Ukraine - the geografical center of Europe
18.01.2011, Tuesday
12:17:17 GMT+2
1 EUR = 10.57 UAH

Pre-Departure Information

Health Insurance & Medical Information

Travel insurance & medical insurance

It is important to check with your medical provider and insurance company to ascertain what expenses incurred in Europe are covered. We highly recommend that you purchase short-term travel insurance to supplement your current medical plan. Travel insurance covers these four basic areas:

  1. Medical/health problems
  2. Property loss
  3. Trip cancellation/interruption
  4. Emergency evacuation

Local Ukrainian Health Insurance

Students studying for semesters programs are requested to purchase local Ukrainian Health Insurance (not valid outside of Ukraine) for the application of their Permit of Stay. The cost for the Local Ukrainian Health Insurance and Permit of Stay (approximately 140$ USD) will be billed along with the Tuition Fees.

Booking your tickets

Purchasing airfare

It is the responsibility of each student to make his/her own travel arrangements. You may wish to have a travel agent help you with your travel plans. There are many different options for purchasing your tickets and it is important to choose the one which suits your needs best.

We recommend that you do not wait to the last minute for obtaining all of your travel documents!!

Preparing your finances


Although it is more advantageous to convert money in Europe than it is at home, it is important to have enough money for the first 24 to 48 hours of your trip. You should plan on having approximately minimum of 100-200$ USD to be able to pay for any other issues that could arise when traveling.

When changing money abroad it is always best to go to a bank. Although there are change offices all over Florence, they charge a commission and their exchange rate is usually high. This rule also applies to hotels, airports and train stations, where rates are usually higher than at a bank. To avoid losing money from transaction charges, it is best to change large sums of money at one time.

Traveler's checks

Traveler's checks are an easy and safe way to carry money while traveling but are becoming more and more obsolete and difficult to find a place in Ukraine that will change them for you. Visa and American Express are the most recognized companies and your home bank should have one or the other available to buy. If stolen, your company will be able to refund your money as well as provide such assistance as toll-free refund hotlines abroad and other emergency services.

Credit cards

Credit cards are generally accepted all over Ukraine although some restaurants and budget hotels will only accept cash. Credit cards will sometimes be required when reserving hotel rooms or rental cars. Credit cards can also provide cash advances through ATM machines. Although the transaction fee is hefty (around $10 for the advance and 2-3% extra for foreign transactions), having the option available can prove to be a great relief in event of an emergency. In order to make cash advances with your credit card number, contact your credit card company to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

ATM and Debit Cards

ATM machines (Bankomat in Ukrainian) are quite common in Ukraine and are easy to find and use. Before leaving home check with your bank to make sure you have an international pin code and that your card is compatible with Europe's systems.

The Debit Card

The Debit Card allows your cash card to also be used as a credit card. Instead of paying a monthly bill, the Debit card takes the money directly and immediately from your bank account. Although convenient, these cards can be extremely risky. If your card is stolen and used to charge, the money is NOT recoverable (up to a maximum stated by your bank) whereas a credit card company is insured and will not charge you for purchases made with your stolen card. If you have a Debit card and find it indispensable, be aware of the risks and exercise caution.

Note: For either Credit or Debit Cards, make sure to call into your bank before your departure to inform them you will be using your card outside of the country for the period of your travels.  If you do not, you risk having a block placed on your account.

The most important thing to remember is never limit accessing your money to one option. It is absolutely essential to have a backup source of money readily available. If you rely on a bankcard alone and it is stolen, you will have no means get money. It may be a good idea to have a second bankcard issued which you can leave at home in case of emergency. Nevertheless, mailing new cards or wiring money takes time so it is important to have more than one way of getting cash.

Helpful tips while traveling

  1. Remember that you may lose a day when you travel to Europe as example from Africa. You will arrive a day later than you leave due to the change of time zones.
  2. make photocopies of everything!!
  3. All important documents should be photocopied and the copies should be kept in separate places. This includes: passport, credit cards (front and back), driver's license, traveler's checks serial numbers, traveler's insurance and airline tickets. Make more than one copy and leave one set at home.
  4. When traveling be sure to have at least two forms of identification with you at all times, one with a photo ID.
  5. Losing luggage is a rite of passage that at some point we all must go through. By traveling to Ukraine you may encounter this problem sooner than you think! Always pack a change of clothes in your carry on bag, or the items you think you could not do without for a night, possibly a few days. This PARTICULARLY includes items such as prescription medicine. Always pack your valuables such as jewelry and camera equipment in your carry-on.
  6. Make sure that your carry-on luggage is “airline friendly”. This means no scissors or cutting implements of any kind, no metal nail files, and no Swiss Army knife!
  7. Put your name, address, and phone number (both home and Florence) where it can be found easily both on the inside and outside of each suitcase.
  8. If your bag has been lost report it to the airline and leave the name and number of the school where it can be delivered upon arrival. IMPORTANT: If you have chosen to lock your bag, leave your luggage key or lock combination for customs or else the bag will not be delivered and you will have to return to the airport to pick it up.
  9. Make sure that all your travel documents are in an accessible place throughout the trip, as you will need to show them frequently.
  10. If you can't comfortably carry your bag across the room, it is too heavy.
  11. Sleep on the airplane; you will be significantly more refreshed when you arrive.
  12. Read all of the information that we have sent out to you (and a couple of travel guides too) and you will be prepared for just about any situation as soon as you arrive.

