What are the particularities of living in a Russian host family?
Our welcoming, experienced host families have all been thoroughly checked and approved by the Institute.
Applicants should understand that every family has different habits concerning meals, communication, daily routine and way of life in general, but all our host families treat students with kindness and are eager to meet their needs. You may encounter some cultural differences while living with a Russian family, but students should embrace this as a normal and challenging part of your overall experience and try to accept the accommodation offered for the duration of your stay in Russia.*
You will be provided with a single or shared room (upon your request in the application) furnished with at least a single bed or a sofa-bed, a wardrobe, a desk with a chair. Your landlady/hostess is responsible for cleaning your room, but you should try to keep it tidy to enable her to do so easily.
Bathroom and Water
As you will most likely share the bathroom with your host family, please understand and be considerate of the fact that other people in the family also need to use the bathroom, especially in the morning.
Hot water supply: Students should also keep in mind that most of the flats have no hot water for 3 weeks during the summer months. Unfortunately, the Institute cannot inform you of the exact time the hot water is turned off. Russian families usually take cold showers, warm water on the stove, or go to Russian bathhouses or saunas when the hot water is turned off.
Drinking water: St. Petersburg's water-supply system is old, and the tap water is not fit for drinking. Drink only filtered or boiled water!
Bed linen will be changed every two weeks. Students can also give the hostess some light clothes items (such as T-shirts, shorts, skirts, etc.) for to be washed once a week. In the case that your host family has a washing machine, you may ask them to wash heavier clothes such as coats, jeans, trousers etc as well. (This service is additionally charged – we recommend our hosts charge 150 rubles per load for this additional service). You can also take your laundry to one of the many launderettes/dry cleaning services in the city. The Institute can provide you with more detailed information on the services around the city.
The host family provides you with half-board (continental breakfast and dinner) or breakfast depending on your request. Please arrange with your host family the exact dinner time and adhere to this. It is only for some exceptional reason that the hostess can cook some dishes especially for you. In most cases, students are offered the same food as the rest of the family, usually typical Russian food (please mind that many families nowadays use microwave food).
You will be given a set of keys to the flat, so that you can come and go at any time. However, please try to be polite and try not to disturb the family by coming home late at night. If you are planning to spend the night out, please inform the host family. If you stay out all night without giving any notice, the family is obliged to inform the Institute.
When living with a host family you are usually not allowed to invite guests over unless you ask your hostess and receive permission beforehand.
While living with a family, you can use their phone for the local calls free of charge. For international and long-distance calls, please use telephone cards, which you can buy at any big supermarket or telephone booths. To use your mobile phone, you can buy a Russian Sim-card (you need your passport and immigration card with registration to make the purchase) or you can borrow a Sim-card from the Institute.
If there is no Internet connection at your host family accommodation, you can rent an internet modem for your laptop from the Institute. Yota offers fast unlimited mobile Internet access to any internet resources, from e-mail to downloading videos, anywhere within the Yota coverage area.
Damage Deposit – 50 Euros
1. Yota: 1400 rubles/month
2. Yota: 500 rubles/week
*Cancellation or change of accommodation after your arrival is only possible with a week's notice to your host and the Institute. If a student requests and receives a change in accommodation, the student is still required to pay the institute the full price for that week of host-family accommodation, along with the fee for whichever new accommodation is provided. It is only for exceptional reasons that you can move from one host family to another host family during the high season (from June to October). There is always the opportunity to change your accommodation from host family to guest flat, hostel or hotel on the condition that students pay the difference between in the fees.