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Agent perspectives on the changing Ukrainian market

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • We continue our From the Field series today with feature video interviews with two Ukrainian agents: Oksana Almanova, Director of Bell Group and Mariya Lunyak, Director of Alekom-tour
  • Demand for study abroad is increasing under the current political crisis in Ukraine but it is shifting to more affordable destinations, particularly those in Europe

Editor’s note: We are updating our video channels and the videos linked below are temporarily unavailable.

Our most recent update on Ukraine focused on an ambitious package of higher education reforms as well as how the country’s education system is operating under the current political and military crisis. Today, we add another perspective via video excerpts from two recent interviews with agents with long experience in the market.

Our first video segment below is with Oksana Almanova, the Director of Bell Group. As Ms Almanova points out, with the onset of what is essentially an undeclared military conflict with Russia in early 2014, the study abroad market in Ukraine shifted abruptly. In particular, students began to demonstrate a distinct preference for more affordable destinations, especially those in Europe. Countries like Poland and the Czech Republic have emerged as more popular destinations, partly for reasons of price but also because of the relative ease with which Ukrainian students can acquire study visas.

“Parents want their kids to get a better future,” she says, but that future becomes more uncertain under the current political situation. Therefore, “the numbers [of students] are increasing, but the destinations, they change.”

Ms Almanova’s points are echoed in our second video segment below, this time with the Director of Alekom-tour, Mariya Lunyak. Alekom-tour is more focused on the youth market, and on summer programmes in particular. “We still send lots of groups to the UK, the US, and Canada,” she says. “This year, we had more inquiries for summer schools that will have opportunity to show clients universities…colleges…to show them opportunities to study further abroad. Parents are more focused on that because the situation in the Ukraine is very unstable and parents are not sure what will be tomorrow.”

Ms Lunyak describes as well as general increase in interest for study abroad at all levels, including boarding schools and higher education. And she notes an increase in inquiries for some destinations, such as Canada, that offer stronger prospects for post-study work or even migration after graduation.

At the end of the day, Ms Lunyak sees this as a moment for educators to step up their recruiting efforts in the Ukraine. The demand is there first and foremost, she notes, and the market is open to new marketing strategies and especially for those institutions that are able to handle inquiries and student files quickly and efficiently.

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