Russia, the largest country in the world, occupies one-tenth of all the land on Earth. It spans 11 time zones across two continents (Europe and Asia) and has coasts on three oceans (the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic).
The Russian landscape varies from desert to frozen coastline, tall mountains to giant marshes. Much of Russia is made up of rolling, treeless plains called steppes. Siberia, which occupies three-quarters of Russia, is dominated by sprawling pine forests called taigas.
There are about 120 ethnic groups in Russia who speak more than a hundred languages. Russia is known all over the world for its thinkers and artists, including writers like Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and ballet dancers including Rudolf Nureyev.
Russia is a federation of 86 republics, provinces, territories, and districts, all controlled by the government in Moscow. The head of state is a president elected by the people. The economy is based on a vast supply of natural resources, including oil, coal, iron ore, gold, and aluminium.
Why Study in Russia?
Studying in Russia is a popular choice for international students with a wide variety of interests. International students in Russia will receive a high quality education in a culturally diverse environment. Russia possesses one of the best mass-education systems in the world, and has a long-standing tradition of high-quality education for all citizens. Russia’s education system produces a 98% literacy rate, exceeding that of most Western European countries. Russia’s top universities are located in Moscow and St. Petersburg, with Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg being the most well-known. The top universities in Russia have extremely competitive entry requirements, and hold special entry exams each year. One of the biggest draws for international students studying in Russia is the price of tuition. Tuition is Russia is inexpensive, especially in comparison with the quality of education which it buys.
Climate Of course with an area the size of Russia, it is difficult to give any sort of general advice about the climate and weather except that summers are warm to hot, and winters get very cold in some areas. In general, the climate of Russia can be described as highly continental influenced climate with warm to hot dry summers and (very) cold winters with temperatures of -30°C and lower and sometimes heavy snowfall. Sometimes very strong easterly winds, called Buran can occur, bringing freezing cold temperatures and snowstorms. Precipitation varies from region to region.
The different climatic conditions experienced across Russia are:
Most areas of the country in European Russia, in the south of West Siberia and in the south of the Russian Far East, including the cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, experience a humid continental climate.
Most of Northern European Russia and Siberia between the Scandinavian Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean has a subarctic climate, with extremely severe winters.
The strip of land along the shore of the Arctic Ocean, as well as the Arctic islands, have an extreme polar climate on some of the islands and tundra climate elsewhere.
A small portion of the Black Sea coast, most notably in Sochi, possesses a humid subtropical climate with unusually wet winters.
Winter is dry compared to summer in many regions of East Siberia and the Far East, while other parts of the country experience more even precipitation across seasons.
Winter precipitation in most parts of the country usually falls as snow. The region along the Lower Volga and Caspian Sea coast, as well as some areas of southernmost Siberia, possess a semi-arid climate.
- Shoes: bear in mind that you will be walking a lot. I mean a lot! Make sure that when you buy shoes, they are built for comfort. That is not all; most Russians only wear dark colours of shoes. Men almost always wear black. If you have space, bring your own house shoes. When you visit a typical home, you will be asked to remove your shoes and wear house shoes. So buy shoes that can be easily taken off and on, and have some nice shoes handy.
- Clothes: Pack dressier clothes than you normally would. Russian students get really dressed up for class (expect to see young men in full suits walking around your campus). Russians, especially women, pay attention to their appearance. Looking too casual identifies you as a tourist. Bring a long, black coat if you are traveling to Moscow in winter. It will keep you warmer than a hip-length parka, and you will blend in. people dress in layers, taking something off if it gets too warm and putting something on if it starts raining. Here, you will need all your cardigans, sweatshirts, jackets, and coats.
Winter Clothes you are advised to take with you are: a woollen cap, a half sweater, a turtle neck full sweater, a leather jacket, cotton leggings and thermal wear, and gloves (1 woollen & 1 leather)
Shopping & Dining
- Russian stores operate fairly long hours, usually from 09:00 or 10:00 to between 18:00 and 22:00.
- Local stores may close at 18:00 while hypermarkets may remain open until nearer 23:00.
- All stores will either be closed, or operate shorter hours on New Year’s Day (1 January). Likewise, they close anytime between 16:00 and 21:00 on New Year’s Eve (December 31).
- Traditional sales models (3-for-2 or 2-for-1 for example) are not widely used in Russia; instead a sale normally means a certain percentage being reduced from the original price. This can be as high as 80 percent off.
- Russia’s cuisine is quite simple, but is rich, hearty and packed with flavour. Due to the extreme winters, food such as soups and stews are invigorating and perfect for warming people up on the coldest of days.
- Halal food stores are available in Moscow.
Travel & Transportation
- The national web of roads, railways and airways stretches almost 7,700 km (4,800 mi) from Kaliningradin the west to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the east
- Walking is an easy way to get around the town
- Traveling in Russia by car can be difficult. Roads may be poorly marked, if marked at all, and poorly maintained, especially outside the cities and towns. Car rental services are only starting to develop in major cities such as Moscow or Saint Petersburg, and are expensive.
- Due to the immense size of the country, and the poor road safety, the best way to get around through the entire country quickly is by train
- Though generally less comfortable than the train, buses sometimes are a better option time-wise and are worth looking into if the train timetables don’t suit you.