Russian Culture and Customs: Guide for International Students

Russian Culture and Customs: Guide for International Students

Russian Culture and Customs: Guide for International Students

How do you plan to adjust to life in Russia? As an international student, it’s important to conform to the cultural specifics of your host country.

Russia is a melting pot of diverse cultures. Yet, there are still certain customs that govern most interactions.

To help you get started, here are some certain Russian customs that you need to take note of to settle in Russia:

1. Russians Love Taking Care of Their Guests

Hospitality is the hallmark of all Russian customs. It’s normal for Russians to invite friends over or pay them a visit.

Russians also love to spoil their guests with delectable dishes and homemade treats. If a native friend invites you over to their home, it’s best to arrive with an empty stomach to enjoy the experience.

2. Russians Place Great Value on Friendships

Friendships are cherished in Russia. In fact, they may even place higher regard toward friends than their own relatives.

Russian friendships last for a lifetime. If you made Russian friends, they’ll see you as an important part of their lives and personal journeys. 

3. Russians Have High Respect for Women

While you think looking at beautiful women is a sign of admiration, it may appear as an insult in Russia. You must also refrain from whistling at and pursuing women in public.

As the home of some of the world’s most beautiful women, it’s natural for Russians to treat them well. For example, if a woman is standing inside the subway, a man would usually offer his seat.

There are other common courtesies such as holding their hands to support. Remember, these acts were not made to highlight their delicate nature. In fact, these are ways to express gallantry and utmost respect.

4. Russians Don’t Make a Habit of Smiling at Strangers

No matter how pure your intentions are, refrain from smiling at people you don’t know. Russians view this as an insincere act and prefer a more passive expression in public.

But don’t feel intimidated. Russians are very lively people and they love great chats and lighthearted humor.

Russians don’t disguise negative feelings under cheery expressions, which is why they’re uncomfortable with smiling at strangers. But if you’re close friends, expect joyous interactions full of laughter and fun.

5. Russians are Superstitious

Superstitions are common in any country. In Russia, it’s common to have superstitions over several things, including studying.

Some superstitions about studying include not cutting your hair during examination periods. Russians also believe in putting a five-rouble coin inside their shoe to pass their tests.

All these superstitions are part of Russian life and culture. Some of these beliefs may sound absurd and outdated to you, but these are important to most Russians.

To adjust to Russian life, you should learn various cultural specifics in the country. Not only are these essential to your stay, but it fosters in-depth cultural awareness too. Read more of our stories here at MSMUnify on life in Russia for foreign students.


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