Higher education in Ukraine and Canada

The Newcomer Explains

The campus of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in Kyiv, Ukraine

Supplied photo

My four years of higher education in Ukraine flew by quite fast. Last summer, I already had my bachelor’s degree in translation, somehow managed to combine remote education in Ukraine while being in Canada and started going to University of Winnipeg at the same time.

Every now and then, I hear how different the Ukrainian education system is from those in North America.

When I came to Canada, I was surprised that there were no groups. In Canada, students generally have more freedom to choose their classes in the order they want within schedules they find comfortable.

When I began my education at a Ukrainian university, I was assigned to be in the group TEG 15B (Translation English German). The group consisted of 20 people, and we took classes together for four years.

We didn’t choose our classes within the program but instead received a syllabus that covered our topics and courses for those years.

In general, this helped create a sense of friendship within each group. Students worked together, helped each other with homework and prepared for tests.

Most of the classes are passed in the form of oral tests, and there is only one per term. The rest of the grades depend on the stu- dent’s activity, exercises or homework.

Homework is mandatory. Most subjects have work that is assessed either in the form of exercises or during “practical classes,” where students answer questions or give oral presentations.

However, profs assign homework themselves, often without taking other course-loads into account. Several times, our group was absolutely flooded with homework. This usually happened when we had English and would be told to write approximately 50 exercises by hand, including each and every word.

Writing by hand is the most common way of taking notes during lectures. When I started university in Ukraine, I came into a large auditorium, a lot of groups were present, most of the seats were taken, and there were at least 200 people. Our linguistics prof welcomed us all, immediately told us to open our copybooks, and we started writing down the lecture word by word for an hour and a half.

The worst part of this method is that students don’t really concentrate on what they hear, because they often only think about whether they have written everything down.

However, in Canada, people take notes in many different ways. Some students may even just listen and not write anything at all.

In general, the Ukrainian system is quite strict, but students know everything that’s going to happen. The Canadian system, however, is very different and much more

flexible, making it much easier for the student to get the classes they want.

Volodymyr Andreiko is a newcomer to Winnipeg from Ukraine. He is a translator and student at the University of Winnipeg interested in music, literature, philosophy and culture.

Published in Volume 78, Number 20 of The Uniter (March 7, 2024)

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