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Day 46: Teaching English in Ukraine – How I Got My Teaching Gig in Kiev

Day 46: Sportin' My Teacher Look

Day 46: Sportin' My Teacher Look

I get quite a few emails asking me about how I got my job teaching English in Ukraine, so now is as good a time as ever to divulge my lovely bits of insider information. If you happen to be one of those interested in an extended immersion into this former Soviet country, then listen up!

I never thought I would end up in Ukraine, and although my time there was in the murky Ukrainian winter, I am lucky to have had that experience. Without it, I would never have found myself killing time in the Baltic countries before my start date, thus never meeting Patrick! Plus, I now have a special spot in my heart for the Ukrainian people, one that goes beyond the bleak, non-smiling faces to the real soft and caring souls they contain. And, a deep love and respect for vodka as a winter-warming drink.

How I Got the Job

To be honest, during my month-long hiatus at home in August of 2008, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next – return to learn more Russian in Kyrgyzstan or attempt to get a teaching job. My ideal setup was to get a job teaching English in a country that speaks Russian so I could continue learning while also making a bit of money. I frantically took to looking for ways to achieve this, which involved me spending countless hours on the web scouring English language schools in countries like Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The options that I found – since I didn’t have any classroom teaching experience – were to either work in Russia for no pay except for a small return on lessons or to work with the American English Center in Kiev.

I applied and applied, and eventually I got a response from AEC who then wanted to do a Skype phone interview. I was ecstatic! Oh, the possibilities!

I got word of the offer when I was back on the road.

The Training I Needed for the Job

While I was in Bishkek studying Russian, I had already thought about the possibility of pursuing teaching abroad, so I took an online TEFL course. It definitely is not as good as taking a proper in-the-classroom course, but I thought it would at least give me a bit of an edge over people who had no training whatsoever. Plus, it is heaps cheaper.

Luckily, the job with AEC was open to those with no teaching experience since they offered a bit of training in the beginning and had a fairly decent classroom program planned out.

The Visa I Needed for the Job

This part gets a bit hazy. I was hoping to get my official letter of employment from AEC before I arrived so I could get the proper working visa, but alas, I did not. They told me to come into the country (where I could stay for up to 6 months) and then leave the country on a break to get the proper visa later on. Well, I never got the proper visa (I left before 6 months to go to Australia), and apparently that was okay for the school? We were also paid in cash.

So, as you can see, getting the job was not too much hassle when you consider the lack of teaching experience. But, you also have to consider that Ukraine in the winter isn’t the most desirable destination.

>> Read more about the pay situation at my teaching gig in Ukraine.


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26 Responses to Day 46: Teaching English in Ukraine – How I Got My Teaching Gig in Kiev

  1. mur April 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    would you recommend aec

    • Brooke August 3, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      Late response, but yes to the right people 🙂 Email me and let’s talk.

      • Shawn August 9, 2011 at 3:43 am #


        Would you say it would be very hard for someone to teach english in Ukraine is they only understood some basic Russian?

        Also, how was the pay with AEC?

        • Brooke August 9, 2011 at 7:43 am #

          Hi Shawn,

          You do not need to know any Russian to teach English, especially in a classroom situation as some students will know more than others and help. As for pay, it wasn’t that good when I was there because we were given hrivna and the value in dollars dropped because of the financial crisis. It wasn’t enough for me at the time to do anything more than live in Ukraine. Email me if you have more questions 🙂

          • Miguel Perez August 15, 2011 at 11:37 pm #


            I am trying to relocate into Ukraine, and work there as a teacher, can you send me list of possible schools looking for a teacher?



          • hassan November 13, 2011 at 4:32 am #

            Thanks for the information. i would like to ask you some questions if I get you reply to this mail. Actually I want to go to ukrain to teach English.

      • Olga November 29, 2012 at 5:45 am #

        I’m looking for a private English teacher for my son (5 years old) in Kiev. The main idea of the lessons is not to use translation at all, just to develop the language feeling, understanding and ability to talk. He had such experience before and liked it very much. Could you please reccoment someone? Are you still in Kiev?


