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Tips for Students
before March 9, 2006

•  Prepare all the documents required well in advance your trip to Russia

You can check lists of the required documents in Other Opportunities for Studying in Russia section of Science and Education column of our website. Usually Russian educational institutions require your CV or letter of intent, a copy of your national passport and education certificate, medical insurance and HIV test results, an invitation from an institution necessary to get visa for entering Russia and several photos. Sometimes it can be useful to check the institution website for some additional requirements (find the information in Other Opportunities for Studying in Russia section).

Some institutions may ask to submit Russian language courses certificate. If you do not have one, don't worry. You can take the course of Russian language, when you arrive to Russia, in the institution you've chosen to study in. But first you should contact the institution and find out whether it has such language courses (usually it does). If you are intent to take the courses, choose one from a variety in Russian In Russia section of our Science and Education column.

You can find information and contacts of Russian consulates in your home country in our Travel section. Carefully read all the information before submitting the documents. Leave copies of important documents (itinerary, visas, passport pages) at home in order to be contacted in case of emergency. Your documents should be in perfect order to avoid a slightest chance to get in troubles, because any policeman has a right to check your passport and visa and fine you for any deviances.

As for medical insurance, you should use it any time you visit a doctor. You should find out in advance whether your future host educational institution offers medical insurance to its students.

•  Try to arrange a transfer from an airport or railway station to your accommodation place

Taxi drivers, who are waiting for arriving people at the airport gateways, usually have strangely high fees for foreigners and guests from other cities. That's why we recommend you to find someone (may be your friends) to take you to your Russian lodging. Russia IC can offer you such service; check our Travel section. You can also take a bus, but it may seem not very comfortable after the flight, especially a long one. Moreover, the average travel time from an airport to the nearest tube station in Moscow is about forty minutes. How to get from Moscow airports to the city and back is written in Travel section. Some institutions arrange meeting for their foreign student, so contact an International Department of your host institution to find out about this opportunity.

•  Accommodation

Foreign students arriving to Russia have several accommodation types at their disposal.

First - there is a dormitory. It looks like a hostel, and it is, but it offers accommodation only for students of a certain educational institution. It is the cheapest and sometimes the most convenient type of lodging, because dormitories are often in a minute walk from the institute or a university. But you will have to put up with several neighbours, one bathroom for two rooms (sometimes, very rarely, there is one bath and shower room per floor), noisy nights and etc. The staff people in a dormitory usually are not very friendly, because their nervous system is shattered with numerous generations of students, occupying the rooms of a dormitory. But there is always a way out of any misunderstanding, just try to explain the situation and don't forget about a box of sweets (chocolates are most appreciated) or a bunch of flowers after a solution is found.

Second - you can always rent an apartment. Flats can be quite expensive; prices may vary from 80 - 100 Euros per night (short-term stay) to several hundred Euros a month (long-term rent). You can contact real estate agencies to find out current prices for apartments in different Russian cities. You can also fill in our site query form, and we will willingly help you to find an apartment that fits all your requirements (location, price, etc). You can share an apartment with your friend(s). That will make your life more interesting. But do not forget about the neighbours - they can call the police (in Russia it is called "militsia"), if you make noise after 10 p.m. or disturb them in some other way.

Of course, you can live in a hotel (third alternative) - but keep in mind that there are few cheap hotels in Moscow, and not all of them provide long-term accommodation service.

If you rent a flat in Moscow, you should always bear in mind that it can take you a great deal of time to get to your home educational institution, because here the distances are immense and flats are cheaper in the suburbs of the Russian capital (however, that works for any other town). Some tips on transportation you can get in Travel section of our website.

•  Student ID, bus and tube passes, ISIC

Being student in Russia, as well as in any other country, offers you a variety of opportunities. Your host institution provides you a student identity card (in Russia it is called "studencheskiy billet"). If you have ISIC (International Student Identity Card), lucky you are then - it is accepted in many places, popular among students in Russia, but generally in large cities, like Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Russian host institution is also responsible for providing you with student tickets. These tickets are separate for ground transport - buses, trolley buses and trams - and for the tube (where available). In Moscow they cost about 3.5 Euros each and allow unlimited traveling around the city for a month. These passes are very useful, because monthly transportation expenses of an ordinary person are about 30 Euro. You can buy ground transport pass card every month in your host institution. As for tube smart card, you receive it when you start your training, and pay for it every month in any tube pay office. This smart card should be returned after you finish your studies, because it's the tube property.

•  Russia for students - libraries, cinemas, museums, leisure time

Your student ID is a real treasure. It allows you visiting cinemas at half price (student fares may vary depending on the cinema chain). You can also show it in the museums and art galleries - sometimes entrance for students is absolutely free. You can take your ID to a theatre or a circus and watch performances for funny prices. Some nightclubs often have student nights - parties with cheap entrance, drinks and students' favorite musicians.

Each educational institution has a so-called Student Council, an organization, responsible for student's bright and interesting life. This organization helps students to find jobs - part-time, freelance or any other kind of job that fits young men, who need to get education and want to earn some money at the same time. The Student Council organizes contests, parties, concerts for students, thus the life of a student never stops! You can also take part in student theatre performances, comic shows and beauty contests.

There are lots of opportunities for sport in educational institutions. Some large institutions, like Moscow State University, have their own gyms, swimming pools and stadiums, where one can do anything from playing tennis, football and baseball to dancing ballet and playing capoeira (Brazilian martial art). Different competitions will keep you fit all the year round. Winter sports, such as skiing and ice-skating, are practiced in Russia, when the weather becomes cold. You can buy the necessary equipment or rent it in rental offices, which sometimes can be found right at your educational institutions. Your student ID often works in such offices, by the way.

Libraries, which are an essential part of education, are open for students, too. You can arrange a library pass, which is needed to read library books, newspapers and magazines, through your host educational institution or yourself - usually all you need is a standard photograph and about 1 Euro in Russian rubles to pay for the pass form. Some libraries have Internet access. If they don't, you can drop in the nearest Internet cafe or use Wi-Fi in some eateries or shops.

•  Some General Tips

Never exchange money on the streets - the possibility of losing them is extremely high.

Do not forget to give seats in public transport to old or disabled people or those with little children.

Get acquainted with Russian customs, traditions and everyday life before you arrive - your life here will be much easier!! Check our Culture column for some useful information.

Do not forget to carry an ID with you, because identity check is one of the favourite entertainments of Russian policemen. If you don't have one, there's a chance to spend overnight in the police station, which is not a pleasant experience at all.

Tips at different cafes, restaurants and other public places are usually 10%. Remember that barmen, waiters, hosts at the restaurants are usually students too; thus extra tip will be highly appreciated.

We wish you to enjoy these several weeks, months or years you'll spend in Russia getting trained!

Good luck!

Tags: Russian universities education in Russia    


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