The most typical lodging options for an international student in Russia are a university dormitory, a rental apartment or a host family. It is very important to find the best option within your budget. Consider all 'pros' and 'cons' before committing yourself to an option. The choice of the place where you will stay in a sense defines your academic success.
The accommodation fee is set by the university. It may vary from 500 to 5,000 roubles per month, depending on the university and the city, and makes it a much cheaper option compared to a rental apartment. Payments can be done on a monthly basis or per term. Sometimes you can even pay in advance for the whole academic year. In this case some universities may offer you a discount.
Students who live in a dormitory must follow certain rules. The obvious ones are not to damage the furniture, keep one’s room tidy, not make too much noise (loud music, TV, etc.), notify the hall of residence supervisor of one’s long absence. There is a zero-tolerance policy on drinking and smoking in Russian halls of residence. You will be informed about these rules upon arrival.
Ask the representatives of your university whether you qualify for a place at a dormitory when you are submitting the enrolment application, or search the university's website.
Make sure you clarify all necessary information from the outset:
- location of the dormitory;
- types of rooms, facilities available;
- costs and payment options.
If everything suits you, you can proceed to submit your residence application.
More information about dormitories for international students you will find here.
Moscow and St. Petersburg are well known for having the most expensive apartments. The smaller the city is and the farther it is from major cities, the lower the rent is. For example, as of 2020 in Moscow, depending on the location and facilities available, a bedsit will cost you around 30-35 thousand roubles (461-538$) a month, and a room around 15-20 thousand roubles (230-307$) a month. In Novosibirsk, the same options would be 50% cheaper.
Some universities help their students find lodgings, which includes finding host families. So, first ask the representatives of your university whether they provide such services. This ensures fast and secure search of lodging options. While looking for a suitable flat, you can stay at a dormitory.