        • Brooke December 3, 2012 at 12:52 am #

          I have not been in Kiev for a few years, but I put a message on Facebook to see if anyone else is still there. I’ll let you know if I find anyone 🙂

        • Jonne January 9, 2014 at 8:54 am #

          Hi Olga,

          I am an American living in Kyiv. To answer your question about finding a long term American English teacher to teach your son, it is rather difficult to find an American living in Ukraine long term because they need working visas and most foreigners teach English in Ukraine unofficially and cannot stay for a long term legally so most of them leave after some time. In my case I have permanent residence and I have legal right to be in Ukraine permanently. If you will need an American teacher in the future then please contact me. Thank you.

        • michael January 21, 2015 at 5:16 am #

          Hi Brooke,

          This is Michael. I just got back from teaching English in Colombia for a year. I have over 20 years Teaching ESL. I understand this post is about 3 years old. Maybe we could be friends and help each other.
          I can teach University Students, and and even Ukraine Teachers who want to be ESL Teachers. Only serious people need to contact me, thank you ! I am not afraid of war etc. I die when God says I die.


      • Maria February 8, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

        Hey Brooke,

        So I recently had an interview with AEC and am planning on heading out to Kyiv in March. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions. Such as the the whole visa policy? How did others work around that? Do you know what the penalty is?


  2. The Big Lebowski December 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Hey Brooke,

    What schools besides AEC can you recommend or heard good things about in Kiev? How often and how many times did you apply with AEC? Seems alot of crap small 1 man schools in Kiev run by american losers! 🙁

    On a separate note? What did you like about Kiev and what’s some great places to hangout and see there and fun places to chill?

    What’s your email?

  3. Shahrokh January 7, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Dear Brooke,

    Are there any chances for non-native teachers to get a job in Ukraine?

    I would appreciate it if you could let me know of the regulations in language schools there.

    Best Regards,
    Shahrokh Javady

  4. Costas March 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Would be very interested in teaching English in the Ukraine, but i am not a native speaker. Had several years of experience though, both as a private tutor and in several companies and also did English preparatory courses for Greeks who wanted to go to the UK to study. How would i go about finding work there?

    Thank you for your time,


  5. Eric July 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Hi.. I’m actually in Ukraine right now and I went to the National University in Kherson.. and they seem to be interested in my ability to teach French Phonetics.. I would really like to know what I can do as a Canadian to better accomplish this goal. I love Ukraine, the people and the way of Life.. and I want to build a future here. I’m 25, fluent in both English and French.. I believe we have a common approach to learning russian. It’s my 3rd time in Ukraine. I don’t exactly have a high school diploma but I’m willing to go back to school in order to achieve my higher purpose. The director at the university has voiced an interest and she asked me to bring all my documents.. I have no idea what those documents are.. and I feel I have limited time because ideally, they would like me as soon as possible. I’m not specific to which city I would like to work in.. Kherson is simply the city I had the chance to speak to a University about it.. The Director offered to house me in student hostels and to pay me a small salary.. enough to pay rent. I will probably need to get a second job but I would first like to secure my first job.. I believe I would make a great Phonetics instructor.. but I first need to return to school in Canada, In order to achieve this and to feel comfortable providing a higher quality program for those I wish to teach. What do you recommend? and is there a way you can give me suggestions in a List Format?

  6. ProfdrMakElaa August 14, 2013 at 12:25 am #

    I am a US citizen, ProfDr teacher. I have 33 year teaching experience.
    Thanks, for your soonest reply.

  7. Lenin September 1, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    Amazing how so many of these “teachers” that want to come to Ukraine, especially Odessa, are American men in the later years! How sad and funny. As an American who has lived and worked in Odessa since 2006, I would ask you all to,stay away. You horny old men that come here are a laughing stock, that hang out at the Irish Pub in city center and meet prostitutes. You know nothing about Ukrainians, the culture, or speak a word of Russian, but come here and insult us all because you think your money and desire to have sex with beautiful young women is just fine. Do us all a huge favor and STAY AWAY!!!!!

  8. Iryna February 3, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    Hi Brooke,
    I just landed on your blog after seeing you in the introductory video for the Canva design online course. I’m from Ukraine and now I’ll surely check out your posts about Kyiv! And other places too.
    Best regards from Kyiv,

  9. Leo Sterling March 17, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    Hello Brooke,

    I know this is a fairly old post in terms of where you’re probably located currently (naturally for people like us) but I hope I can still nudge you for some helpful tips and information regarding Ukraine and your certification. Any help would be greatly appreciated! If you could answer just a few questions that would be dandy-

    Thank you,

    Leo S.


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