Russian MiniLessons: How to Address Strangers in Russian

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. When addressing strangers in Russia, it is important to maintain an appropriate level of politeness. The address should be in a formal manner, a person should apologize […]

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International Airfare (to and from Russia)

SRAS is not in the business of selling plane tickets, with the exception of group educational tours and domestic flights not available for purchase outside of Russia. An economy-class, round-trip ticket from New York to Moscow, as of June, 2020, averages between $500-1000, depending on the time of year, carrier, and other factors. If you are using […]

Reviews of the UNECON Dorms in St. Petersburg

The following is a compilation of student reviews about the UNECON dorms in St. Petersburg. This page is meant to help students prepare for their time abroad. Living Conditions Sarah Gendron (Fall, 2019): My housing experience was great. I was happy to have a single room with a private bathroom and shower, and was pleased […]

Weekend Trip to Novgorod from St. Petersburg

About one month in to our semester, the SRAS students took a weekend trip to Novgorod, one of the oldest and most important cities in Russian history. Located between Moscow and St. Petersburg, it is believed that Novgorod is the birthplace of Russia, since it was here in 862 that Prince Rurik proclaimed the modern […]

Thai Massage in St. Petersburg

I was thrilled when I realized that I was going to celebrate my 21st birthday while studying abroad in St. Petersburg. My sole goal was to have a fun and unforgettable day with friends, and so I made a plan. Earlier this semester, I had a huge craving for food from back home. As a […]

Program Review of SRAS RSL Summer Program in Saint Petersburg

Although there were several programs offering summer programs in Russia to choose from, I had from the beginning decided to choose SRAS. At least two professors and several of my colleagues recommended SRAS to me. The reasoning? Well I think my favorite piece of advice, and one that I have come to agree with, was […]

Hard-to-Find Foods in Russia

In 2005, when this resource was first developed, supermarket chains in Russia were only first developing. Brand and product selection, while perhaps normal for a post-Soviet location, was disappointing and monotonous for most visitors. The restaurant scene, even in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg, also felt underdeveloped. Of the three things commonly looked for […]

Packing List for Study Abroad (+what to do with your laptop, cell phone, etc.)

A semester or year stay abroad requires considerable planning. If you will be spending winter months in most SRAS locations, luggage can quite easily become unwieldy, which can mean airline charges for overweight bags. Planning what you need in advance can help you avoid this (and help you avoid forgetting something important). Invest in good, […]

Russian as a Second Language Program Review: St. Petersburg

My decision to study abroad with SRAS began spring 2018 when I was looking at the credits I still needed for graduation with my Russian advisor. I only needed to take 6 credits of Russian language the following spring in order to complete my Russian degree. After seeing this I looked at my advisor and […]

Weekend Trip to Kaliningrad from St. Petersburg

In the hopes of seeing more of Russia, I decided with some friends to book a weekend trip to somewhere off the beaten track—Kaliningrad. Why Kaliningrad? For starters, as a student of both German and Russian languages and cultures, Kaliningrad (formerly Königsburg) provides an intriguing intersection between German and Russian history. Secondly, round trip flights […]

Russian as a Second Language with Scholarship: A Semester in St. Petersburg

Why did you choose your program and location? Ever since my older sisters did semester-long study abroad programs while they were in university, I knew that I wanted to do the same. Having studied Russian at university for two years, going on a program in Russia or Ukraine made a lot of sense for me. […]

SRAS Guide to Living in St. Petersburg

The following is a quick overview to some of those services and products that students often need in the course of a semester or summer abroad. This covers everything from haircuts to pharmacies and gyms to computer repair. Students should generally expect to need to speak at least some Russian when seeking out these experiences […]

St. Petersburg: Student Budgets and Logistics

Students in St. Petersburg report spending about $80-110 a week average over the course of their stay. This covers groceries, city transport, an occasional meal out, school supplies, modest weekend entertainment, and other general living expenses. Note that this guide assumes 65 rubles = 1 US dollar. Prices current as of May, 2019. In This […]

Urgent Care While Abroad: Experience in St. Petersburg

Health issues are always unnerving no matter where you are in the world, but serious medical issues abroad can be even more stress. You don’t know if the quality of the health care is going to be what you are used to or even what you need. SRAS students are supplied with health insurance (as […]

Preparing for and Coping with Culture Shock

Some of our students report not feeling culture shock at all. Some are surprised by how much culture shock they experience. Often, those most affected are those who did not expect it. So how can you prepare to live in a new culture and get the most out of the experience? How do you prepare […]

A Guide to Recycling in St. Petersburg

After my first few weeks in Russia I noticed that I was starting to amass quite the collection of plastic water bottles. Due to the fact that the tap water in St. Petersburg is unsafe to drink I resorted to buying bottled water more frequently than I ever had in the US, and because my […]

Managing Your Cash While Abroad: A Student Guide

Eurasia today is quite affordable. Students are often surprised how far their dollars will go even in major cities like St. Petersburg and Warsaw – and very surprised at how far they go in places like Bishkek and Irkutsk. However, students can also be surprised at how easy it is to run into troubles – […]

