When you think of Russia, you probably think of cold and snow. Maybe images of glittering Moscow or charming Saint Petersburg pop into your mind. But have you ever thought of going to Russia for college?
Why study in Russia? While it’s not the most typical study abroad destination, it’s an incredible opportunity! Russia is a large country filled with historic cities, stunning landscapes, and friendly people. It’s also home to famous universities and many great scholars.
So dust off your parka and grab your mittens. Let’s explore 9 amazing reasons to study in Russia!
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1. Get a World-Class Education
Did you know that Russia boasts a 99.7 literacy rate? It actually surpasses many Western countries in this aspect. The Russian education system is the perfect place to get outstanding post-secondary training!
You’ll find over 900 universities and colleges scattered throughout this expansive land. Even though many of them rank high, Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg State University are the best schools in Russia. Be prepared for tough entrance exams and specific requirements if these are on your list!
Last year, over 300,000 international students chose Russia as their study abroad destination. They make up about 8% of the entire student population. The most popular areas of study were engineering, medicine, and business.
2. Explore Culinary Delights
Pelmeni, borscht, and caviar! Living in Russia means discovering a whole new world of gastronomy.
Russian food tends to be warm and hearty, perfect for the freezing winters. Meals are usually served in courses with a soup as a starter, followed by a meat dish. A nice, hot cup of tea rounds out the meal and sends you on your way to class toasty and satisfied.
But life in Russia doesn’t have to mean eating the same type of cuisine every day. Medium and large-sized cities have a range of food options available from every country. So whether you’re craving samosas or Pad Thai, you’ll be able to find it in your new community.
3. Discover the Masters of Literature
100 great works of literature every college student should read.
Read these essential books before starting university.
You’ve probably seen these lists many times before. One thing they all have in common is that a number of the authors are always Russian.
Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and Nabokov are some of the great masters of literature you’ll discover if you study abroad in Russia. If your major is related to writing, literature, or poetry, this will be especially exciting!
Even if Russian literature isn’t your thing, walking around the same campus that Tolstoy frequented in his time is still exciting. That connection with greatness can be a real motivation when it comes to your studies!
4. Learn a Useful Language
Did you know that over 300 million people speak Russian around the world? It puts the language in 8th place as the most widely spoken globally.
Learning Russian can be incredibly difficult but very rewarding. It also makes for easy travel in other ex-Soviet countries that still speak Russian. Beyond travel and making new friends, Russian is becoming an in-demand language worldwide.
If you plan on working in business, science, or tech in Europe, Russian is an important language to know. Many European career opportunities are influenced by Russia’s economy and an enormous amount of web content.
5. Traverse a Giant Nation
Russia spans across Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. If you choose to study at Russian universities, the travel opportunities are enormous!
These are some of the most famous locations you’ll want to hit during your summer and winter breaks.
As Russia’s capital, Moscow is a must-see. The city is an exciting mix of green spaces, historic alleys, and modern architecture. Filled with art galleries, theaters, and shopping, you’ll be going non-stop all day.
Don’t forget to stop by the infamous Red Square, the Kremlin, and St.Basil’s Cathedral!
For art and culture, head to this gorgeous city in Russia’s northwest. Bordering Finland and Estonia, this small city has a more European feel. With architecture, design, and beauty around every corner, it’s worth the trip.
Spend a day at the Hermitage and discover the world’s second-largest collection of art.
If you’re a nature-lover, Lake Baikal should be at the top of your travel list. As the world’s oldest, largest, and clearest lake, it’s a sight to behold. In the summer, you might even be able to take a quick dip!
Located in the Russian Tundra, near the Arctic Circle, this tiny town is the perfect place for viewing the Northern Lights. You’ll also be able to spot polar bears, seals, and wolves throughout the tundra. A friendly warning, this part of Russia experiences permafrost, so you’ll need to bundle up!
Need to warm your bones in the sunshine? Sochi is Russia’s summer resort town on the Black Sea. Head there on your summer break and enjoy the warm waters and pebble-filled beaches.
6. Save Your Hard Earned Money
Post-secondary education costs in Russia can be much cheaper than in Western Europe or North America. Most courses range from $1,880 to $13,540 per year. So if your heart is set on colleges in Moscow, Russia, they’re more affordable than you think!
Cost of living is another factor to consider, and it varies widely based on location. Living in Moscow, for example, will be much more expensive than living in Vladivostok. To show how wide this scope is, university dormitories can cost as little as $7 a month to as much as $780 a month!
Many students choose homestays to save money and get a crash course in Russian culture. Others rent private apartments and houses. Regardless of your choice, your average monthly expenses will be much lower than in western countries.
7. Study in High-Tech Classrooms
The Russian government pours a lot of money into producing highly-qualified university grads. Because of this, technology and research are emphasized in the university curriculum. Internships, research projects, and personal development are also encouraged.
No musty, boring classrooms here! Depending on your area of study, classrooms are well-equipped and campuses are welcoming. Students studying in areas of science, engineering, tech, and medicine will find their programs to be very fulfilling.
8. Experience Cultural Diversity
While Russian is the native language of the country, over 100 other languages are spoken amongst 200 ethnic groups. At the same time, most students learn English throughout their school career. You’ll find a large number of polyglots in this country!
A stereotypical Russian person is often described as Caucasian with blonde hair and blue eyes. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Russia is actually much more multi-cultural than people realize. And a new generation of creatives is trying to show the world!
9. Score a Scholarship
While Russian colleges and universities aren’t free, scholarships are plentiful. Last year, approximately 18,000 students received free education through government quotas.
If your country is very friendly with Russia or has a joint project in the works, you’ll have a better chance of getting funds. In the past, intergovernmental agreements with China, Vietnam, and Uzbekistan have benefitted students.
Universities and colleges in Russia don’t usually offer direct scholarships to international students. If you need help funding your education, these government quotas are your best bet!
Is Studying Abroad Right For You?
International experience is an important addition to any new grad’s resume. It shows that you’re culturally sensitive and aware of worldwide trends. You’ll also meet new friends, build global connections, and find once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
International education could be perfect for you if you:
- Love a challenge
- Want to learn a new language
- Have international career goals
- Need to expand your social network
- Want a unique study experience
- Love travel
Even if you don’t identify with every trait on this list, studying abroad might still be right for you. It’s important to explore all your options when looking for post-secondary opportunities. Once you’ve narrowed down your major and have a general career goal, you might find that international education is an advantage!
So Why Study in Russia?
There are hundreds of reasons for participating in a study abroad program.
So why study in Russia? The food, the culture, the world-class universities, and exciting research projects! And so many other reasons, really.
Want to discover more reasons to head to Russia? Then it’s time to get started. To reach your full potential, you need access to a supportive community and exciting possibilities.