My Wonderful Study Abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia Past Review

By (Anthropology, Georgia State University) for

AIFS: St. Petersburg - Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience in Russia were some of the best four months of my life. I'll never forget all the people I met and all the places I saw. AIFS was a great program because it was in a fun part of the city and the staff was laid back yet helpful. I highly recommend this program. I love St. Petersburg and AIFS has a lot to do with that!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics at AIFS St. Petersburg were great. The workload wasn't overwhelming but enough to help you learn and the teaching methods were easy to understand yet intriguing. I didn't notice too much difference between the education system. In the program, I had smaller classes so I was able to form more meaningful relationships with professors. Overall, I loved the classes I took.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was also very helpful. They were willing to aid you in any possible way. They mostly all spoke English and were happy to help.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the University dorms and loved it. I was on the same floor as all the Americans plus students from Finland, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, etc. Everyone was friendly and we would often congregate together to share drinks and stories. I learned a lot of Russian living in the dorms because everyone was eager to practice. The dorms were also very close to the metro that can take you in to the city center in just 20 minutes. The dorms also came with bed sheets, blankets and cookware. They had it completely ready for us to move in and you could exchange you laundry every week!

* Food:

The food in Russia takes getting used to but that doesn't mean it's not good. You can find good food, you just have to look for it. A lot of the resturants off Nevsky are good but also, buying groceries and making your own food is the way to go. You're going to be eating a lot of bread, potatoes and borsch (beet soup)but it can be delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

AIFS provided a number of cultural excursions that were great. The Hermitage, Moscow, Helsinki, Talin, museums, etc. We had the option to go places almost every week! This doesn't include all the personal time you have to travel on your own or with some friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Living in the dorms, I never felt threatned and St. Petersburg late at night is like any other city at night, it can be unsafe. But as long as you're with a group of people and not being dumb you wont encounter any problems. Just always be aware of your surroundings. I never experienced any trouble or felt unsafe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

My language improved greatly while I was abroad. Russian can be a daunting language but the professors and students in the dorm are eager to help. I'd chat mostly with students around the school or my professor. Anyone was willing to help. I spoke Russian everyday as much as I could but it was also nice that almost everyone I met, especially students and teachers could speak English fluently.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be open minded, have fun and meet new people. Everyone is eager to make friends from different parts of the world so go out and do it! Learn something new about yourself and about others! And definitely visit Dumskaya weekly!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Russian History: The Communist Phase

Course Department: History
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was awesome because the professor lived through the period so he could recall the material firsthand. The content was new to me and although at times it was challenging, it was never too much. I was eager to go to class each week to hear him speak.
Credit Transfer Issues: Just make sure to get courses approved at your home institution before you leave, I forgot to do that so it took awhile to go through, but it did.