Interview with an Ukrainian Expat in Norway

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Interview with an Ukrainian Expat in Norway

Artem Myronchuk was born in Donetsk in the eastern  part of Ukraine, not far from the Russian border and the airport of Donetsk. He came to Norway as a refugee in 2022, 22 years old. Read the whole interview with the Ukrainian expat in Norway.

I was curious why a young man from Ukraine fled from his home country (before the full invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2022). I met him last month for a conversation.

When the Russian invasion took place in 2014, he was 14 years old and he moved with his mother to Kropyvnytskyi in the central part of Ukraine.

He tells me that he was enrolled in the university in Kyiv and earned a bachelor’s degree in management of international business. His interest in crypto and blockchain led him to take part in a start-up company creating computer games and enabling participants to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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Interview with an Ukrainian Expat in Norway
Artem was born in Donetsk in the eastern part of Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, two major crypto projects failed, and the company went bust,” he says. “However, I still had a job in the same project, related to computer games on blockchain. It started in Ukraine and finished in Portugal.”

He moved to Norway in 2022 as a Ukrainian refugee, since his mother was already there, working as assistant Professor at the University of Oslo.

“The only thing I had in my procession when I arrived here was my bachelor’s degree. I registered at the National Arrival Center and was interviewed by the regional police. After one month I was granted my refugee status and was offered a place in a small room, I think 10 square meters, together with three other Ukrainian refugees, the oldest being about 65 with mental problems.”

For four months Artem had to adapt to this situation. It was far from comfortable, and it also turned out that the management of this private hostel was corrupt. Much of the money received from the authorities was not used for the refugees which influenced the food as well as the facilities.

“Let me emphasize that the manager was not a native Norwegian,” Artem says. “I’m not sure if this hostel still exists. After four months, I managed to find an apartment supported by the government. It’s far from luxury, but I survive.”

Artem moved to Norway in 2022 as a Ukrainian refugee, since his mother was already there.What do you consider as your biggest problem?

“I experience my biggest problem is related to communication. There is a refugee program, but it’s a lot of waiting to get involved, which gives me plenty of time to reflect; reflect about my own situation as well as others.”

He tells me that he is somewhat annoyed about some of his countrymen coming to Norway because they’ve heard that Norway is a rich country with a lot of benefits for refugees, and in particular Ukrainians right now. Some of them, especially from Western Ukraine own their own apartments there without having any financial commitments to Norway, he says.

“I think that’s wrong when others are in a much worse situation. If a rocket had struck their homes, it would have been a different thing. We cannot just move to another country and expect to have all the benefits.”

However, a lot of his Ukrainian friends have had really serious problems with their properties in Ukraine, and their lives have been destroyed by the Russians.

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Interview with an Ukrainian Expat in Norway
Part of Donetsk today. Photo Andalou Agency.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

“The most crucial thing for me now is to find a job. Officially, I have only been in Norway as a refugee for one and a half year. I hope to find a job and maybe at the same time enroll for one kind of master’s program. I must say the authorities here are very helpful and positive. They have invited me to visit schools and professional courses in Norwegian. These are courses with really professional teachers and management teams. However, my bachelor’s degree is of little value before I can speak better Norwegian, and it seems there are not enough networks to fit me in.”

Interview with an Ukrainian Expat in Norway
“The only thing I had in my procession when I arrived here was my bachelor’s degree,” says Artem.

Artem is 23 years old and want to stay in Norway. “I do believe I’ll succeed in landing a job someday and improve both my language skills and professional career. Norway is a country with good opportunities,” he says.

Artem Myronchuk interviewed by Tor Kjolberg
All photos of Artem by Tor Kjolberg/Daily Scandinavian

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