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Living in St. Petersburg
A comprehensive guide about living well in St. Petersburg
As the second biggest city in Russia after Moscow, expats living in St. Petersburg can enjoy a multicultural environment. From its incredible architecture to the second biggest zoo in Russia, St. Petersburg has plenty to offer, too. Find out more about the culture, healthcare, and education.
Life in St. Petersburg
Healthcare in St. Petersburg
There are six hospitals in St. Petersburg, including one of the biggest medical complexes of North-West Russia, all with English-speaking operators and most with English-speaking caregivers.
Emergency care is mostly free for foreigners in Russian hospitals, but you should expect to pay costs towards things such as prescriptions and some medical treatments. Many of the hospitals are partnered with a variety of insurance companies, you can find out that kind of information on their websites.
The phone number for the emergency services in St. Petersburg is 112 for all services, and to make a request for an ambulance the phrase is “skoraya pomosh” which translates directly as “quick help”. The direct number for ambulance is 03.
The water quality in St. Petersburg is not always completely safe, so it is recommended that you stick to bottled water to ensure you’re only drinking clean water at all times – unless your home or other accommodation is fitted with a filter system.
Education in St. Petersburg
Being a large city; St. Petersburg contains over 1,000 kindergartens, 716 public schools and 80 vocational schools. The city’s most attended University is St. Petersburg State University, which enrolls over 32,000 students.
For students hoping to learn in English, enrolling in the International Academy of St. Petersburg (or IASP) is a great start. Its main aim is to prepare local students for further education or life overseas in countries like America or England, but it welcomes students from all walks of life with various aspirations. Being a private school of very good quality, the class sizes are around 15 and the majority of graduates in the last few years have gone on to good colleges.
As IASP is an English-speaking school, when a student whose first language is not English enrolls, that student must pass a proficiency test in the English language before being accepted as standard. An education at IASP is made cheaper by partners and donors, and you can check exact prices on their website.
Culture and Leisure in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has a rich culture and breathtaking architecture; it is home to a vast number of famous colorful buildings in the historic city center. However, St. Petersburg isn’t just renowned for its architecture alone; it is often referred to by the local community as the “Gorod Muzei” – the museum city.
One of the most notable buildings is the Peter and Paul Fortress, an open-air museum, the first structure to be built in St. Petersburg. One of the most popular hotspots for tourists and locals alike is Leningrad Zoo – the biggest zoo in Russia after Moscow Zoo – where you can visit all kinds of animals ranging from tigers to ostriches. St. Petersburg also houses more than fifty theatres, and has been the location of over 250 films – both Russian and International.
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