The following is a compilation of student reviews about the London School dorms. This page is meant to help students prepare for their time abroad.
Joseph Ernst (Summer, 2019): My housing experience was excellent. The in-room bathroom was extremely comfortable and convenient, and the kitchen was spacious enough to hold the groceries of everyone on the floor. The internet could be a bit slow at times, but was for the most part reliable. The beds are not terribly big, but never hampered my slumbering experience. I was very happy with the condition of the dorms and felt like they were very well cleaned and maintained.
The location of the housing was very convenient, especially as it was close to two seperate metro stations, a 2 minute walk from class, and very close to two supermarkets. Cafes, bars, and many good restaurants are all located within a 5 minute walk of campus. Nothing in the city was really too far from the University, not only because of the close metros but also because popular places like Rubenstein street and Sennaya Square were just a few minutes walk away.
Natasha Harwood (Spring, 2019): I seem to remember promising myself after my first year at the university that I would never live in a dormitory again, but now I find myself back in the dorms—this time in St. Petersburg. Of course, my strongest memories of living in the dorms in the US involve living with a stranger in an 8 ft by 10 ft box, cooking pasta in an electric kettle, and that long walk to and from the showers every morning. But that was all in the US, so what I really want to know is: “How will living in a Russian dorm compare to my experience in the US?”
I’ll start with what initially surprised me about the dorms. When I looked at pictures online of the UNECON dorms I did not realize that the single rooms in the 7th dormitory, where SRAS students are housed, have their own private bathrooms attached. The private bathrooms are by far my favorite part of the dorms because, aside from the shared kitchen, the dorm rooms are more like apartments than what I was accustomed to in the US. Speaking of the bathrooms, a less positive surprise that I experienced in the dorms was the lack of hot water. Not to say that there is never any hot water, but rarely is the water hot when you first turn the shower on. Generally in the morning when everyone in the building is showering the wait time is only 10-20 minutes for hot water, but if you try to shower at an odd time in the day the wait time for hot water can be up to an hour!
Though the water may not always be hot, the rooms certainly are. Seriously, the building is very well heated so you don’t have to worry about being cold even on the chilliest winter nights. All in all I would say that the dorms in St. Petersburg are far nicer than what I experienced in the US, but there are still a few issues that I have.
Joseph Ernst (Summer, 2019): I generally cooked breakfast and lunch in the kitchen. The kitchen was cleaned often, though you must take care to wash your own dishes! My friends and I would like to either explore new restaurants in the area for dinner, or stick to the stolovayas which were nearby. There are not any ovens in the kitchens, which is a downside, but a plus for me was the french press and hot pad water heater for coffee and tea.
Natasha Harwood (Spring, 2019): There are no ovens in the kitchens, which really limits the variety of foods that I can make as I am primarily a baker, and at home I used my oven every day. Also, the one thing I would say that is better about dorms in the US is the fact that even if they don’t have complete kitchens there will be one or more dining halls on campus. While there are plenty of cafes and even a couple of cafeteria-style eateries within walking distance of the dorm here, it’s not the same as a dining hall on campus.
Joseph Ernst (Summer, 2019): The community areas on each floor where great for meeting new people. I lived on the fourth floor, but many people would hang out in the second floor community area and it was more than spacious enough to hold all of us!
Having laundry on each floor was a life saver. Everything you need for basic living was available! I also think that the program directors did a very good job of providing local resources for buying additional items like fans, fumigators, and the like. It was really nice that the linens would be changed every week (if you remembered to set them outside of your room in the morning), and felt like the entirety of the dorm was kept fresh and clean.
Natasha Harwood (Spring, 2019): Finally, here are just a couple tips I would recommend for if you are planning on living in the dorms at UNECON or anywhere abroad:
1. Pack a lightweight, but warm blanket. In case the mattress in your room has loose springs or is just a little too firm, the comforter can be used to provide a layer of cushion between you and the mattress and then you can use your own blanket to stay warm at night.
2. Bring something small that can give your room a personal touch. This can be a photo, maybe a postcard from home, a stuffed animal, or, like I did, a dream catcher that my mom gave me before I left for Russia.
3. Finally, don’t worry too much about the dorm rooms, at the end of the day you didn’t come to Russia to spend all of your time in a dormitory!