Kyiv Post: Where are you from in Ukraine?
Elena Polischuk: Kyiv.
KP: When did you leave; why did you leave?
EP: Before two revolutions, first time in 2005 to work in Moscow (Russian Federation) and the second time in 2013 to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).
KP: How did you end up where you live?
EP: I live and work in a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, which is a capital of the United Arab Emirates. The city is a one-hour drive from Dubai, a one-hour flight to Bahrain, Qatar, a five-hour flight to Kyiv or Bangkok.
KP: Do you ever regret that you are not in Ukraine – why or why not?
EP: No, as international experience is great for you professionally and personally. Work at competitive markets with diverse communities helps you to grow faster and prepares you for your next move.
KP: What do you miss most about Ukraine?
EP: The big national idea for Ukraine and for Ukrainians – optimism, desire to change and welcome changes.
KP: What do you miss least about Ukraine?
EP: Inflation and that it’s not safe to return home at night.
KP: Does where you live have more opportunities for you than in Ukraine?
EP: I work at markets with higher competition, on crossroads of trade and cultures. This is a unique experience which can be applied in Ukraine or other countries.
KP: What relatives/friends are left back in Ukraine?
EP: My mom, sister and her family and my great friends.
KP: Do they visit you or do you visit them? Often?
EP: Twice a year minimum. My friends always ask why I come back so often as the distance to Kyiv is the same as to Southeast Asia. My family visits me once a year during winter times as the weather here is similar to the weather in June at home.
KP: With Ukraine coming up to its 26th anniversary of national independence, how do you feel about your homeland? Is it making progress as a nation? Or not so much?
EP: Yes, Ukraine is making progress, though it’s hard to see and feel for Ukrainians. Free entrance to Schengen countries, police reform, etc. In June I was a volunteer at GoCamp Ukraine and I could see the education boom in Ukraine, there were so many summer camps, specialized schools, I see more competition in education which is amazing. I see that children and teenagers are eager to learn, dream big which make teachers change their methodology, listen to their internal client (children and parents).
KP: What would it take for you to return?
EP: I would like to share my international and cross-culture exposure to promote reforms, develop tourism and hospitality in Ukraine. I would like to work with young, energetic, visionary leaders in Kiev or Lviv and to share common values with them.
KP: What do you wish for your country?
EP: I wish Ukrainians to believe in themselves, overcome all obstacles which sometimes in our head, to listen and support each other more. I wish them peace and prosperity which they deserve.
KP: Do you think that wish will come true?
EP: As a businesswoman, I believe that what is not written is a wish. I think it’s time for Ukraine to articulate a big national idea or plan. Every town and city should have a national strategy minimum 10 years ahead. And the United Arab Emirates, a very young state, is the perfect example. Ukrainians, dream big. You can and you will!
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