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Why in Lviv


Lviv is a unique city, in which the history, culture, mentality of two worlds – the East and the West – are tolerantly merged

UCU Interns go to Kyiv

One of the perks of being an International Intern at UCU is the ability to discover and explore other Eastern European cities that are usually inaccessible from any other regular job in the states. One overnight train ride, and Lydia and I found ourselves in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, visiting some friends of ours. The only way I can compare the two cities in my Midwestern terms is by comparing Lviv to Chicago, and Kyiv to New York.


Lviv, much like Chicago, is big enough to feel like you can immerse yourself in an urban city setting, but still maintain a smaller, more intimate feel at the same time. Kyiv, like New York, can completely swallow you whole – but not in a bad way. You can get lost in its endless sights and diversions. On one street, you have Kyiv’s giant bright red university named for Taras Shevchenko; around another corner, the famous Hreshchatyk street with hoards of well-dressed and primped Ukrainians promenading up and down its wide sidewalks; around another, the Dnipro;  another, a mysterious bazaar filled with Ukrainian, Soviet, and other historical memorabilia. Then, you take a funicular up one of Kyiv’s famous hills to a summit dotted with golden church domes with a chorus of bells ringing the hour. Finally, around the last corner – Giraffe Café, an African themed coffee shop. Why not?


Our weekend panned out with a similar series of events, hopping around the city and discovering different corners of Kyiv. Though of all the sights we saw, we did frequent one more than once – a restaurant with the best cheeseburgers we’ve had in months. Our American tastes got the best of us, and the waiters in the restaurant found our enthusiasm and the fact that all 4 of us ordered the same burger highly entertaining. It never hurts to see a native Ukrainian smile.


We had a great time in Kyiv spending time with fellow ex-pats, discovering the quirks and gems of the country’s capital. On the train home though, we were both excited to get back to Lviv’s familiar cobblestoned streets, trademark cafes, and omnipresent Ukrainian language. Much like both Chicago and New York, there is still much left to discover in both cities, and we’re excited to keep delving further into each one during our time here.