What is it Like To Live in St. Petersburg as an International Student?

What is it Like To Live in St. Petersburg as an International Student e1644477590774

If you want to study in St. Petersburg, you may be curious about the student life that awaits you. Perhaps, you’re thinking of chill winter nights during winter or bottles of vodka and beer after a night out.

But beyond the casual fun, the beautiful city is pulsing with strong cultural significance. Here’s the home of acclaimed novelist, Fyodor  Dostoevsky, and composer, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

The whole city is also bustling with historical landmarks including the famous Heritage Museums. You can also take a trip to the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the final resting place of Romanovs and Peter the Great.

Read on if you want to learn more about what Russian life can offer you in St. Petersburg:

You’ll Encounter a Language Barrier

Russia isn’t a nation of many languages, and you may have a hard time talking to anyone if you don’t speak Russian. Being fluent in English may not be of great help too because most Russians aren’t good at the language.

On the bright side, many places like restaurants have English-speaking servers and English menus. There’s also a population in the city that speaks foreign languages like German.

At school, you’ll likely encounter faculty members and other international students who speak English. It’s also possible to take an English-taught course, but it’s still better to learn conversational Russian.

Taking a Bus Can Be a Struggle

Unlike Moscow, St. Petersburg has its signs in both English and Russian. This makes it easier to read the station names, especially if you can’t read Russian yet.

Unfortunately, the buses also have signs in Russian. The announcements are also in Russian, which can be a struggle if you’re a beginner in the language.

Perhaps the most challenging ride you’ll take is hopping on a minibus. These vehicles only stop on request, so you need to learn to say:

На остановке остановите, пожалуйста

Na ostanovke ostanovite, pozhaluysta

“Please, stop on the next/nearest public transport stop”

You’ll Be Living in a Safe City

Staying in St. Petersburg is generally safe, but of course, you must always be cautious. You aren’t likely to experience pickpocketing, but still, keep your belongings close.

Some of the safest zones in the city are Chernyshevskaya, Admiralteyskaya, and Lenina. The city also doesn’t have the notorious secluded districts, which are technically no-go zones.

One key thing to remember is to avoid wandering on your own at night, particularly when you’re close to pubs. Try to stay away from Goncharnaya street, where there are usually drunkards at night.

You Don’t Have to Spend Thousands to Survive

St. Petersburg’s affordability is one of its strongest selling points. You’ll only need around $546 every month, so cover your expenses.

The cheapest solo apartment accommodation you can get is only $350 per month. Of course, it will cost you more if you live in the city center and are staying in a bigger apartment.

Liked this content about what it’s like to live in St. Petersburg? Let’s do some more myth-busting reads next by flipping through our other articles here at MSM Unify.


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