Study Abroad Information for Foreign students Pre-Departure…
Health Insurance and Medical Information
Travel Insurance & Medical Insurance
It is important to check with your medical provider and insurance company to determine what expenses incurred in Europe are covered. We highly recommend that you obtain a short term travel insurance policy to compliment your medical insurance. Travel Insurance covers 4 basic areas
1) Medical/Health problems
2) Property Loss
3) Trip cancellation/interruption
4) Emergency evacuation
Local Russian Health Insurance
Students studying for semesters programmes are required to purchase local Russian Health Insurance (not valid outside Russian Federation) for their application of their permit to stay. The cost of local Russian health insurance and permit to stay (approx $140) will be billed along with the tuition fees.
Booking your tickets…
It is the responsibility of each student to make their own travel arrangements. You may wish to use a travel agent to help with the travel plans. There are many different options for purchasing your tickets, and it is important to choose the one that suits you best.
We recommend that you do not wait until the last minute to obtain all your travel documents.
Preparing your finances
Although it is more advantageous to convert money in Europe than at home, it is important to have enough money for the first 24 – 48 hours of your trip. You should plan on having approximately a minimum of $100-$200 to be able to pay any other issues that may arise when travelling.
When changing money abroad it is always best to go to a bank. Although there are bureaux de Change all over, they charge a commission and this is usually quite high. This also applies to hotels, airports and train stations where rates are usually higher than at the banks. To avoid loosing money from transaction charges, it is advised to change large sums of money at a time.
Traveller’s cheques are an easy and safe way to carry money while travelling but they are becoming more and more obsolete. It is getting harder to find places in Russia that will change them for you. Visa and American Express are the most recognised companies, and your home bank should have one or the other available to purchase. If stolen, your company will be able to refund the money as well as providing assistance like toll-free refund hot-lines abroad and other emergency services.
Credit cards are generally accepted all over Russia, although some restaurants and budget hotels will only accept cash. Credit cards are sometimes required when reserving rental cars or hotel rooms. Credit cards can also provide cash advances through ATM machines, although this incurs a hefty transaction fee (usually around $10 for the advance and another 2-3% extra for foreign transactions). Having this option available can prove to be a great relief in an emergency. In order to make cash advances you need to obtain a PIN number from your card provider.
ATM and Debit Cards
ATM machines are fairly common in Russia and are easy to find and use. Before you leave your home country, do make sure with your bank that you have an International PIN code and that your card is compatible with European systems.
The Debit card is very similar to a Credit card, in that it allows you to use it in a variety of places and in ATM machines. The major difference is that the money is taken directly from your bank account, therefore the funds need to be available to enable the transaction to complete successfully. Although these cards are convenient they can be more of a risk, as if you card is stolen and used for transactions, the money is NOT recoverable usually from your bank, whereas a credit card company is insured and will not charge you for transactions made on your stolen card. If you have a Debit card, please be aware of the risks.
Note: Before you depart to study abroad, make sure you go into your bank and inform them you are likely to be using your debit or credit card abroad, which country and how long you are staying. This helps them to decide if the transaction is a valid one and prevents a block being placed on your account.
The most important thing to remember is never limit accessing your money to one option. It is vital you have a back up source of funding available. If you rely on a bankcard only and it is stolen, you will have no means of obtaining any money. It may be a good idea to have a second bankcard issued that you can leave at home in case of emergencies. Even so, mailing new cards or transferring money takes time so it is very important you have more than one method of getting cash.
Helpful tips whilst travelling
1- Remember, you may “lose” a day when you travel to Europe as example from Africa. You will arrive a day later than you leave due to time zone changes.
2- Make photocopies of EVERYTHING.
3- All important documents should be photocopied and the copies kept in separate places. This includes passport, credit cards (front and back), drivers licence, travellers cheques serial numbers, travel insurance and airline tickets. Make more than one copy and leave one set at home.
4- When travelling ensure you have two forms of ID with you at all times, one of which should have a photo ID.
5- Loosing luggage happens when travelling, it can happen to anyone at any time. Travelling to Russia, you may encounter this problem sooner than you expected! Always pack a change of clothes in your carry on bag, or the items you could not do without for a night, possibly a few days. This PARTICULARLY applies to items like prescription medicine. Always pack your valuables (Camera, jewellery etc.) in your carry on bag.
6- Ensure your carry on bag is airline friendly, this means no scissors or cutting implements of any kind, no metal nail files and no Swiss army knife.
7- Put your name, address, and phone number (both home and abroad) where it can be found easily on both the inside and outside of each suitcase
8- If your bag is lost, report it to the airline and leave your name and number of the school where it can be delivered upon arrival. IMPORTANT: If you have chosen to lock your bag, leave your key and combination for customs or the bag will not be delivered and you will have to go back to the airport to collect it
9- Make sure all your travel documents are in an accessible place throughout the trip, as you will need to show them frequently
10- If you cannot comfortably carry your bag across the room, it is too heavy
11- Sleep on the air plane, you will be more refreshed when you arrive
12- Read all the information we send you (and a couple of travel guides too) and you should be prepared for just about any situation that may arise
Before you go – What to bring
1- Safety begins when you pack. To avoid being a target dress conservatively, do not wear expensive looking jewellery. A flashy wardrobe or one that is too casual can mark you out as a tourist. As much as possible, avoid the appearance of affluence
2- Always try to travel light. You can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. You will be also less tired and less likely to set the luggage down and leave it unattended.
