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Essential Tips Before You Go To Study In Russia

By Ava, published on 15/03/2019 Blog > Languages > Russian > Tips When You Are Considering Studying In Russia

If Russian linguistics or literature is attractive to you then maybe you should study in Russia. But before you take the leap and apply to become an exchange student to study abroad. You have to consider some facts and understand some important things about becoming a prospective student at a Russian University.

Students from different countries move to Russia every year to engage in intercultural exchange programs and accredited university courses. With over 800 universities Russia has everything to offer the intelligent student interested in international education.

Once enrolled your life in Russia will be set to begin and as an international student, your experience will be an intensive but life-changing one. Russia language and culture will open up to you and enrich your overseas experience. Indeed, this is why more and more students are transferring to study in Russia, not only to pursue a vocational education or receive the diploma but to experience a lifestyle benefit too. Not to mention learning Russian during your time in the country.

Even though Russia is a favourite country for an exchange student, it is not always the easiest one to qualify for, and the abroad programs, student visas and the cold during the winter may not be for everyone.  Here are some essential tips for studying in Russia with confidence.

You can rent independently, but there is lots of paperwork The best options are university housing or homestay accommodation. Photo Source: Unsplash

  1. Choose A Good University.

To choose a good university, you must know what you want to study then look for the most suitable school. For example:

  • In Russia, the Master’s degree is obtained in 4 or 5 years,
  • You can do a doctorate, after a Bachelors degree in 3 or 4 years.

There is no Erasmus program for Russia, so you must do lots of research and ask lots of questions to be clear about not only what is required for enrolment but also for what is needed to live.

Before even applying for a Russian exchange program you must understand what is available. With the internet, you have all the resource you need to find answers. You must use it!

You must, therefore, inquire about:

  • The procedure and the application process,
  • On the options for financing your studies,
  • On the subjects taught and the type of opportunities offered,
  • Whether or not your curriculum includes Russian language courses.
  • If there are student halls or an, approved homestay option
  • If the university support with visas, or if you have to pursue the visa
  • Also, you must take stock of any support that you will have once you have arrived in Russia.

Check the British-Russian system to find out about degree equivalencies

If you are in a big school or a college of engineering in your home country, you may have the chance to go on an exchange program, either for the entire academic course or just one year. But once you return home, you have to check that the work that you have done in Russia is enough to receive your degree. It is essential to check that your degree will be well recognised where ever you plan to live and work in the future.

You can check if a dual degree option is available as this can sometimes solve this issue. Understand that it is not available in all Russian universities. Which is why you should always make sure you select a high ranking university. Such as universities in Moscow, St Petersburg or Kazan.

If you have any doubts, you must speak with the university in your home country to check what your degree will be worth if completed abroad.

  1. Interview Former Russian Speakers About Their Experience

Join forums and groups online where you can talk to previous and current exchange students. Ask them lots of questions about the good the bad and the wonderful. Travelling to a new place to study can seem very romantic, but if you don’t speak Russian and you want to live in Russia which has a low instance of English proficiency in the population. Then you should understand the reality of your choice to be in Russia. The great things are you are going to learn a new language, meet a new culture and learn a lot about yourself in the process. However on the journey, there will be challenges, knowing these in advance will help you make your choice.

You can meet people on Facebook, via your school’s exchange program and speak to a student who has returned, you can even search for blogs of international student and learn about the experience and prepare for the trip.

The questions you could ask:

  • How does the application work?
  • Why study abroad?
  • What level of Russian do I need to study there?
  • What are the everyday costs like?
  • Should I apply for a student loan?
  • What is the social life like?
  1. Go Through The Selection Procedure Of The Government Of The Russian Federation

The Russian education system is so attractive because studying in Russia is so cheap that it is almost free, even in terms of housing or daily living expenses. The procedure to apply is a multi-step process and is, of course, different from applying to a university in your home town and distinct from an application made directly admission to a university:

The steps are roughly as follows:

  • When the call for applications is open, fill in your profile on the Russia Study website,
  • Complete and fill in the requested forms,
  • Add the required documents (usually including a copy of your passport),
  • Press enter and wait for a reply.
  • In Russia, it is considered that being a student is full-time work in itself: So you are not allowed to work for financial gain while studying in Russia.

Essential Tips Prior To Going To Study In Russia What is life like outside of the classroom? Photo Source: Unsplash

  1. Take some Russian lessons

No matter what before you step onto Russian soil you must make sure you have taken some Russian lessons. Russian people probably will not speak to you in English and why should they if they are in Russia. Learn at least the basics of the language, You can do this with an online tutor, language apps or physical classes.

Understand clearly that you can not get by in Russia if you do not speak some Russian. Even worse, your English will not help you, nor will speak louder or slower. Russians in Russia speak Russian, and you will be expected to try at least to do the same. Yes, this is even true in some hotels and areas that are considered touristic.

For sure no matter what make sure you have a good translator app on your phone and a phrase book.

To learn the basics, you have several solutions:

  • Check if your current university has evening classes,
  • Take private lessons of Russian, through platforms like Superprof,
  • Learn with an app, but it will be slow.
  • At least, learn the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet to be able to start to read things like road signs, buses, directions and your student program.
  1. Prepare Your Budget

Sorting out your finances is important as you are not allowed to work while in Russia studying to supplement your income. Understand something about your budget and start to understand your Russian rubles.

To finance your studies in Russia, there are a few options:

  • Either you’ve been admitted to a government-sponsored program (scholarship), then you won’t have too many expenses.
  • If you go on an exchange program, you will need to pay tuition.
  • Or if you have no sponsorship, you will have to pay all of your fees.

Rough expenses to cover your costs:

  • Russian School fees vary from 0 to 2,500 euros per year depending on the school and location.
  • Budget about 300 euros per month to live, excluding housing and registration fees

The advantage of Russia for foreign students is that the cost of living is not very high. You can eat out for less than €10 for 2 plates including beer!

apply for scholarships competitions or an internship Apply for funding or set up your own private funding to pay your tuition. Photo Source: Unsplash

  1. The Application

Make sure you have supplied all of your documentation and formalities for Russia correctly to avoid denial or refusal. Before you send in your forms ask at your university for help filling in the forms because it can be just a small detail that can get your application denied. Without a Russian student visa, you have no hope of ever studying in Russia, so this is the most important step. Even though it may seem easy or straight forward get it checked to make sure you have to fill in the form not just correctly but in accordance to how the Russian administration like the form to be filled in.

You have some options to find help and almost guarantee approval:

  • If you live in a city with a Russian Embassy, go to the Russian Embassy, and ask them to check your application.
  • You can also ask tourist agencies that have packages to Russia.
  • Of course, you can speak with other students who have been approved and even studied in Russia.
  • Lastly, you can ask at your school in the exchange programs office or whoever is in charge of the international scholarships or study abroad programs.

To go to study in Russia is to discover a new culture. Do not skimp and scrap on the possible opportunities and experiences that you can have there. Jump in and soak up Russian Language and culture. There is so much to learn, and that’s a real plus for your future. Enjoy!


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