Ukrainians and Slovenes: so different, but so similar



It’s us again, Masha and Misha — Ukrainian ESC volunteers in No Excuse. We have been in Slovenia for half a year already and would like to share our insights on the similarities and differences between Ukrainians and Slovenes. Just to be clear, the article you’re about to read is not any kind of official, scientific report – it is totally based on our own adventures in Slovenia.


Slovenia and Ukraine have a long-standing history and a rich culture. Despite being located in different parts of Eastern Europe, we have several similarities in terms of mentality, traditions, and values.


First of all, it is worth mentioning the language. It certainly differs from Ukrainian, but as far as both are Slavic languages, they share some similarities in vocabulary and grammar. Аnd the most exciting thing is when during a conversation with a Slovenian in English, one of us forgets a word, they can say it in their native language and the other will understand! It’s always amusing!


Secondly, we share some similarities in mentality. Both of us have a strong sense of community and are known for their hospitality. We are truly touched by the support of the Slovenes we’ve met. As in Ukraine, here guests are welcomed with open arms and people have traditional family values. This is the main reason why we feel at home here.


Another factor that brings us together is deep respect for cultural heritage and making efforts to preserve these traditions for future generations. We are especially impressed by celebrating Pust in Slovenia! And also we were pleased to find out that we have a similar tradition — eating sweet pastry before the Lenten Fast. Slovenes eat their traditional “krofi”, while Ukrainians eat “blini” — thin pancakes. 


As Ukrainians, we can say that the Ukrainian mentality somehow differs from the Slovene one. Ukrainians are usually more expressive, emotional and inclined towards criticism, and skepticism, while Slovenes are more optimistic and positive. Moreover, Slovenes are more progressive and open to new ideas, while Ukrainians are more conservative. 


Another difference between us is the love for early mornings. As we have already noticed, Slovenians are early birds and even on weekends they wake up early, which can’t be said about Ukrainians. The standard working day in Ukraine starts later than here – at 9 am and ends at 5-6 pm, but on weekends Ukrainians can sleep in even until 11 am and go to bed much later than midnight.

Regarding work, Ukrainians tend to do it to the point of exhaustion, often juggling a side job alongside their main work, leaving very little time for family. In contrast, Slovenians are better at balancing work and personal life.


Slovenes have a reputation for being enthusiastic about sports, such as hiking, winter sports, and the winter season in general. During the last six months, we have discovered that this is absolutely true! In contrast, Ukrainians tend to be less active in this regard and prefer summer and beach vacations. Of course, it’s just a general tendency, but overall, Slovenes are more active and energetic than us. For example, we have never been skiing, even though there is a ski resort in Ukraine as well. By the way, we’ve already tried sledding here – sankanje na Krvavcu, to be more precise:D !


To sum up, we are both similar and different at the same time and that doesn’t make our friendship any less strong. It can be confidently said that Ukrainians and Slovenes are exactly the people who are ready to help each other in difficult times, ready to work together and to achieve common goals. 


And if we can’t be called brothers, we can definitely be called cousins!


Maša and Miša