Study in Russia
Russia is the largest country in the world, covering over six million miles of land. Russia covers all of northern Asia and spans nine different time zones. So why study in Russia? Studying in Russia is a popular choice for international students with a wide variety of interests, be they literature, art, history, or Russian language studies. International students in Russia will receive a high quality education in a culturally diverse environment.
Russia, the world’s largest nation, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. It’s famous for Moscow’s Bolshoi and St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky ballet companies. St. Petersburg, founded by Russian leader Peter the Great, has the baroque Winter Palace, now housing part of the State Hermitage Museum’s art collection.
The population of Russia is made up of over 160 different ethnic groups speaking more than 100 different languages. The official language of the country is Russia, which the majority of the population speaks, but other popular languages include Tatar and Ukrainian. Students wondering why study in Russia are drawn to the culturally rich environment created by the incredibly diverse population of Russia.
There are 24 universities in Russia featured within the QS World University Rankings® 2018, 10 of which are placed among the top 400 universities worldwide. Russia also boasts a substantial presence in the QS EECA University Rankings, a ranking of the 300 leading universities in emerging Europe and central Asia, with a whopping 95 Russian universities currently featured.
Over the past decade or so, higher education in Russia has undergone significant change, with 390 billion rubles (~US$6.7 billion) allocated between 2011 and 2015 for upgrading facilities and technical equipment at Russian universities, and improving training for teaching staff.
Additionally, in 2003, Russia signed up to the Bologna Process, pledging to bring its system in line with most other countries across Europe. This means many universities in Russia now offer a choice between a four-year bachelor’s degree and a five-year specialist degree. Russia’s higher education system was ranked 26th in the world, in the first edition of the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings.
Studying in Russia allows for students to study a wide variety of interesting subjects. Russia is a perfect destination for students interested in the arts, as Russia is historically known for its excellence in literature, ballet, painting, and classical music. International students in Russia studying literature will have the opportunity to study some of the world’s most famous writers such as Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, and Leo Tolstoy in these authors’ home country.
Students wondering why study in Russia may also be drawn to the country’s music and dance world. Students studying in Russia will have many opportunities to experience and appreciate the works of some of the most famous composers of classical music in the world, such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Stravinsky. Additionally, the Bolshoi Ballet still performs many works both classical and contemporary, some of which were performed by such renowned Russian dancers as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Another popular area of study for international students in Russia is Russian language studies, as Russia is the only destination in the world for total language immersion. Studying in Russia is the perfect opportunity for students interested in learning Russian, particularly those whose home institutions do not offer courses in the language.
History students studying in Russia will find that there are few better places for studying their subject. Russia is home to the Red Square in Moscow, as well as the nearby Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the most famous – not to mention infamous – historical figures have called Russia home. Russia is rich with cultural history, and perfect for students interested in studying history.
We estimate it costs a minimum of $300 – $400 / month to cover living costs in Russia. Day to day living costs in St Petersburg and Volgograd are slightly lower than in Moscow, although provided you avoid ex-pat hang-outs in Moscow, the cost of living here is still a lot lower than in the West. The prices below should only be considered a rough guide (take the upper limits for Moscow and the lower limits for Volgograd, with St Petersburg somewhere in between):
Eating, Drinking and Dining: Your weekly grocery bill is likely to be around $40-80 per person (all prices are in USD). You can buy a fairly decent three-course meal out for about $20 per person. If you eat out at lunchtime during the week, you can get a three-course business lunch for around $5. A 0.5 l glass of beer costs on average $2.
Evening Entertainment: A ticket to an English-language cinema costs $10, but you can see films in Russian for $5 or less. Theatre, opera and ballet tickets can cost as little as $3 but expect to pay $10 – $20 for decent seats. Entrance to museums and art galleries can cost anything from 50 cents to $10, depending on the place and what discounts you can get. Cover charges for nightclubs, if there is one, usually average at about $5 – $10.
Transport: A monthly metro pass costs between 250 roubles ($8) and 500 roubles ($16). Bus, tram and trolleybus tickets cost 10 – 50 cents (for one journey, irrespective of length). Trips and Excursions: Day trips to Golden Ring towns can be arranged independently for $10 – $20. Train travel in Russia is extremely good value (a 3rd class ticket from Moscow-St Petersburg costs about $12). Outside Moscow and St Petersburg it is usually possible to arrange accommodation for $20 – $30 per night, although that may mean Soviet-style hotels where service and decor leave a lot to be desired.
Clothes: It is worth buying winter items (hat, scarf, big coat, fur-lined boots) here, as they are better value than in the West and are more suited to the Russian climate. However, other clothes tend to be poorer quality for higher prices, so we recommend you do your clothes shopping before you arrive.
If you want to make long-distance telephone calls you should use international phone cards that offer very good rates: a $20 card lasts almost 2 hours when calling Europe and America from Russia. Any calls you make within the city you are living in will be free of charge.
The Russian winter certainly guarantees plenty of snow and frost… but not everywhere. And it doesn’t last forever. Russia’s climate varies dramatically, from the deep Arctic chill of the far north to the searing desert heat of some inland areas further south. Yet, throughout much of the country there are only two distinct seasons – winter and summer. Spring and autumn are only brief spells of change in between.
Winters in Russia’s European part are nothing like as terrifying as many myths have it. In Moscow and St. Petersburg the first snow usually falls in late November and stays till early April. The average winter temperature is about -10°C. Colder snaps are not uncommon, but winter chills are compensated for by splendid summers. St. Petersburg usually enjoys 20-25°C and Moscow often swelters in highs of 35-37°C.
Down south, Russia’s vast steppe is hot and dry. Winters are short but cold. In the city of Volgograd, the weather starts flirting with freezing point as early as November. But the Black Sea resort of Sochi makes up for the rest of the country with a sizzling 35°C between June and August – no wonder it is Russia’s top summer holiday spot.