3 Rules to Follow For Foreign Students in Russia

If you are thinking about studying abroad in Russia and are worried about how you will cope, you need to do some research to assure yourself. Learn about being a foreign student in Russia and how you can make your stay in the country go smoother.

3 Rules to Follow For Foreign Students in Russia

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Here are some of the simple rules that you should follow as a foreign student in Russia to make life easier:

1.   Stay Away From Politics and Political Activism

When a country welcomes you within its borders and allows you to study in its academic institutions as a foreigner, it pays to follow its rules. And the reality is that politics in Russia are very complicated. So, it would be wise for you to observe political activities in silence as you study.

The rules that govern the U.S, Canada, and other countries in which you reside may not be the same that apply in Russia. Each country has its way of doing things. And Russia is no different.

The State Hermitage Museum Saint Petersburg
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Author: Dima Alsheikh

So, taking part in local politics or political activism is not a good idea. Avoid participating in riots and any other kind of political protests. Don’t even take part in them at the student level beyond running for the acceptable student seats set aside for foreigners.

By respecting the rules set in place, you are more likely to stay out of trouble. And you are less likely to be arrested and/or deported, which would interfere with your studies.

2.   Learn Russian When You Can

Even though there are many courses in various universities in Russia that are taught in English, it never hurts to learn Russian as an additional language to the ones you already know. One can never learn too many languages.

Some universities may offer the courses you want to study only in Russian. So, learning the language may be the only way to truly understand what you will be taught.

But even if that is not the case, it’s still a good idea to learn the language. Understanding the local language will open up job and business opportunities in Russia for you. You are more likely to be hired even if you are a foreigner. You may also end up getting a job at a multinational firm that needs professionals who speak and write Russian.

Bolshoi theatre, Moscow
Bolshoi theatre, Moscow, Author: Marco Verch, Source: Flickr

Another reason you should consider learning Russian is that it will enable you to explore the country independently without the need for a translator. You will gain a better understanding of the Russian people that you interact with too. And they will be impressed that you made an effort to learn their language.

3.   Ensure Your Immigration Documents Are Up To Date

Applying for a visa after applying to study in one of Russia’s top education institutions is just the beginning. Your visa will not be valid forever. So, you need to be prepared to update it once it expires.

You should also ensure that your passport is valid and up to date. Learn beforehand what you must do to get a new passport in case your old one expires while you are studying in Russia. Where should you go? Who should you contact? What papers should you present to get a new one as fast as possible?

Lenin's mausoleum, Moscow
Lenin’s mausoleum, Moscow, Author: xiquinhosilva, Source: Flickr

The General Directorate for Migration Affairs in Russia and the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation are the go-to places for foreigners who want student visas. You need to familiarize yourself with the relevant local offices near the university at which you will study. Also, ask for help from your local university or college.

Make sure you have everything you need

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