Russia is the biggest country in the world, so it is no wonder that students from all over the globe come here to pursue higher studies. The country incorporates 11 time zones, houses more than 15 million people, and is home to over 100 local languages. The cultural diversity is overwhelming, so traditions vary from region to region. While Russia may not be considered one of the most politically stable countries, the economic growth in the last decade has been incredible. The country is also known as one of the best in the department of education and the government offers several incentives to foreign students.
Many people think that Russia is always covered in snow. It definitely is one of the coldest countries on the planet, but apart from the northern area, most cities experience very warm summers as well. Most of the regions endure long harsh winters, but it is manageable unless you’re considering a life in Siberia. Students are advised to bring along all the warm clothing they can because outdoors are naturally chilly. Keeping an umbrella on you at all times may also be a necessity in several parts of the country. Besides, cold weather has its advantages; think of all the snow angels you can make and all the hot beverages you shall enjoy. You can even take up skiing, ice skating, and snowboarding for the sake of adventure.
Accommodation & Commute
Crime rates are not ideal along the country’s borderline, but overall, Russia is a safe place to live in. The average crime rate is lower than the U.S, and foreign students have the added fortification of their host university. The on campus housing costs between 350 and 5000 rubles ($6-$80) per month, depending on the comfort level or facilities available in the student dorm. If you choose to stay off campus, you shall incur higher charges for accommodation. The rent of a studio or shared apartment in the city may go over 30,000 rubles (about $500).
Travelling shall be minimum whilst living on campus, or you may acquire a student travel card through your university. Students are eligible for discounted fares on all sorts of public transport (mainly the Metro and Suburban Train). Your average transport costs shall add up to almost 700 rubles (under $12) per month, which is quite reasonable.
All credible Russian universities that welcome foreign students offer English taught degree programs, so learning the local language is not mandatory. Russian is one of harder languages to learn, especially if you come from a non-Slavic background. Nonetheless, most schools offer pre-degree language courses for English speaking students. It is always useful to get familiar with local dialect, and speaking a variety of languages does give you an edge in professional and personal life.
Do not fear the Russian stereotypes you have heard of, because most of them are made up. Almost every Russian has high tolerance for Vodka, but not everybody is superstitious. They might look blunt and serious, but they are pretty fun to be around once you become friends. The country is full of beautiful women and only few of them like to dress flashy. On the whole, all locals are fairly accommodating, and you will surely end up with a handful of Russian pals for life.
The metropolitan life in Russia is as good as it can get. You will find numerous spots for leisure, including theatres, museums, nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants. Most universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities to participate and enjoy. You can be part of sports, dramatics, science/art exhibitions, creative competitions, and interesting contests.