Settling in as an expat in Russia can be problematic

Published:  28 Dec at 6 PM
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Although Russia might well be last on the vast majority of would-be expats’ list of preferred destinations, its history is as fascinating as its winter weather is appalling.

Surveys take in everywhere these days, including Russia, with just under half of the replies to the latest InterNations expat study saying the welcome received by expats is as chilling as the winter snows. In addition, half of those surveyed said it was hard to settle in the country. A major problem is the complexity of the language, placed firmly at the last place in the survey as less than 17 per cent found it easy to learn. Moreover, only 11 per cent said it’s not so bad living there without being able to speak the language. The remainder of the respondents found making friends in the local community almost impossible..

Even although Russia is the world’s largest country, its transportation networks are considered to be excellent given the conditions under which they operate, and as many as 80 per cent rated the leisure options and quality of life as good. However, it has to be remembered that 80 per cent of those surveyed live in either Moscow or St Petersburg. The main complaint is the long, dark and extremely cold Russian winters, and the environment itself doesn’t impress the majority of foreign residents in spite of Russia’s membership of a good number of environmental treaties.

Surprisingly, Russian politics don’t bother the expat community as a whole, with a few saying the West simply doesn’t understand how Russia works and the rest keeping their heads down. . As regards those who’ve relocated for work reasons, the long hours are a cause for complaint, with teachers expected to work 48.7 hours a week. One upside for expats who emigrated with their families is the availability of good leisure facilities for youngsters, and education options are considered to be good but expensive, especially for younger children. Childcare, however, is disproportionately expensive, according to almost half of respondents.
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