“Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” - Winston Churchill

Interested in Russian language or literature? Fascinated by communism? Never been bothered by the cold?

Russia’s probably the country for you! In recent years, the number of international students in Russia has gone up to over 230,000 a year.

How can you study there? What do you need to do? What can you study? How do you get there?

Here are our top 10 tips for studying in Russia!

Tip #1: Research the Best University

To choose the right university, you need to think about your current education.

Have you just finished school? Do you have a degree? Looking to do a PhD?

The education system in Russia is a bit different:

  • A Master’s Degree takes 4 or 5 years.
  • You can move onto a doctorate after a 3- or 4-year bachelor’s degree.

There are several exchange opportunities for international students and several universities in the UK have agreements with Russian universities so they may be able to help you with studying abroad in Russia. However, this does mean that you probably won't get a say in which university in Russia you attend so if you dreamt of spending time in Moscow or Saint Petersburg, you may have to visit them on a trip.

Which are the best universities in Russia?
Both Saint Petersburg and Moscow are home to some reputable universities. (Source: fitzgeraldbc)

Before you head to Russia, you should look around for what’s available as there are 802 universities across 24 different cities. You’ll need to research:

  • How to apply
  • How to fund your studies
  • The subjects taught and the type of courses offered
  • Whether there’s a Russian language requirement

Consider what you can do once you get there.

Can you do an internship? Work and study?

Think about the options you have and what you’ll be allowed to do once you’re there.

Discover Russia's best universities.

Tip #2: Check What the Qualifications Equate To

If you’re studying in a university in the UK, you may have the option to study in Russia for a year or a semester.

For example, MGIMO is partnered with Reading, Canterbury, St. Andrews, and Oxford.

If you study your full qualification in a Russian university, you might want to see exactly what that will equate to once you’ve left Russia. Not all Russian universities are the same so you might want to look at the best universities in Russia whose qualifications are internationally recognised.

Living abroad tends to impress employers but if they don't know what your qualification is worth, they may be hesitant about employing you.  If you have any doubts, there are league tables for universities and guides equating Russian qualifications to British and European ones.

Tip #3: Ask Former Students about Their Experience

Get in touch with other Brits who’ve gone to Russia to study. You can find them on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, and ask them about:

  • Financial help and how it works.
  • How to get Russian language qualifications.
  • Whether you need to take out student loans.
  • Any other advice they might have.

A lot of students have gone to Russia and had a great time, which is why the numbers of international students are so high.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with organisations or associations who can put you in touch with others who studied in Russia. Their advice will be invaluable.

Find out more about studying abroad in Russia.

Tip #4: Go Through the Russian Federation’s Competitive Selection Process

Studying in a Russian university is almost free with some every expense covered in certain cases. There are several steps to the application process and it can get quite complicated.

  • Go the Russia Study site.
  • Complete the forms.
  • Add the support documents.
  • Confirm your request and await a reply.

In Russia, being a student is considered a job in its own right and you’re expected to fully commit to it.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs helps reduce the cost of higher education, which means that you probably won’t need to look for other scholarships or bursaries.

Tip #5: Take Some Russian Lessons

You need to prepare before you go anywhere. While English is often wrongly thought to be the only language you need to speak, it’s always a good idea to learn a bit of Russian before you go there. The general level of English around most of Russia isn’t that great, either.

Where can you get Russian lessons?
Before going to Russia, you may want to learn the basics with a private tutor or in small group classes. (Source: StockSnap)

In most cases, if you try to speak English, even in places like airports and hotels, you may still find that people don’t understand you.

To learn the basics, there are a few options:

  • Get night classes either at the local university or community centres.
  • Get private tutorials from tutors such as those on Superprof.
  • Teach yourself, which can be complicated.

The first thing you’ll want to do is study the Cyrillic alphabet so you can read the names of metro stations, etc.

Find out more about learning Russian.

Tip #6: Plan Your Budget

There are a few ways to fund your studies in Russia.

  • If you’ve been accepted onto a government-funded programme, you won’t have too many fees to worry about.
  • If you’re on an exchange programme, you may have some fees to pay.
  • If you've got no funding, you’ll have to pay all the fees yourself.

School fees range from nothing to £2,500 a year.

Outside of registration fees and accommodation, you’ll need around £300 per month to live on.

The advantage for foreign students is that the cost of living in Russia isn’t that high. You can easily get a main and a dessert at a restaurant for around £10 at lunchtime.

Find out more about Russian host families.

Tip #7: Get Help from the British Embassy in Russia

Whether it’s for information about your studies, getting bursaries, contacting the embassy may be a good way to go. Similarly, you can contact the British Embassy in Russia, too. The British Embassy is there to help Britons in Russia, especially in emergencies.

Getting in touch with the embassies before you go for more information is never a bad idea, either.

Tip #8: Contact Student Associations

When studying in a university, there’s a lot of support available from student groups. They can help you with registration, advice, and everyday life.

How do you join a student association in Russia?
If you want to get the most out of your time in Russia, associations and student groups are a good way to find others with shared interests. (Source: EvgeniT)

Most Russian universities have an office for international students. They also organise Russian cinema evenings and activities for the students.

Tip #9: Get Started with the Admin

Everyone studying in Russia will need to get their visa and all the accompanying documentation. You can’t go to Russia or the university without it. It's not just the education system that can get a bit complicated. Before you can start living abroad in Russia, you'll need to go through all the government bureaucracy to ensure you're allowed to stay in the country.

There are a few ways to get started:

Tip #10: Make the Most of Your Time in Russia

Studying in Russia is your chance to discover a new culture! Don’t hesitate to learn more about the land of the Tsars, the customs of Russia, and the surrounding regions.

How do you make the most out of studying abroad in Russia?
The best way to enjoy your time in Russia is by experiencing everything the country has to offer! (Source: GORBACHEVSERGEYFOTO)

A lot of students have had a great time in Russia and you can, too! Make sure you use the time to learn as much of the language as you can. It’ll help you in the future.

If you are just starting to learn Russian or need to brush up before you go, consider getting private tuition from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof!

When it comes to learning languages, you need to practise and having someone regularly teach you and allow you to use your new language is a great way to learn.

There are a few different ways to get private tutorials and each type of lesson comes with its pros and cons. It's usually up to you, how you like to learn, and your budget that will decide which tutorials are right for you.

Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free. Use this to try a few different tutors out before deciding which one is right for you and what you want to learn.

Need a Russian teacher?

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.