Three cultural upheavals experienced by foreign students in Russia

Especially for mixstuff – Igor Abramov

As more countries of the world create joint study programs with Russia abroad, universities are gradually becoming international, but the student lives the same. The authors of the multilingual portal RBTH describe the most common cultural upheavals experienced by foreign students in Russia, and also give some tips on how to overcome them.

Traveling abroad for study and adapting to a new learning environment is never an easy thing. However, in Russia this adaptation can be a particularly difficult problem. When it comes to the attitude towards foreigners, Russia is by no means Amsterdam.

For most local universities. As more countries of the world create joint study programs with Russia, universities, universities are becoming more and more international.

The authors of the multi-lingual portal RBTH describe the most common cultural turmoil that foreign students face in this seemingly strange country, and also give some tips on how to overcome them.

  1. Nobody owned English

One of the first shocks. In some universities even employees of the department for work with students have extremely limited English.

Since most students who come to Russia as part of the exchange programs have never studied Russian before, and their knowledge is often limited to just a few key words or phrases. However, do not take it too seriously.

Instead, you should try to find someone who will help you get settled and undergo all the important procedures that you will have to perform.

If you do not know anyone who is ready to help you, you need to find out if your university has a branch of the social network.

When Li, a post-graduate political scientist from China, first came to Moscow, he did not know a single word in Russian. A month later, he was picking up simple words and phrases, but the main thing, he said, was confidence: "It may sound terrible, but I did not hear them in Russian until they either left me alone, or they also began to try to communicate in English.

In an extreme case, just the mobile application. This ability can be very useful if you are a foreigner in Russia.

  1. Bureaucratic nightmare

The Soviet Union was known for its nightmarish bureaucratic procedures, from annoying paperwork to endless waiting in line and unfriendly civil servants. This chapter of Russian history may have ended long and forever, but, alas, little has changed in the bureaucratic machine.

In fact, the first two weeks in Russia may turn out to be like an endless stupid game with the filling of papers and rushing back and forth between various officials of the administration and public services. The only prize in this game is to collect all 17 pieces of paper for survival and legalization in the country.

Daria, a Bulgarian student studying law at the Moscow State University. Lomonosov for more than five years, still experiencing problems with the Russian bureaucracy. "It is impossible to escape from this, there is always some kind of certificate that you need to sign."

Faced with all of this, you may want to go home the first flight, but do not panic, everything is not as scary as it seems at first glance. The key to ensure that all your documents are in the order of patience, compliance with deadlines and working hours of officials, and most importantly – always come in advance.

And one more tip for the last: all the necessary documents, in no case, do not lose them.

  1. Russian coldness

When people say that Russia is a cold country. Russia systematically occupies the top lines in the indices of the "least friendly countries of the world", and the apparent coldness of people.

For Rachel, an American student who came on an exchange program to the Moscow Higher School of Economics. "When I went to Russia, I already knew that people there would not be as warm and talkative as Americans," she says. "But the strangest thing in the street."

Indeed, it was difficult not to notice certain trends in the first acquaintances with Russian students: no one says "hello" and no one at a conference in the university even at parties, people mostly stay in small groups.

"The Russians seem cold, it’s hard to argue with, and the stereotypes that we have, in the West," says Boris, a Frenchman of the Serbian descent, a student at St. Petersburg. Petersburg University. Although all these stereotypes may seem to be the first sight to be completely justified, it is nothing more than a facade. Throughout the stormy history of their country, the Russians received many lessons, many reasons for fear strangers. Therefore, they rarely smile or make a conversation with random people on the street. And it’s not that they are cold or impolite, they just do not trust.

Rachel and Boris unanimously say.

"In a sense, it’s very difficult to melt the ice, but this challenge should be taken because once a Russian person opens up before you, you will remain friends for life," says Boris.

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