VOA Special English
My Ukraine


    Editor's note: This story is one of the winning entries from the "Teach Us about Ukraine" writing contest sponsored by VOA Learning English and GoGlobal.

    I'm Olena, and I teach English at Starokostyantyniv Secondary School № 1 in Ukraine. And this is my essay.

    FILE - Paton's Bridge in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Adobe Stock Photo by Joyt)
    FILE - Paton's Bridge in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Adobe Stock Photo by Joyt)

    My Ukraine was first mentioned in historical documents like the Hypatian Codex in the year 1187. That was the name of the territory of the Principality of Pereyaslavl and the first mother's lullaby about Son'ko Drimko.

    My Ukraine is heard in Mykola Leontovych's song Shchedryk. Known as Carol of the Bells, the song is often performed at Virsky's national folk dances, boxing fights of world champion Olexandr Ysyk and, unfortunately, in breaking news about the war.

    My Ukraine is a picture of the capital, Kyiv with the golden domes of St. Michael's cathedral, the street of Andrijivsky Uzviz, Paton's bridge, Taras Shevchenko National University and the flags honoring our brave warriors on Independence Square.

    My Ukraine is a little boy named Leo singing Oy, u luzi chervona kalyna. The song became the national anthem of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen in Ukraine in 1914. Since 2022, it has become our national song, and young and old have been singing it ever since.

    My Ukraine is a picture of a Carpathian pearl with a flag on Hoverla, the highest mountain; it is a visit to Kamjanets' Podilsky, a historic castle from the Medieval; it is a journey to Livadia Palace in Crimea that I hope to show my daughter someday.

    My Ukraine is a piece of coal with a fern print from Donbass. Historians say it could be the remains of the first plants that grew on the territory of modern Ukraine 360 million years ago.

    My Ukraine is a present from my grandmother's field, a heart-shaped stone that resembles the heart of all Ukrainians.

    My Ukraine is the National University of Ostroh Academy. Founded in 1576, it is the first institution of higher education in what is now Ukraine.

    My Ukraine is my hometown of Starokostyantyniv in the western Khmelnytsky region. It is the hometown of great airmen who defend the country against Russian invasion. And it is the land of history.

    My Ukraine is the famous sculptor Nikolai Mazur who created fairytale characters like Neptune on a chariot, mermaids, mosquitoes, fish and dragonflies made out of metal and machine parts.

    My Ukraine is seeing children making bracelets and candles to raise money for charities, running races to collect money to buy drones for our troops, and watching my daughter sleeping quietly in her bed at home.

    This is my Ukraine.

    I'm Gena Bennett.


    About the Writer

    Olena Moseichuk is a Ukrainian born in Poland to wonderful Ukrainian parents who taught her to love her own country. She has been teaching for 14 years and is currently a teacher at Starokostyantyniv Secondary School № 1 in Khmelnytsky region. Olena says she is not J.K. Rowling, but she loves creating fairy tales for her daughter.