Before moving to Moscow, it is important to understand the layout of the city. Moscow has developed in circles around the original historical center. Today, the city is divided into twelve okrugs, or administrative divisions. These in turn are divided into districts, of which there are 146 in total. Unsurprisingly, the city’s central districts are where many major corporations and businesses, as well as government buildings, are located. Moscow’s most expensive housing is also here.
Finding suitable accommodation is among the most difficult parts of moving to Moscow. Some say it is easier to find work than a decent apartment. Here is some advice on how to best go about the task.
Expats moving to Moscow have a choice between expatriate-only communities in wealthy suburbs and a more local experience in other neighborhoods. Families with children often prefer the expat compounds. These usually have international schools nearby, their own medical facilities, and plenty of green space. Others may prefer the centrality of the Garden Ring or the slightly more Russian experience in other suburbs.
Moscow, the capital and most populous city of the Russian Federation, echoes with a revolutionary fervor as faded as the pastels of its minarets and domes. The city now houses more billionaires than any other city in the world, wealthy off the back of the former communist states’ privatized assets. With a burgeoning elite comes a higher standard of living, which itself elicits a hefty price tag.
Most people stop feeling quite so overwhelmed after a time; they discover that Moscow is a city with several centers, each like a unique city unto itself. This makes the city feel less substantive.
Maybe I'm not a Russian expert but I'm from Poland and I totally understand what you are worried about but I can ensure you that there is nothing to afraid of.
I've been to Russia and Moscow twice (for over a month). I love this place and I hope to go there once again. If I had a possibility to work there, I wouldn't hesitate.
If you speak Russian, you will have no problem at all. (Russian people don't like when you "attack" them with any other language , especially English). People are hospitable and kind. The only drawback is prices but only if you're accustomed to exclusive life.
As for the politics, for example, the unfriendly attitude towards Poland created by the goverment is not seen in"normal life". People ask abut the political things but they don't judge you and it's fair cause it is NOW my fault that our politicians create such atmosphere.
In my opinion, when you obey some general rules (and it doesn't matter if you are in Russia, Poland, USA etc.), you'll be welcomed everywhere.
To sum up, my advice is: GO FOR IT :)
David E Gleason
I lived in Moscow in 1990 - 91 so that was a long time ago so I don't know what it takes these days. But it was an incredible experience. Life in Russia is so unlike life in the US that you owe it to yourself to find a way. It can be wearing, exhausing, even dangerous, but so if life in any American city. Russians are remarkable people and worth getting to know on their own terms. Sorry I couldn't be of more help but I can be encouraging.
As I'm an American who's been in Moscow for over 18 months, here are some tips off the top of my head which I haven't seen posted yet.
Do you know any Russian? If not, get started. English is not terribly common outside of the (expensive) center. Most people over 30 know no English at all. At the very least, master Cyrillic. You'll be surprised how many words are shared or transliterated from English.
Don't drive/Uber unless you absolutely have to. Traffic is hellish. But the metro is fast, clean, cheap, and safe. Last trains run at 1am (means the last ones depart from the end of the lines at 1).
Don't be afraid to ask for help. People tend to be kind and helpful. But give the babushki a wide berth, they are a surly lot.
Other than that, just be street smart as you would be in any other big city.
Oh, and essential apps: Yandex Metro, Yandex Maps (works better than Google in Moscow), Yandex Taxi & Uber & Gett, Google Translate.
Download the Yandex Metro app, master the Moscow Metro System, and you'll never get lost. Also, buy a Troika card. You'll save a lot of money by doing this. The other posters are absolutely correct - don't expect people (even the younger ones) to speak English so you have to at least try to learn basic Russian (How do I get to...?, How much is this?, What is this?, Could you please help me...? etc.) You'll see plenty of resources online.
If you're budget-conscious just like me, do your grocery shopping at Auchan. Their flagship store I think is the one in Площадь Гагарина. Pretty much everything that you need is there (clothes, kettles, food, toiletries etc.)
Carry your passport, migration card, and registration card with you at all times. This is very important. Don't forget this, please.
Moscow is generally safe compared to other European cities like Paris or London. I'm enjoying my stay here :)
If you’re thinking about moving to Moscow, you’ll find that Moscow is an international city with a large population of foreigners. One of the main reasons is that many large companies in Moscow prefer to invite workforce from abroad. Currently, 1,74 million foreign migrants are registered in Moscow.
The Russian language is a tricky one for anglophones and those moving from the UK to Moscow should start trying to get to grips with it in advance. Once you’ve arrived you could take 8 weeks of evening classes at the Center for Russian Language Studies for RUB 16,575 (£340).
