Society » Real life stories
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Ukrainians Make Money in Italy and Spain

There are a lot of foreign workers in Spain, mostly Ukrainians

A lot of things have changed during the latest decade. After the  break-up of the USSR, a lot of former Soviet republics have found themselves in a very interesting situation. Soviet people became foreigners. Ukrainians, for example, have different opinions about it. However, Ukraine is still the fatherland for millions of people in the world.

Statistics says, Ukrainians and Russians travel to the two states about 20 million times every year. The level and quality of the border control is constantly improving. It can be seen in everything: in customs officers' professional conduct, their attitude to the citizens of the two states - everything is civilized. Young people of Ukraine try to find happiness and earn their living in foreign countries. They usually go to Spain, Italy, Portugal or Russia, to Moscow. Young couples often leave their little children with their grandparents. A young woman's husband died tragically, and she decided to leave her two little sons to her parents and go to Italy to improve her financial situation. She has recently visited Ukraine to attend one of her son's wedding. She bought him a good apartment and furnished it. Now she intends to return to Italy, where she owns a small business.

In foreign countries, Ukrainians work as farmers, maids, babysitters, waitresses, cooks. A girl named Oksana graduated from the Russian language and literature department. She could not find a suitable job in Ukraine, so she and her husband went to Italy. They have been living in Italy for three years already. Oksana and Viktor visited Ukraine in summer on a new Renault. They say they are happy with life in the warm country. The couple dreams to return to Ukraine for good, but they need to earn more money to build their own house.

On a plane to Moscow, I had a chance to meet two women - Anna Przhevalsky and Maria Liven. The two women were residing in Spain. We became friends very quickly and Maria kindly invited me to visit her house in the south of Spain. I could not imagine that I would have a chance to meet the Ukrainian diaspora in the Spanish resort town of Benidorm.

The first thing that struck me in Benidorm was the number of foreign workers there, mostly Ukrainians. Spanish employers prefer to hire them because they work hard and they are not expensive. Maria Liven introduced me to Irina Timchenko from Kiev - she chairs the tailor workshop in Spain's largest entertainment enterprise Benidorm Palace. Irina has been living abroad for six years, she speaks Spanish very well, she makes very good money and next year she will have a right to obtain permanent residence in Spain. Her firm rents her an apartment and provides social payments. The company highly values her as a first-class specialists. Now Irina works with personal orders for an Arab princess. Most often Irina makes Spanish costumes, but she can handle any order from any client.

I spent three weeks in Spain, meeting my country-fellows who live and work in Spain and prefer to spend their vacations on Canary Islands (probably they are tired of the Mediterranean Sea and want to try something more exotic). I have had a lot of casual encounters with Spanish Ukrainians - in parks, at the railway station, in streets and shops.

One day Maria Liven took me to baroness Irina von Maidel - she is turning 90 in November. The baroness comes from Baltic Germans and her big house is like a museum - there are a lot of antique paintings and things there. As it turned out, one of the Russian tsars gave an estate to their family in the Ukrainian town of Kamenets-Podolsky. Even Baltic Germans in Spain had something to do with Ukraine.

I did not feel lost in Spain, because I was constantly surrounded with the people of my nationality.

Larisa Fomenko