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Studying in Moscow
February 2, 2009 17:07

Getting a Visa , Cheap Eats, and City Escapes

As a stazhirovka, studying in Moscow, a city synonymous with politics, cold weather, vodka and glitzy glam, can be an exciting opportunity. Even though its been declared one of the most expensive cities in the world, its possible to explore this vibrant city on a students budget.

How to Get There

Before even thinking about setting foot on Russian soil to study, there are several important documents students need; the key is to apply early and be organized as visas can take up to 2.5 months to be confirmed.

First, students need to secure a letter of invitation from their university in Moscow by submitting an application form, photocopy of the first two pages of their passport, academic documents (need to be sent as notarized Russian translations), certificate in Russian language (preparatory course in Russian can be taken on arrival), a medical certificate and a negative AIDS test result.

After a letter of invitation is issued, the student visa will be granted. Visas are typically issued as single entry and valid for 3 months; on arrival you must register your visa within 72 hours.

Where to Stay

Staying on campus is the norm for international students. Not only a low cost option, dormitories are also a great way of meeting other students and getting involved in university life.

And for those keen to explore further (and perhaps hang around at the end of term), there are plenty of hostels in Moscow and beyond offering cheap accommodation perfect for traveling students.

Where to Eat and Drink

Student bars and eateries arent hard to find in Europes largest city and typically come casual and cheap. Try a traditional Russian soup or a cold borsch for something different, or perhaps the local honey-pepper vodka.

Clubs and cafes often have DJs playing the latest house tracks along with plenty of cheap beer and cocktails and prove popular with the citys student population. Newly opened Krizis Zhanra (Pokrovka st., #16 bld 1 metro: Chistye Prudy) and the staple Djao Da (Lubyanskiy proezd #25/1, metro: Kitay-gorod) are good bets for quality live music in Moscow on a budget.

Exploring Moscow and Beyond

After setting aside ample time to explore the famous Kremlin and Red Square, plus the various cathedrals and galleries, students in Moscow can use the term breaks to travel beyond the city into Russia.

Try getting the train to St. Petersburg for a taste of impressive Imperial architecture or take the road less traveled and stay in a hostel in a provincial Siberian village.

The Trans-Siberian railway has recently opened up this traditionally undiscovered land to backpackers. Remember to carry your documentation (visa, passport, student id) at all times and a good Russian-English dictionary and the whole country is waiting to be discovered!

Tegan Zimmerman


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