Study Abroad St. Petersburg: The Best Decision of My Life! Past Review

By (Political Science and Russian Studies, Iowa 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?
I had the most incredible experience. I loved the city, it was so beautiful and there was always something to do. The language and people take a little time to adjust to, but it's well worth it. Furthermore, I had a blast living and traveling with my fellow AIFS students - we're all still good friends! My experience in St. Petersburg helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in International Relations, so that I have the opportunity to go back and hopefully work in Russia!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Course work was not as difficult or time-consuming as typical University classes. However, the language courses were rather intense, but extremely helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The programs coordinators were extremely knowledgeable and helpful throughout the semester.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing standards were sufficient, but very nice by local standards. The neighborhood provided basic amenities such as grocery stores, malls, and restaurants, as well as Metro stations.

* Food:

I was nervous about what the food would be like, but I found local cuisine to be delicious and I really enjoyed trying new dishes. However it was easy to find "comfort foods".

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our weekly excursions were a blast and really helped to ensure we were able to see/experience fun, important sites!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I typically felt safe while living in St. Petersburg. However, it was necessary to be vigilant about your surroundings, belongings and at times speaking English.

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?

The program helped my language improvement immensely, both in the classroom and in day-to-day life. There were some English speakers, but it was necessary to be able to communicate in Russian on a regular, day-to-day basis.

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
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students