Tuition & Cost of Living Estimates
We estimate it costs a minimum of $300 – $400 / month to cover living costs in Russia. Day to day living costs in St Petersburg and Volgograd are slightly lower than in Moscow, although provided you avoid ex-pat hang-outs in Moscow, the cost of living here is still a lot lower than in the West. The prices below should only be considered a rough guide (take the upper limits for Moscow and the lower limits for Volgograd, with St Petersburg somewhere in between):
Eating, Drinking and Dining: Your weekly grocery bill is likely to be around $40-80 per person (all prices are in USD). You can buy a fairly decent three-course meal out for about $20 per person. If you eat out at lunchtime during the week, you can get a three-course business lunch for around $5. A 0.5 l glass of beer costs on average $2.
Evening Entertainment: A ticket to an English-language cinema costs $10, but you can see films in Russian for $5 or less. Theatre, opera and ballet tickets can cost as little as $3 but expect to pay $10 – $20 for decent seats. Entrance to museums and art galleries can cost anything from 50 cents to $10, depending on the place and what discounts you can get. Cover charges for nightclubs, if there is one, usually average at about $5 – $10.
Transport: A monthly metro pass costs between 250 roubles ($8) and 500 roubles ($16). Bus, tram and trolleybus tickets cost 10 – 50 cents (for one journey, irrespective of length). Trips and Excursions: Day trips to Golden Ring towns can be arranged independently for $10 – $20. Train travel in Russia is extremely good value (a 3rd class ticket from Moscow-St Petersburg costs about $12). Outside Moscow and St Petersburg it is usually possible to arrange accommodation for $20 – $30 per night, although that may mean Soviet-style hotels where service and decor leave a lot to be desired.
Clothes: It is worth buying winter items (hat, scarf, big coat, fur-lined boots) here, as they are better value than in the West and are more suited to the Russian climate. However, other clothes tend to be poorer quality for higher prices, so we recommend you do your clothes shopping before you arrive.
If you want to make long-distance telephone calls you should use international phone cards that offer very good rates: a $20 card lasts almost 2 hours when calling Europe and America from Russia. Any calls you make within the city you are living in will be free of charge.
What is the weather like in Russia? What clothes should I bring?
The weather in Moscow, St Petersburg and Volgograd varies greatly according to season. The winters are long and cold (with lots of snow and average temperatures around -10 degrees Celsius), and the summers are hot with occasional thunderstorms. As for what types of clothes to bring, it depends on what time of year it is, but remember two crucial points about life in these cities: 1) You will be walking a lot; feet and public transportation are the main modes of transportation in large Russian cities, so your shoes will take a beating and will get quite dirty, i.e. light-coloured shoes are not recommended 2) The same goes for clothes. Russians do wear bright things (shoes included), but dirt naturally stands out more on brighter clothes than it does on darker ones. So, you can see why a tendency toward wearing darker clothes can be seen on the streets of Russian cities. No one wants to be washing their clothes every day! For more information on the weather, try visiting CNN Online or the BBC website. If you Russian is good enough, you can find current broadcast here.