Living in Russia - Postgraduate Guide |
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Living in Russia - Postgraduate Guide

With around 250,000 international students, Russia is one of the most popular study abroad destinations in the world. This huge country is extremely diverse, encompassing historic cities and vast wildernesses.

On this page you can find out more about student life in Russia, covering essentials like accommodation, living costs, healthcare and employment.

What’s it like to study abroad in Russia?

Few other countries capture the imagination quite like Russia. From the glittering metropolises of Moscow and St Petersburg to the Siberian tundra, the Russian landscape is endlessly varied – you’d be hard-pressed to experience it all during a Masters!

St Petersburg’s decadent neoclassical palaces pay tribute to the city’s imperial past. It’s also home to some of the world’s greatest art collections – the Hermitage Museum is the second largest gallery in the world. St Petersburg has a proud literary tradition – literature students should be sure to pay a visit to the former homes of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov.

Moscow, meanwhile, boasts such iconic sights as the Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral. The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts has a world-class collection of art spanning the ages.

Outside of these major urban centres, Russia has plenty of surprises. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world’s deepest freshwater lake and is known for the clearness of its water. The Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East hosts several active volcanoes and some huge nature reserves.

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International Masters students in Russia will usually choose between two kinds of accommodation: university dormitories and private apartments.

University dormitories are the most affordable option and can cost as little as €7-70 per month. However, bear in mind that this will often involve sharing a bedroom with other students.

Private apartments are more expensive. In Moscow, the priciest city in Russia, a bedsit will cost around €420-490 per month.

Living costs

In general, Russia is a fairly affordable place in which to study a Masters, although you’ll find that Moscow and St Petersburg are noticeably more expensive than the rest of the country, particularly in terms of rent.

These are some typical expenses you’ll encounter as a postgraduate in Russia:

  • Restaurant meal – €17.50
  • Cinema ticket – €5.60
  • Monthly travel pass – €29
  • Monthly utilities – €120

Learn more about studying in Russia

Looking for more information about Masters study in Russia? Our detailed guide covers everything from university rankings and courses to fees, funding and applications.

Working whilst studying

International students in Russia are free to work at their university without a permit.

However, if you intend to work outside your university you’ll need to apply for a permit from the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia. It usually takes around 10 days to process one of these permits.

You should supply the following documents at a regional office of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia:

  • An application form
  • Your passport
  • Your migration card
  • An employment contract
  • A letter of acceptance from your university

You’ll also need to pay a fee of around €50.

Further information

Hopefully you’ve now got a good idea of the main practicalities to bear in mind when preparing for life as a Masters student in Russia. These are some other considerations you’ll need to take into account before your arrival.

Health insurance

As dictated by Russian law, you should apply for a voluntary health insurance (VHI) policy when you arrive in Russia – the international office of your university will usually be able to help with you this. Health insurance will typically cost around €1,380.


When moving to a new country it’s often a good idea to open a local bank account – not least for convenience and the money you’ll save on international transaction fees. You’ll usually need the following documents to open a bank account in Russia:

  • Photo ID (normally a passport)
  • Residence permit
  • Proof of address
  • A reference from your university


Russia is a massive country (the largest in the world, in fact). So it stands to reason that it has a transport network capable of traversing huge distances. High-speed trains link Moscow and St Petersburg in around four hours, while the Trans-Siberian Railway is a bucket list item. One of the longest train journeys in the world, it takes six nights to travel between Moscow and Vladivostok in Siberia.

Moscow has one of the most famous metro systems in the world, with cavernous, ornate stations. St Petersburg also has an extensive underground metro, along with several other smaller Russian cities.

Search for a Masters in Russia

Ready to start looking for your ideal study abroad opportunity? Browse and compare Masters degrees in Russia on

Last updated - 06/02/2020