of 700 euros, the minimum price to rent an apartment is 700-800 euros. Many Ukrainians note that even delivery services in the EU are often slower than Ukrainian companies. Beauty salons, car repairs, and many other services are considered by Ukrainians to be better at home than in many EU countries.
For many Ukrainians, abroad seemed like a paradise where everything is beautiful and perfect, but it turned out that in many aspects, services at home, in Ukraine, are of higher quality, more affordable and cheaper. Not surprisingly, in the first months of the war in 2022, the number of people returning to Ukraine exceeded the number of people leaving for other countries.
Author: Valeriy Maydanyuk