Learn Russian in St Petersburg: Social Life
All students are encouraged to make the most of their time in St Petersburg by participating in the guided excursions and activities offered by the college. The college arranges a minimum of 4 activities per week. Each weekend (if there are a minimum of 4 participants) they take you out for a full-day excursion around St Petersburg and its surroundings. The college guides will of course ensure you see the better known attractions such as the Hermitage, Peter & Paul fortress, St Isaac’s Cathedral and Peterhof. The college have arranged a special student rate with a nearby Sports Complex where you can swim, take a sauna, try aerobics, golf or tennis or squash.
There is a regular city tour for new students and an evening aperitif so that new students have the chance to get to know each other. All excursions are accompanied by a college guide and are at additional cost. A minimum of 4 students per trip is required. Do not forget to bring an ISIC card with you if you are a student as you can get some good discounts at the official museum etc (you can order and purchase an ISIC card at the college).
For those who want to explore St Petersburg’s night life we recommend you explore the Nevsky Prospekt for a wide variety of Clubs and restaurants. Or try the “Red club” for rock concerts near Moskovsky Train Station. Or the Metro night club with 3 dance floors which is a really fashionable student club. Of course there is much more to discover and to find out what is really up to the minute, we suggest you ask the college staff for ideas.
For culture vultures in to ballet or opera there is the Mariinsky Theatre, home to the classical repertoire of the Kirov ballet and opera companies, and the Maly Theatre. For plays head to the Bolshoi or Maly Drama Theatre (and there are several others to chose from as well). Classical music concerts are also on offer, the White Nights Festival in June hosts a range of orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists from around the world. There are regular performances at the Philharmonic Hall, the smaller Glinka Maly Zal and the Conservatorium.
A sample of a Week’s cultural programme:
Most excursions apart from the first city tour are offered at additional cost, to be paid once at the college.
Monday: Walking tour in St Petersburg
Tuesday: Tour of the Romanov sites in St Petersburg
Friday: Russian cookery lesson
Saturday: Trip to see the fabulous Catherine’s Palace or Oranienbaum Park/Palace
St Petersburg offers a wide range of cultural attractions, the “must do” has to be the Hermitage, which comprises of 5 historical buildings (including the old home of the Tzars, the Winter Palace). The art work cover a breath taking array of items, from prehistoric to modern times, all in rooms of ornate design and historic importance. The Hermitage cannot be “done” in a day, allow at least two or three trips to take it all in, the most important rooms are in the Winter Palace, if time is short. St Isaac’s Cathedral, built in 1818/1858 was once the largest church in Russia and was built to house 14,000 standing worshippers, now it is used as a museum and only rarely are services held here. If feeling strong, climb the 300 stairs to the dome’s colonnade to get a fantastic view across the city.
The Peter and Paul fortress dates from 1703 and the Cathedral on the site is the burial place of the Tzars of Russia from Peter the Great to Alexander III, it was also used as a political prison, famous inmates include Dostoyevsky, Trotsky and Lenin’s older brother, Alexander.
We suggest you try a river or canal tour between May and October or a trip to a “Banya”, a Russian bath house, for dips in ice cold pools and a chance to stew in a steam room or sauna for a few hours! Ice fishing is a popular sport in the colder months, very calming but dress accordingly!