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How To Find A Host Family To Study In Russia?

By Ava, published on 15/03/2019 Blog > Languages > Russian > The Tips For Living In A Russian-Speaking Home During Your Studies

So you have decided to study in Russia! Now what? Well first things first, you need to secure yourself some accommodation that suits your budget and your living style. If you have never been to Russia before then, it is likely that you do not speak the language. So this will limit your entry into the rental market significantly for you since Russians tend not to speak other languages for the most part.

So how can you solve the issue of moving to a new country where you will be unable to communicate for some time? It would be ideal for you to be able to speak Russian before you go or at least do a bit of language study to learn some of the basics to help yourself once you land. But as a student, you have the unique opportunity to have the support and help of your local university and the Russian university that you will be studying in.

Student exchange has been going on since ancient times, and exchange programs have become quite good at solving cross-cultural issues to do with living, language and culture for students who enrol on study abroad programs. As an exchange student no matter whether you plan on studying abroad to get your bachelor degree, improve your language skills and proficiency or just to get an international education for the academic year. You will have support every step of the way, the education system will guide you from the applying stages to the student visas, to the language skills that you need to settle into your semester with your international university.

Once you are enrolled and have your funding, whether from an internship, scholarships or other sources. You will be given a sort of checklist of thing that need to be completed of provided for you to be able to go abroad. Things like having your passport, having funds to cover your stay etc. A counselor at your school will be able to help get through the checklist by the deadline. Different countries have different rules for exchange students, and your eligibility will depend on you completing the requirements.

Once you have done everything required of you it will be time to think about where to live in the Russian Federation, Moscow and Saint Petersburg are popular options. But of course, only one thing can dictate where you live, and that is where the Russian university is that has accepted you. Even though you are overseas, you can look at a map to get a good idea of the area that you might live in. You can also do some research to find out whether students tend on campus or around your university.

You want to study in Russia Russian is always easier to learn if you are in contact with the locals. Photo Source: Unsplash

A Good Living Option For Living Abroad

When you arrive in your new country even if you will only be there for a few months, you will need help and support to know how to live in the Russian culture which may be entirely different from the culture in your home country. While other students might be of help, they may to be new to the area in which case having help from local experts will be great.

Host families have become very popular, and this will certainly be an option offered to you by your university. A host family as the name suggests will be like your family during your time in Russia. They will be happy to help you with any issues that you are having, support your learning Russian as a second language, They will support any rules that you need to follow and can help you understand how to get by in Russia. Host families are an invaluable resource for the student transferring to Russia to study.

As a host family they will likely have experience living with other students, and although they may or may not speak the English language, they will be experienced in finding ways to communicate with you to make you feel comfortable.  With their help and support, you won’t have to become distressed and wonder why you came to study abroad in the first place.  They will help you enjoy the process and even if you are homesick having your Russian family will help immensely. While living in a Russian speaking host family, you will progress quickly!

Student visas are given as single entry You have to get a student visa, Photo Source: Unsplash

Tips For Living Well With Your Russian Host Family

Here are all of our tips to finding and living well in a homestay in Russia.  Here is what to know before leaving, how to choose, what criteria to remember?

Living With Your Host Family

To be totally immersed, both linguistically and culturally, one solution is to find a Russian or Russian-speaking host family, as they would be in your own country. This family can consist of:

  • Parents and children,
  • A retired couple,
  • A young couple,

Every kind of family is valuable, and each member of the host family will be different. As an exchange program student and a guest, you will need to respect and learn how to live with your host family so that everyone can enjoy the experience.

Benefits Of Having A Host Family

There are many benefits to living with a Russian host family:

  1. You can improve your Russian language daily.
  2. You can live and see real Russian culture.
  3. Help with getting by day to day; from buying bus tickets to submitting papers to the authorities should, it be
  4. Having a family at home when you return from school who can support or celebrate with you.
  5. Host families cost much less than renting privately
  6. You can also choose to have a full board option where your new Russian mother will cook for you.
  7. You are may be able to get a discount if you stay for a longer time.
  8. You may be able to make some extra pocket money by offering to do chores like babysitting or cleaning for the family.
  9. You will form a life long connection with a new family.
  10. Your family will be used to hosting so they will be friendly, approachable and understand how to take care of you.
  11. A benefit or a disadvantage is that your host family may or may not speak English. The benefits of them speaking only Russian are that you will have to learn Russian to be able to communicate. The disadvantage of that, however, is that in first months until you learn might be difficult. While they will know how to help and of course be kind, you won’t be able to communicate. Hosts having low English language proficiency will be just the pressure you need to help you to learn faster.

Russian Higher Education For International Students You can choose to study Russian. Photo Source: Unsplash

Cultural Niceties In Russia

Russian culture like all culture is distinct, there may be lots of things that you notice and may not be able to understand. You should take this as a positive thing and make an effort to learn about the people and culture. Of course, this multicultural interaction can at times be tiring and feel like hard work. But the beautiful thing about different cultures is that you have to open your mind to welcome them into your heart as they are doing of you and your weird cultural norms. Remember you are in Russia, so you are the weird one even if it feels the other way around. Take the opportunity to do research about the culture and join in with these new ways to express yourself.

  1. Bring a small gift to your host family to thank them for agreeing to host you.
  2. Families spend a lot of time together and can even stay awake late into the night just enjoying each other company. Join in if you can.
  3. Maybe the family sleep in 1 room instead of having their own rooms like you may be used to.
  4. People may not smile as much with strangers, which may appear cold but it is just the Russian way.

When Should You Start To Look For Your Host Family?

It is advisable to look for your host family as soon as possible as your application is approved to study abroad. Because you will need an address in Russia to be approved for the visa. Your university must help you with this as they are experts in the process. There are many ways to find a host family in Russia such as:

  1. Your universities international student centre
  2. Language schools or a language program,
  3. Volunteering organisations,
  4. Au pair organisations,
  5. Organised trip companies,

If you follow common sense given by your university on the matter. In the end, the host family that you stay with will be an experience that you never forget. Living in a host family is an enriching experience: ready to embark on your search for a perfect Russian family?


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