Re: English can be dangerous
Hi folks. I’ve been living in Poltava for about 2.5 years so now I’ve had some time to think about what it means to be a foreigner living here. The following is however only my opinion and some of you may not share it.
I think speaking English here can be problematic in SOME cases. For example I’ve had one of my Ukrainian friends being accused of showing off for speaking english on a bus. I’ve also had lots of people turning their heads round and staring at you — you can become paranoid thinking about it! I’ve also been at a party and had some young guy saying I was just here for the women. I’ve found the local shopkeepers can try and rip you off when they realise your foreign (a local once told me that they can do that with everyone though!)
Obviously if your speaking to a university student who studies English or economics or something they will be VERY interested in you. They will welcome the chance to practice their English. Other people might just be a little wary of you and others downright rude. The people who are wary of you will appreciate it if you at least try to speak to them in Ukrainian or Ukrainian. They can open up to you very quickly understanding you more which is why I recommend trying to learn at least a little Ukrainian or Ukrainian. It really is appreciated and shows that your genuinely interested in their culture etc. As for being wary its also understandable — lets face it there is a sizeable section of foreigners coming here for WOMEN! The locals know it. (Please note I’m saying some not all foreigners) There are also a large number of religious foreign groups here trying to convert the locals — sorry I don’t mean to offend but a lot of people resent that! As for the rude people — just ignore them, there are good people and bad people in every single place on earth. I’m also going to suggest that perhaps both British and American international standing has suffered recently due to the actions of our idiot governments — I’m not sure if I am right in this but I would not be surprised if at least a minority of people here dislike us for it.
As for some people just not taking an interest in you as a foriegner I have also experienced this and would make 2 points about it — (1) the longer you’ve lived here the more you will appreciate just being ignored! Sometimes its just good to be able to walk around and do your own thing (2) why should they be interested in us? There are a lot more Westerners here than ever before and the locals have long been subjected to some forms of вестернізації. We are simply not as unique here as we once were. Besides we are here to their experience way of life not the other way around. Having said that it can be difficult to meet people here and it can be quite frustrating.
But on the whole I would say that a large percentage of the local population as Fragov points are out keen to meet foreigners, are very friendly and hospitable. Just don’t expect people to throw themselves at you and be willing to get yourself out there rather than waiting for it to come to you.
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