Spring in Saint Petersburg Past Review

By (International Relations, Russian and East European Area Studies, Tufts University) - abroad from 02/04/2013 to 06/30/2013 with

Saint Petersburg State University: St. Petersburg - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I loved living with international students in Saint Petersburg. It's an amazing city and being around people who weren't American was just as culturally enlightening as living in a complete immersion environment. Also, we had way more freedom than students who were in the city on programs designed for American students.

Review Photos

Saint Petersburg State University: Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Saint Petersburg State University: Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Saint Petersburg State University: Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

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.

I was able to choose from courses in both the Master's and Bachelor's programs. I could choose between classes in English and in Russian, and all courses were highly relevant to the field of international relations. Classes were usually lecture-style and discussion was not encouraged, though professors readily answered specific questions.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The woman in charge of the international students was great, extremely helpful and made working through Russian bureaucracy a lot less stressful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorm for the international students wasn't great, but it was amazing living around people your age from all over the world. If you can't handle lowering your living standard a little bit you can always rent an apartment in the center of the city.

* Food:

The "program" doesn't provide any food, so you're on your own with that.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had already gone on an immersion program before this, so I was fine living in a dorm and hanging out with international kids. Home stays can be really valuable experiences though, so the fact that this program doesn't organize homestays is something to keep in mind.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Russian health care in general is kind of sketchy. Most people just advise you to not get sick.

* Safety:

Saint Petersburg is a big city, and like any big city you ave to be aware of your surroundings. I had money stolen from me a few times, so you have to be careful, especially if you obviously look like a tourist or are in a tourist area.

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)

Because I had to buy all of my own food, and because I chose to go to restaurants and bars regularly, I spent a decent amount of money. One great thing about the city though is that students get free entry into almost every church and museum in the city (and there are a lot!)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Avoid western looking restaurants, they tend to target tourists and be more expensive


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

You don't have to use Russian at all if you don't want to. If you want to, there are opportunities to practice, and every student is matched with a Russian "buddy" upon arrival. They are usually more than willing to practice speaking Russian with you.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Russian 192
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Get a tandem partner! Hang out with your Russian buddy and avoid hanging out with international students who aren't studying Russian

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People
  • Location
  • Academic Focus
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Russian classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How fast the time would go by! Travel and make as many friends as you can while you can.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.