Before You Go-What to Bring

  • Safety begins when you pack. To avoid being a target, dress conservatively. Don't wear expensive looking jewelry. A flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you as a tourist. As much as possible, avoid the appearance of affluence.
  • Always try to travel light. You can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. You will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended.
  • Carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary for your trip and plan a place or places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hostel safe. When you have to carry them on your person, you may wish to conceal them in several places rather than putting them all in one wallet or pouch. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.
  • If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Bring them and any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage.
  • To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first.
  • Bring traveler’s checks and one or two major credit cards instead of cash.
  • Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen.
  • Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage.

What to Leave Behind

Don't bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave at home:

  • valuable or expensive-looking jewelry,
  • irreplaceable family objects,
  • all unnecessary credit cards,
  • Social card, library cards, unneeded credit cards, and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet.

Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.

Pre-departure checklist

Remember: Pack smart and pack light!

  • You will have to carry everything you pack. Consider how much you can realistically carry all by yourself. Contact the airline you will be flying with and inquire about baggage limitations. Ask about the allowed number of carry-on & checked bags, and their dimensions and weight limits. It’s also worthwhile to find out what the fees are for going over the weight limit. And most importantly DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE NIGHT BEFORE TO PACK!
  • Spread out essential items, such as undergarments and a change of clothes throughout your pieces of luggage, especially your carry on. This is a good idea should the airline loose one of your bags.
  • We recommend packing clothes that do not require dry cleaning or special care.
  • Pack the change of seasons. Consider if you want to carry a heavy coat on the plane or purchase one once you’re in Ukraine. Dressing in layers during the winter months is also a good idea.
  • Pack comfortable walking shoes. Most of your transportation will be provided by your own two feet, treat them well!
  • Consider packing one or two semi-dressy outfits. There may be occasions when you may want to wear something nicer than your blue jeans.
  • Pack enough personal hygiene items to get you through the 1st week. Items such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste etc. You can restock once you know your way around.
  • Pack enough prescription medicines to get you through your travels.  They cannot be mailed overseas and will get stopped in customs!
  • Be aware of the culture in which you are going to be living. Be respective of their customs. Wearing flashy or revealing clothing can draw unwanted attention and may be considered disrespectful.
  • Have something familiar in otherwise unfamiliar surroundings. A few pictures of family, friends, or your pet may help you in those moments of homesickness. Also, try keeping a travel journal even if it’s the first time you’ve ever done this. Students always enjoy reading through entries about events, people and places that they may have forgotten about.
  • And the most important thing – EMPTY SPACE! Remember that you will have more stuff when you come back home!

Copies, copies, copies!

  • Make at least 3 copies of your Passport. Give one to your parents/guardian/spouse and keep 2 copies with you while abroad. Keep copies in a secure and separate place from your passport.
  • Make at least 2 copies of the front and back of each credit card you will be taking. Give one copy to your parents/guardian/spouse and keep one copy with you while abroad. Again your copy should be kept in a secure & separate place from your credit cards.
  • Do the same with any traveler’s checks and debit cards you may be taking with you while abroad.
  • Make at least 2 copies of your travel itinerary. Once more, leave one copy with your parents/guardian/spouse and carry the other with you in a separate place other than the original.

Money, money, money!

  • Make sure your credit and debit cards are accepted in Ukraine. Usually if your card has a Cirrus logo you’re fine. But always check with your financial institution!
  • Contact your company before leaving to let them know you will be using your card overseas.  If you don't you may risk having a hold placed on your account.

Identify yourself

  • Carry your passport and photo I.D. in a place that is secure, but easily accessible by you. You will have to present them at various points in your trip.
  • Make sure your I.D. has a photo, proof of age and maybe even student status (this is not necessary, but a good idea for obtaining discounts).
  • Carry a written doctor’s prescription for each medication you travel with, and make sure all medication is in the original containers. If possible try to get enough of your medication for the duration of your stay before you depart.
  • Carry a proof of insurance with you. Again, make sure to carry it in a secure place.

It’s in the bag!

  • If you will be using a purse or bag (for the gentlemen), remember to keep it with you at all times. Never leave your belongings unattended even for a moment! Tuck it firmly under your arm or if it has a long strap, wear it across your chest rather than dangling from your shoulder. You might consider carrying a money belt, which is worn under clothing, to carry your money and Passport.
  • Carry the address and phone number to with you at all times. Remember to leave this contact information with your parents/spouse/guardian.
  • You might consider purchasing a guidebook about Ukraine at your local bookstore. It’s always a great idea to do research about your destination to learn about the culture, travel, and much more. During orientation you will get an extensive Student Handbook outlining places to shop, eat, buy groceries and lots of great information that will be handy for your time in Ukraine.

Welcome to ukraine!

Our agent will be waiting for you at airport, holding a table written over it, you have to contact him/her immediately, he/she will accompany you further, until your arrive to the university and hostel, to get placement and necessary registrations procedures.