3- Carry the minimum amount of valuables necessary for your trip and plan a place or places to store them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hostel safe, when you have to carry them on your person, conceal them in several places instead of putting them all in one wallet or pouch. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothes
4- If you wear glasses, take an extra pair. Bring them and any medicines in your carry on bag.
5- To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labelled containers. Bring copies of your prescription and the generic name of the drug. If a medication is unusual or contains a narcotic, bring a letter from your doctor stating your need to take the drug. If you are in any doubt about the legality of carrying any drug into a country, please check with the embassy or consulate of that country first.
6- Bring travellers cheques and one or two major credit cards instead of cash
7- Pack an extra set of passport photographs along with a copy of your passport information page to make replacing your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen
8- Put you name, address and telephone number inside and outside each piece of luggage
What to leave behind
Do not bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave at home items like
1- Valuable or expensive looking jewellery
2- Irreplaceable family items
3- All unnecessary credit cards
4- Social cards, library cards, unneeded credit cards or other items you would normally carry in your wallet
Leave a copy of your itinerary with family and friends in case they need to contact you in an emergency
Remember: Pack smart, pack light
1- You will have to carry everything you pack. Think about how much you can realistically carry by yourself. Contact the airline you will be flying with to ask about baggage allowances. Ask about the number of carry on and checked in bags, dimensions and weight limits. It is also worth finding out about the fees for excess baggage. Most importantly of all – DO NOT WAIT TILL THE NIGHT BEFORE TO PACK
2- Spread out essential items, like underwear, and a change of clothes throughout your luggage especially your carry on. This is a great idea, in case the airline loose some of your luggage.
3- Do not pack clothes that need dry cleaning or special care
4- Pack for the changing seasons. Decide if you want to pack a heavy coat or carry one on the plane or purchase the coat when in Russia. Dressing in layers during the winter months is also a good idea.
5- Pack comfortable walking shoes. Most of your transportation will be on foot, look after your feet well.
6- Think about packing one or two slightly dressier outfits, there may be times you want to wear something different to your jeans
7- Pack enough personal hygiene items to get you through the first week. Items such as shampoo, toothpaste etc. you can restock once you know your way around.
8- Pack enough prescription medicine to see you through the duration of your stay, they CANNOT be mailed and will be stopped at customs
9- Be aware of the culture in which you will be living. Respect their customs. Wearing flashy or revealing clothes can attract unwanted attention and may be considered disrespectful
10- Have something familiar with you in unfamiliar surroundings. A few pictures of family, friends, pets may help you in moments of homesickness. Also, try keeping a travel journal, even if you have never done this before. Students always enjoy reading through entries about events, people and places they may have forgotten about
11- Most importantly remember EMPTY SPACE, you will have much more to bring home with you than you went with.
Copies, copies, Copies
1- Make at least 3 copies of your passport. Give one to your parent/guardian/spouse and keep 2 copies with you whilst abroad. Keep the copies separately to the originals and in a secure place.
2- Make at least 2 copies front and back of each credit card you will be taking. Give one copy to your parent/guardian/spouse and keep one copy with you whilst abroad. Again this copy should be kept in a secure place separate from your credit card.
3- Do the same with any travellers cheques and debit cards
4- Make at least 2 copies of your itinerary, again, leave one copy with your parent/guardian/spouse and carry the other in a secure and separate place from the original.
Money, money, money
1- Make sure that your credit & debit cards are accepted in Russia. Usually if your card has the Cirrus logo on you will be fine, but double check with your bank first.
2- Contact your card issuer before you leave to let them know you will be using the card abroad, if you forget, you could find your card gets blocked from making transactions.
1- Carry your passport and photo ID in a place that is secure but easily accessible by you. You will have to present them at various times during your trip
2- Make sure you ID has a photo, proof of age and perhaps even student status (this is not mandatory, but can be useful for obtaining applicable discounts)
3- Carry a written doctors prescription for each medication you travel with, and ensure each is in the original containers. If possible, try to obtain enough medication for the duration of your trip
4- Carry proof of insurance with you, again in a secure place
It’s in the bag
1- If you will be using a purse or bag (for gentlemen), remember to keep it with you at all times. Never leave your belongings unattended even for a moment. Tuck it firmly under your arm, or if it has a long strap, wear it across your body, instead of it hanging from your shoulder. You may wish to consider carrying a money belt to carry your passport and cash.
2- Carry the address and phone number of Hotstudy.com with you at all times. Remember to also leave this contact information with your parents/guardian/spouse.
3- Consider purchasing a guide book on Russia at your local bookshop. Researching the country you are going to be living in is always a great idea, this way you can learn about the culture, traditions and much more. During orientation, you will receive an extensive Student Handbook that will outline places to eat, shop etc.
Welcome to Russia
Our agent will be waiting for you at the airport, holding a board with your name and Hotstudy.com on it. You have to contact them immediately, they will accompany you further until you arrive at the university and hostel to get your placement and the registration procedures completed.
Have a question? Contact us now