A Weekend Trip to Sochi

In terms of climate, Sochi is not what you would expect from a Russian city. Sochi has a humid subtropical climate that somewhat resembles central California. Average temperatures range from relatively comfortable winters, at 11°C (52°F), to very comfortable summers, at 24°C (75°F). Just outside the city limits, the Caucasus Mountains rise abruptly, giving the city […]

Weekend Trip to Kazan from St. Petersburg

Travel within Russia is comparatively inexpensive and, while studying in St. Petersburg, I’ve been able to see many great cities will keeping to a student budget: Sochi, Murmansk, Irkutsk, and now Kazan. Kazan is unique and now one of my favorite Russian cities. This uniqueness stems largely from the Tatar and Muslim influences in architecture […]

Traveling to Irkutsk from St. Petersburg

Travel in Russia is extremely cheap when compared with taking domestic flights in North America. For example, where a flight from Nova Scotia to Montreal with a duration of an hour and a half would be close to $600 round trip, I made a four day trip from St. Petersburg to Irkutsk (a 9 hour […]

Long Weekend Trip to Murmansk from St. Petersburg

When I arrived in Russia I knew that one thing I wanted to do was see the Northern Lights. Many Russians seemed to think that this was ironic as I am Canadian and one can see the Northern Lights in Canada’s Arctic regions as well. What Russians do not know, however, is that traveling in […]

My Summer Abroad in St. Petersburg

When I took off from Chicago at 6pm one evening at the beginning of summer, I was not entirely sure what I was in for. Flying across the globe on my own? I had never even left the country! While I wasn’t sure at that moment what my summer would entail, looking back, I can […]

The Bus System in St. Petersburg, Russia

“To get there, take Minibus 287 or Bus 186 and transfer to Bus 545.” As I heard this, I almost couldn’t believe it. Just how many buses were in this city? And how could it be possible to learn to use them in just a summer? My next thought was, why even learn? I can […]

White Nights: Culture and Night Life in St. Petersburg

10:17pm sunsets and 3:30am sunrises. That was my initial description of St. Petersburg when friends and family asked how my study abroad experience is going. The 18 hours of daily sunlight that mark St. Petersburg’s “White Nights” are nature’s gift to the northern city that is Russia’s cultural capital. Though the sun sets at around […]

Study Abroad Program Review: Cuba-Russia Connection

I embarked on the Cuba-Russia Connection program offered by SRAS in May of 2018. However, this incredible program really began months before me landing in Cuba. SRAS’s communications with me and the resources they offered before the study abroad trip helped set me up for the great experience that was the Cuba-Russia Connection. SRAS emailed […]

Sand Sculptures at Peter Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia

Just outside the walls of the mighty Peter Paul Fortress, on a Neva River beach, is a different kind of architectural grandeur. The Sand Sculpture Festival (Фестиваль песчаных скульптур) takes places every summer here in central St. Petersburg.   Each year has a theme; this year (2018) the theme was “World Masterpieces,” and the festival […]

Boat Tour Around St. Petersburg – My Farewell to the City

As the spring semester was winding down in St. Petersburg, my fellow classmates and I all wanted to have one last stroll around the city. Luckily for us, SRAS had another idea in mind: a boat tour! Our local coordinator informed us that we’d have an hour tour that would take us around the canals […]

Adapting to the Class Schedule in St. Petersburg

Be Sure to Bring Your Coffee! Students should abroad expecting entirely new experiences. This includes new experiences in how university-level classes are scheduled, a process that is different in both Ukraine and Russia from what most students are used to in the United States. While abroad in Kyiv, Ukraine (PCON Program) and St. Petersburg, Russia […]

Four Day Trip to Moscow from St. Petersburg

When I told my family that I would be studying abroad in Russia, they all seemed to ask me the similar question of would I get to see the Kremlin, Red Square, or St. Basil’s Cathedral. I always found these inquiries to be comical because all three of these are located in Moscow, yet I […]

Weekend Trip to Helsinki, Finland from St. Petersburg

While studying abroad in St. Petersburg, I’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit, both within Russia and internationally. There are a handful of countries that are surprisingly easy and cost-friendly to travel to from St. Petersburg. The most popular weekend destinations for students are the neighboring states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland. […]

Russian Learners and Speakers Club in St. Petersburg

One of the most intimidating and difficult parts of learning a language is speaking. I only really found this out after coming abroad. Most foreign language courses will start with the alphabet, grammar structure, and basic phrases needed to navigate a foreign city. This was the level of Russian I had when I first arrived […]

Learning Through a Passport: The Undeniable Importance of Travel

“Travel is the most intense mode of learning”- Kevin Kelly, executive editor of Wired magazine   Eight months ago, my year of studying abroad began. I arrived in Tbilisi, Georgia as part of the Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space (PCON) program. Over the course of the following fall semester, I travelled all across […]

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