Jul 20, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Guest: Anastasia Kovaleva, HSE

Inspired by the World Cup or simply the attraction of an original and topical place to study, students are looking to Russia to further their education.

But little is known about the Russian university experience outside of the Caucasus, leaving potential travelers to depend on word-of-mouth opinion when deciding to study there. Let's take a look at five common misunderstandings about studying in Russia – and how in each case they can be turned on their head as a wonderful reason to apply!

HSE - Anastasia Kovaleva

Myth #1- Education in Russia will be expensive

Studying in Russia might actually work out to be cheaper than in your home country.

Tuition fees are very reasonable. Even a prestigious school like HSE University costs as little as $3200 to $7800 per year, with full-tuition or part-tuition scholarships available for international students.

And living expenses are phenomenally low. A university dormitory room can usually be secured for a small, symbolic fee, while a room in a Moscow apartment will be around €175/month. A one-bedroom place to yourself should cost no more than $300-450.

With cheap student transport passes available, it is not unusual for total living expenses to come to much less than $500 per month.

Myth #2 - The Russian language will be a struggle

You know more Russian than you think!

Okay, you might not be ready to have a conversation when you step off the plane, but you’ll recognize plenty of words borrowed from English and French or familiar through other Slavic languages.

Russian is the eighth most spoken language in the world, and the prominence of Russian business and culture is rising all the time. Learning to speak Russian in its native environment will allow you to pick it quickly and authentically.

Some universities offer a wide range of Russian language courses for international students. For instance, HSE University provides Russian as a Foreign Language and Preparatory Year programs. There is also a wide range of HSE master’s programs taught entirely in English, offering the option to study in a familiar language while you develop your Russian skills outside of class.

HSE - Anastasia Kovaleva

Myth #3 - Russian universities have complicated admission procedures

In fact, applying to a Russian university is not so different from applying anywhere else in Europe or the States.

Year on year, admissions offices improve the enrollment process to make it as smooth as possible for international scholars. Students can apply and provide all the documents that are necessary online.

And you can expect to be supported through the process by local administrative staff. HSE University employees are happy to discuss queries in English and are capable of providing all the information and support that you might need.

In addition, university staff will supply you with your visa invitation and talk you through the state regulations for your stay in Russia.

Myth #4 - Your degree won’t be recognized

Russia’s education system is based on the Bologna principles, and you can expect to get an internationally-recognized bachelor's or master’s degree, postgraduate certificate, or equivalent.

Russia’s status in the international education community has been cemented through partnerships and shared programs with the world’s leading schools. Accreditation and teaching standards meet international requirements, with 95 Russian universities featuring in the QS EECA University Rankings 2018 and 24 in the QS World University Rankings.

One of the top schools, HSE University, has more than 20 double-degree programs with foreign universities, making for an excellent opportunity to receive a European degree at Russian prices. The European Diploma Supplement is given to all the HSE graduates in addition to the degree certificate.

HSE - Anastasia Kovaleva

Myth #5 – Russia is a rural country with a rough climate

Russia has very modern and fast-growing urban areas alongside its two celebrated, beautiful megacities.

Moscow (population 17 million) and Saint Petersburg (5.3 million) provide you with a decent quality of life and affordable prices at the same time. Urban life is very safe and comfortable with all the services you would expect from prominent European cities.

Both cities are noted for their choice of traditional and cutting-edge entertainment, blusterous nightlife, and international cuisine. Student discounts for theaters and exhibitions, open lectures and conferences make it all possible on your budget.

You can experience historical destinations, big city life, and Russian culture at the same time as completing your education in an up-and-coming land of opportunity.

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