You will be confused for awhile in St. Petersburg Past Review

By (Biopsychology/Russian, Tufts University) for

CIEE: St. Petersburg - Russian Language

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. You learn if you love or hate the place in this process, and I want to go back there if I can and possibly work.

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 workload was more than I expected, but it wasn't difficult to handle. The Russian grading system goes on a scale of 1-5 which somewhat reflects the A-F grading scale in the states, though on some exams they will give you percentages which makes it clearer how well you performed.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The one downfall was that I felt the program accepted too many students for a semester, which as a result made organization incredibly difficult and dampened the experience as a result. However the staff were ready to help with any problems, including medical problems.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My homestay was one of the farthest from the school and the main city, though there was metro access. My host family were absolutely the most wonderful people I've ever met and took me bike riding around the city and to the opera from time to time, the awkwardness that you have in the beginning completely disappeared after a few weeks.

* Food:

Food is not hard to fine, its more up to you to find whatever you like. You can get large quantities of cheap food from produkti stores if you want. I got a gigantic loaf for 20 rubles everyday. My host sister was vegetarian, so we ate very health at home. But if you can, I recommend to go in search for SHAVERMA. It is the most delicious thing ever. Don't get street shaverma though, your likely to get sick. Find it in a restaurant.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Traveling to Moscow and Kiev was immense fun. At the same time, we went to so many palaces that most of them blurred to one. If you have a chance, to to the opera or ballet. Those are the cultural highlights of the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Of course any city is dangerous and St. Petersburg is known for having pickpockets all over the metro, but if you use your common sense and watch out then there should be no problem. I never got robbed or pickpocketed. As for health care, there are some very nice high-end clinics the program can take you to if you have any health issues, I had to go to one for an injury and it was similar to what I've had in the US.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe 100 rubles per meal for lunch every school day. When I was there 1 dollar was approx 30 rubles.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There were no unanticipated expenses really. The smartest thing to save on is to get a transportation card for the trolleybus or metro.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Travels
  • Cultural experiences
* What could be improved?
  • Too many people
  • Disorganization