Sixteen-year-old Mykola Makarov was born in Mohyliv-Podilskyy, in the Vinnytsya region in the central part of Ukraine. He is taking courses as a senior year here at Oak Hill High School will return to complete his senior year next year back home. Mykola’s parents are both doctors, his father a surgeon and his mother chief of a laboratory at a state hospital. Mykola’s brother is completing his sixth year of college to become a surgeon.

Since you have so many doctors in your family, are you considering a career in medicine?

No, because it’s a low paying job in Ukraine.. My father makes, in U.S. dollars, $120-$130 per month. I make more here than he does. The U.S. Department of State gives me $125 per month for spending money, I’ve thought a little bit about studying law, or going into law enforcement. But now I’m not sure. I’m thinking of something that might be more free, more independent.

What were your first impressions of the U.S? Of Oak Hill?

I thought the U.S. was nice. Comparing to my school back home Oak Hill is pretty small, but it is very beautiful. And I like the sport facilities here very much. I really like all of my teachers; I think they all are cool people.

What is the strangest thing that you’ve found about the U.S./Oak Hill?

Nothing is strange in the U.S. but the food is different and it was difficult for me to adjust. I didn’t find anything strange about Oak Hill but it was very different from my school in Ukraine.

Differences between U.S. & Ukraine educational systems?

Huge differences! First we choose more classes in Ukraine than we do here. Every day we have six to seven classes. For every day of the week we have different schedule. During school we mostly stay in one classroom, not always but mostly. I think that sport activities are more developed here than in my school in Ukraine. What was different and difficult to adjust to is using passes. In my school we don’t need them. The big difference is that in our school in Ukraine kids from first grade to eleventh grade all go to the same school together. We don’t have middle schools or elementary schools. We don’t have twelve grades, we have eleven.

What did you think of the U.S. election?

My preference was for John Kerry, because he’s a Democrat and I prefer liberal views over Republican. If George Bush will reveal himself as a strong, confident leader, that will be the best choice for America.

What did you think of the Ukraine election?

Ukraine lived through the decade of transition from Communism to democracy, and this process could not be simple. During this time corruption and organized crime flourished. Yanukovich represented the industrial part of Ukraine with its strong coal and steel industry, and he represented the richest part of the country. This enabled him to dictate his will during the election. But people disagreed with fraud, and decided to overthrow Yanukovich and force the Supreme Court to decide whether the election was legitimate. Fortunately, the Court showed its complete independence from politics and ruled the elections to be re-voted.

After the re-vote the pro-Western and pro-American candidate Victor Yushchenko won with great support of the Ukrainian people.

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