Aug 7, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

The EU’s official declaration of a visa liberalization regime for Ukraine this past spring was literally met with dancing in the streets. Here’s a closer look at the policy change, along with why the higher education sector, in particular, is heralding the change.

“Go, Go to Europe!”

According to EUobserver, discussions about visa liberalization and visa-free travel have been underway between the EU and Ukraine since 2005 and finally came to fruition on June 11. On that day, thousands of people gathered in Kiev’s European square to celebrate together. Pop singer Ruslana told the crowd, “Go, go to Europe! But then make sure to come back, because no place is more beautiful than Ukraine!”

Under the terms of the agreement, Ukrainian citizens with passports can travel to any EU country, as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, without a visa for up to 90 days for either tourism or business. (They are not permitted to work in the EU.)

Said President Petro Poroshenko, “Today, every Ukrainian can drink fantastic coffee in Bratislava, or fly on a low-cost flight to Warsaw, or visit the Vienna opera."

Increasing Short-Term Mobility

Visa liberalization is also expected to open new doors to Ukrainian students seeking short-term language studies programs and internships. In simplifying the travel process, the move is expected to save students both time and money -- thereby increasing exchange and the benefits that go along with it.

The takeaway? The future looks bright for Ukrainian students, who hold international studies in high regard. However, insiders say there are still obstacles to overcome. Growth in outbound numbers is likely to be curbed by high costs, low salaries, a weak national currency, and limited loan availability -- all of which present significant hurdles for aspiring international students. The ultimate hope? That the market will change to create less expensive, more abundant options.

Read more about studying in Ukraine

 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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