Moscow covers a much larger area than any UK city so figuring out where to live will be a major decision. It’s recommended to rent an apartment in the short term to begin with (or stay in a hotel if you can afford it) to get your bearings and juggle the competing factors of commute time, proximity to amenities, nightlife etc.
Pokrovsky Hills and Rosinka International Residential Complex are two neighbourhoods catering specifically to the needs of expats. The former has an Anglo-American School and the latter a British International School. Rosinka though is a good hour’s drive from the centre in traffic and is therefore only really suitable if you work at a nearby company or at one located on the major ring road (MKAD).
When I leave Moscow, I won’t miss the traffic and the pollution and the boom-town prices, but I’ll miss that a gypsy cab for $6 still gets you just about anywhere.
I’ll miss the beautifully Soviet metro stations—the stained glass, the marble, the utopian, gilt mosaics. I’ll miss the fact that you rarely have to wait more than a minute for a train. I won’t miss stepping inside at nine in the morning past a cloud of peregar, the smell of metabolized alcohol.
I won’t miss how much Russians drink, but I will miss drinking with Russians.
I live in Moscow, also teaching English (i'm 23)
70k is enough. You won't live a baller life but you can get by as long as you're sensible with money.
I live in Moscow and I get 70k a month. If you rent a room, you'll be fine (and it might help you socialize if that's what you want), with around 20k for a room, 15k for food and 2k for transportation, you'll have enough left to either set some money aside or go out or fuel your hobby or something. Maybe even 2 out of those 3.
If you want a flat for yourself, a decent one bedroom apartment would cost you around 40k, so less leisure money, but you would still be fine.
Every time I visit, I always have a good time. If you came to US at young age, Russian lifestyle might be harder to get used to. US and Russia are two parallels IMO. I’d say move if you have an opportunity. If you’re considering that means you’re missing something in Boston (or wherever you are). I am sure you will find it in Moscow.
hi. I moved to Moscow from America a few months ago.
1- Could you please provide any alternative ways including websites or contacts or whatever to reserve an apartment for long term from outside of Russia?
Airbnb. anything else is either a scam or will be gone by the time that you get here. better to do like I did; reserve a place for a few weeks in advance on Airbnb, find a more permanent place once you're on the ground in Moscow.
And if there isn't a way, could you please tell me how to do so once I'm actually there?
I actually found my current place on Airbnb. messaged the landlady, asked her if she was interested in long-term rental. but Avito and Cian are the biggest websites for finding apartments. there's a few others, but I can't think of them off of the top of my head.
2- Do you have any additional tips for an elementary level Russian speaking pleb with an IT background moving into Moscow?
dude I don't know how much you already know and don't know about living in Russia (or even how long you'll be here. two years?). or where you're from. you seem to be a Bahrainian living in Germany? so I don't even know where to start.
Hi from a fellow south east asian! I’m from Vietnam and have been studying in Moscow for 5 years. I have some friends pursuing bachelor degree in MSPU too, so I guess I can give some foreigner perspective.
Regarding housing, since you are on scholarship I assume it will be provided for by the university with a subsidized rent of about $20 - $50. There’s not many choices though, they will just appoint you to a two or three bedroom ‘block’ in one of their dorm. Rent will be very expensive for you unless you have some additional sources of income aside from the tiny monthly grant. If privacy and love life is not your top priority, you will manage just fine.
Regarding general living, save a lot by cooking at least some of your meals at home. Grocery is cheap, fast food is affordable and dining out don’t really set you back that much if you don’t drink. For instance, I am able to have a decent life, with occasional entertainment and shopping budget with about $400 a month. My friend lives on $250 just fine.
All in all, Moscow is a beautiful city, the xenophobia isn’t that bad, and has gotten significantly better. I personally find it hard not to have at least some command of russian if you want to fully enjoy live in Russia, so I recommend you to try to learn the language as much as you can (not sure if you’re writing your thesis in russian or English). Muscovites are friendly enough, of course it takes circumstances for you to really get to know them, but I’ve met lovely people. If you have any other questions, I can help. Otherwise I’m just repeating everyone else if I speak any further.
Nobody here speaks English. Its expensive here to rent and live in general.
If you’re going to rent, I’d suggest you to have at least 1 000 USD per month. If you’re going to live in a dormitory, then it’s 500 USD per month. That will be enough for basic needs and maybe you’ll even have some spare money.
There almost no chance of getting a job for a foreigner without previous experience and degree.
It’s gonna be fun though, you’ll enjoy living and studying in Moscow.