Top 5 stereotypes about Ukrainian people

Having visited different countries I was surprised to hear that almost everywhere people have the same stereotypes about Ukrainians. When they heard me say I am from Ukraine they immediately said something like “Oh, is it somewhere in Russia?”, or “How did you manage to survive after Chernobyl disaster? Do you eat salo every day? “So, let us look closer at 5 main stereotypes about Ukrainian culture, which I have found out.

  1. All Ukrainian people adore salo (lard). Everyone thinks that we have it for every meal of the day. Why is it so? Nowadays we do eat salo, but it is not the main dish of the day. It is served in the restaurant along with borsch. You may find in many restaurants, but many people do not eat salo at all.
  2. Ukrainian people drink a lot of alcohol. I would not say that this statement is 100% true. There are many nations, which like drinking a lot of beer and wine, however, when I hear that we drink lots of vodka (horilka) on any occasion, I try to explain that the situation is different. I admit that it is like a tradition to drink some alcohol when we meet our friends, when we celebrate something or when something not very good happens, but… we do not drink ourselves to death. Among other spirits the majority of people would choose rum, cognac or gin rather than vodka. Somewhere in rural areas residents might drink homemade vodka, but in the city it is a rare occasion. We do have many wineries. So if you invite a lady for a date, she would rather drink a glass of wine than vodka. The same situation is among men too. If they celebrate some special occasion, it would rather be a cognac. My friends and people I know do not like even a smell of vodka and may use it more for medical reasons. More and more people choose a healthy lifestyle.
  3. It is freezing cold in our country. I heard that there were bears walking in our streets wearing fur hats and that winter is very cold. As you can understand, we have no bears in the streets and, especially nowadays, winters in Ukraine are not cold, they are actually warm and even rainy. The weather changes depending on the region. If we are talking about the south, it has a pretty warm climate. Winter there is very mild, almost like spring. My friends live in Odessa, a city on the shore of Black Sea and they say that the first time the saw snow was this winter. My friend`s kids were having snowball fights the first time in their lives, they are both 4 years old. In summer it is as hot as in some African countries, so you can enjoy swimming in the sea. In the west of Ukraine it is colder near the mountains. People skate and ski in winter there.
  4. There is no difference between Russian and Ukrainian. Frankly speaking, they may seem to be alike. However, if you look at them in detail, you will see that there is more than 60 per cent difference between them. There is quite much difference as it has different phonetic and lexical features. Considering lexis, the closest to Ukrainian are Polish (70%) and Serbian (68%). Speaking of phonetics, it has more common features with Czech, Slovak and Polish; and less with Russian.
  5. Ukrainian VS Russian language:

    Moia kokhana & moya lubimya –my love. Probably the most popular phrase around the world.

    Sonechko & solnishko – sun. This is a very warm and sweet term to call your beloved.

    Gudzyk & pugovitsa – button.

    Garna & krasivaya – beautiful.

    Oliya & maslo – oil.

    Slushnyi & podhodyashiy – suitable, convenient.

    In some words you may notice a huge difference in pronunciation.

  6. Slavic women are beautiful. You can easily recognize a Slavic woman abroad by impeccable style, high heels, make up and hair-do. She is going to shine anywhere she goes, either it is a supermarket or a night out. They do pay much attention to fashion and looking good. They almost never travel light, because they should change clothes every day. If you often visit sea resorts, you should make an observation. Only Slavic women would come to a swimming pool in full gear. She is going to wear a seductive swimming suit of a bright color, not always comfortable, but beautiful. Not rarely she is going to put make up. If she travels with family, all the family members including kids would look stunning and well-dressed to. While I was working in Dubai, I came across such situations hundreds of time. Wherever you go and see dressed up women, they will definitely speak Russian. That`s why retailers at the markets and shops learn Russian in order to upsell and make compliments. When I was in one of the oldest market in Dubai, I was walking and all the shop assistants were calling me Natasha, Marina, Iryna and greeting in Russian. I was not so dressed up and was wearing sneakers, but probably they learnt to recognize Slavic features.
  7. What are Ukrainian people like? If you are going to visit our country soon, you might have read in some articles that they are too reserved and seem gloomy. But it just seems from the first sight. You can definitely reveal the warm amicability of these people. The more person can be (or seem) moody or disagreeable, the better friend he can appear to be. Once you give time to a person to understand who you are and get acquainted, then he will let you into his space and will greet you with open arms.

    Are Ukrainian people friendly? They need time to open up, but when they finally feel they can trust you, believe me, you won`t find a more amusing, fun and a very happy person around.