University English Teacher
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.
The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.
Ukraine is one of the oldest nations in Europe, yet it is one of the youngest democracies. Located in the heart of Europe, Ukraine is famous for its rich and diverse culture, stunning landscapes, fertile soil, flavorful cuisine, yet tragic history. Most importantly, it is famous for its proud people who value freedom above everything. It is because of their love for freedom that Ukrainians continue to resist Russian hybrid aggression, much like they have been for the past 400 years. “Resilient” is the adjective used frequently by Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to describe Ukrainians. Despite the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and active conflict instigated and fueled by the Russian government in the eastern part of the country, Ukraine remains one of the safest Peace Corps countries with the largest number of serving Peace Corps Volunteers who can’t help but eventually fall in love with the country and its people. Based on the 2019 Security Incident Questionnaire Crime Data Report, overall crime level against PCVs in Ukraine is 45% (global average is 53%) and serious crime level is 10% (global average is 17%), which makes PC/Ukraine one of the safest Peace Corps Posts globally.
The Peace Corps’ TEFL Project aims to enhance teachers’ and students’ English language communication abilities and to encourage independent thinking and problem solving through the creation of a motivating and interactive learning environment. Volunteers transfer language and teaching skills through team-teaching with Ukrainian teachers and facilitate professional development workshops on contemporary methodologies and student-centered techniques. Along with English teaching and professional trainings, Volunteers promote attitudes and skills essential for a shift to a market economy and democratic society – problem solving, critical thinking, civic responsibility, environmental awareness and healthy lifestyle.
Volunteers help foster students' interest in learning English as a language of international communication. Volunteers promote cross-cultural learning exchange through English language initiatives, emphasizing English instruction at a college level facilitating regular teacher-training events/clubs, and summer camps and promoting inclusive/special education and student-centered learning.
Volunteers will place a special focus on working with internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially in the eastern and central regions of Ukraine, helping to integrate young people and IDPs into their new communities and encourage dialogue between young Ukrainians of all ethnic, social, and economic groups.
University Education Volunteers implement community projects, assist in establishing English language clubs, and promote healthy lifestyles and volunteerism. In the summer, Volunteers often use free time to run community English clubs, as well as camps for literature and creative writing. University Education Volunteers also hold career development workshops, women’s empowerment seminars, and speaking clubs. They often work in libraries, run debate clubs, and promote technology for development.
University Education Volunteers work at pedagogical universities/colleges or other educational establishments, and facilitate teacher professional development trainings at In-Service Teacher Training Institutes. Volunteers will be teaching English, modeling communicative methodologies, and promoting critical thinking and problem solving skills, in addition to sharing American culture and demonstrating values such as diversity, tolerance, and the open exchange of information.
University Education Volunteers teach 18 academic hours per week to six to nine groups of 12 to 20 students, typically ranging in age from 15 to 23. Volunteers placed at In-Service Teacher Training Institutes will usually be provided with periodic two to three week courses for teachers. Volunteers’ schedule and teaching load will be determined in collaboration with colleagues. Students and teachers are working to improve transparency in their education and you can have a front row seat to this process. Ukrainian University students are hungry for a western-style education and eager to improve their English.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Master of Arts (MA) in English, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Teaching English as a second language (TESL), or Linguistics
• MA/MAT in any foreign language
• Strong communication skills;
• Prior experience in organizing camps and/or extracurricular activities;
• Information Technology skills;
• Any background with displaced, refugee children;
• Any background with inclusive education, mainstreaming, or related activity;
• Youth engagement: dance, drama, music, sports activities.
• Flexibility, adaptability, emotional maturity, ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, creativity, and sincere commitment to Peace Corps service.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Ukrainian is the native language of the Ukrainians and the official state language. According to most recent polls, some 48.4% of Ukrainians speak Ukrainian at home, while 23.9% speak both Ukrainian and Russian, and 27.3% of respondents speak only Russian in their households. Ukrainian is obligatory for use within government and education system, customer service, medical and social services.
All Volunteers are required to learn Ukrainian during re-Service Training. Peace Corps Ukraine offers a strong 10-week pre-service language learning program to get Volunteers started on their language learning journey. In addition, online resources and trainings, developed by Peace Corps Language Staff, will be available during service. The key to success in learning Ukrainian is a positive attitude, practice and systematic work. Trainees must demonstrate, at a minimum, an oral proficiency of novice-mid in Ukrainian by the end of pre-service training.
Prior experience of studying a foreign language will be of use.
• Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST). PST host family accommodations provide Volunteers with a safe, private room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Options for housing at a Volunteer’s permanent site may include an apartment in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house with separate bathing facilities and kitchen. A host family may be the only option for Volunteers during their service in some communities, subject to changing circumstances due to COVID-19.
The Ukrainian diet is bread-based with lots of wheat and grains; pork and dairy products are typically prepared daily. It is also very rich in fruits and vegetables during the summer, but mostly root vegetables during the winter months. Nearly 50% of Ukrainian households have indoor pets, and cats or dogs can be expected in many homes.
• Diversity Challenges
We encourage you to access our website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion at:
Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another Volunteers will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s Pre-Service Training will address these types of issues in preparation for service, and strive to provide appropriate and timely support utilizing experience and recommendations of former Volunteers and current support and affinity groups.
Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation, and this could take between 10 to 45 minutes. The country is well-served by trains. On shorter routes, Volunteers use mini-buses for inter-city transportation. New policies, procedures, and restrictions are in place to help limit the potential for exposure and transmission of COVID-19. Volunteers will need to adhere to Peace Corps Ukraine’s transportation policy.
The climate in Ukraine consists of four distinct seasons. Volunteers may experience long and snowy winters and hot or rainy summers. Global climate change affects Ukraine as well, making the weather less predictable.
Men and women should bring business casual clothing for work and casual settings. There are abundant secondhand shops in Ukraine and Volunteers make good use of them.
• Physical requirements
Communities where Volunteers are assigned in Ukraine are physically challenging and will require Volunteers to be physically fit to walk up and down stairs, ride public transportation, and sometimes use a squat toilet. Volunteers must be able to walk on uneven terrain/pavement and carry their groceries (~20 pounds).
• Service in “clusters”
Peace Corps Ukraine staff will make the best effort to place Volunteers strategically during service so that Youth Development, Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, and Community Development Volunteers will be able to work together on their community projects.
• President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
Peace Corps Ukraine is a member of the PEPFAR team and aspires to do our part to end the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. During service, Volunteers will have opportunities to take part in PEPFAR clubs and camps.
• Succession Placements
Most Volunteers in Ukraine are placed in succession at an organization or school to conduct different activities over time. Volunteers may be the first Volunteer at their site or they may the second or third in a sequence.
• Internet Access
Internet is available in most places, though the connection speed and consistency can often be lower than to what you are accustomed. 3G internet via cellular network is available in all big cities, most towns, and in parts of small communities.
Policies, procedures, and restrictions are in place to help limit the potential for exposure and transmission of COVID-19 and Volunteers will learn more about these safety recommendations.
Serving in Ukraine
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ukraine: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
During Pre-Service Training, couples will live together. In cases when spouses are assigned to different sectors, they may be placed in different nearby communities. In this case a couple can meet during weekends in one of the communities.
Couples will live together at their permanent site. Spouses have separate work assignments within the same community.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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