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Spanning 9 different time zones, Russia is a vast and varied fairy-tale land. Russia has a wealth of culture and traditions, clear to see in their cities, such as in the flamboyant St. Petersburg where national treasures are around every corner. The diversity of this rich land attracts both the culture vulture and the outdoor adventure lover; you can follow in the footsteps of Tolstoy or Tchaikovsky or hike the active volcano, Kamchatka. Russia is a country that appeals to the imagination in every way and the possibilities really are endless.
Contradictory to common assumption, Russians can be very warm and welcoming. They like to entertain in the home and will often offer gifts and invite guests for dinner, as eating out can be expensive. With such an array of things to discover, moving to Russia is a great adventure to embark upon.
Like the majority of Europe, most of homes in Russia are rental apartments. In large cities such as St. Petersburg and Moscow it’s fairly easy to find apartments to rent and often landlords or agencies can be contacted beforehand online. There are also many trustworthy websites that organise flatshares, homestays and other types of accommodation. Be aware that these spaces tend to be smaller compared to other European cities, though the further outside of a city you go, the more space you’ll find.
Russia has an excellent state education, however nearly all instruction is done in Russian unless attending an international or private school which are mainly found in Moscow. Russian education normally follows three stages: primary which lasts four years, ‘basic general’ education which lasts five years and finally, secondary education which can last two to three years.
After basic general students can either apply for a vocational course or for higher education. Upon finishing secondary education, students undergo a set of final exams; the Certificate of Secondary General Education which allow them to either continue in vocational education or attend university.
Russian culture has a history rich in tradition, art, dance, literature, music, folklore and architecture. Watching ballet is a popular past time, as well as classical music and reading. Although Russia is not famous for its food, you should definitely try their specialty the beetroot soup; borscht, perhaps followed by some locally distilled vodka.
Russian winters make it the perfect ski destination, whilst summer provides the perfect opportunity for nature lovers to take to the outdoors. To really experience all that Russia has to offer, a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway is definitely the way to go.
Many Russians do not speak English as a second language, and in some regions minority languages are more prevalent than Russian. Learning the language is definitely advisable, as well as brushing up on their history, geography and culture before making the big move. Russians are very proud of their nation and like to discuss this with others.
If you’re visiting a Russian’s house bring a gift and make sure you take off your shoes and coat when you enter. In the home Russians are very welcoming and warm – they may even provide you with slippers!
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