Visiting Moscow

DO’s:

BASICS:

102journeyman_003033_c37Bring  euro/US dollars,   but  only  in new or relatively new   bills  or  they won’t  be    accepted for   exchange.       It is better to have bills in denominations of more than 20.You can change them in most   banks,    just look for the sign outside the building and watch the rates against the ruble. It is a good idea to bring  an   ATM/Debit  card to withdraw  extra  amounts  of cash, just be cautious of the ATM you use.

d3d3LmlubXNrLnJ1L2ltYWdlcy8zNDA3NS8zMS8zNDA3NTMxNTQuanBnRespect the metro. The incredible subway   system   in   Moscow   can truly be an inexpensive  and convenient blessing. However, the metro  can  also  be  the   set of   a pickpocket   of   fight .   Do  not     flash  money  in   the metro . Keep  your metro pass  separate.  Don’t    speak    loudly   or make a fool of yourself on the  metro .  It  is  considered rude.

studakWatch out for your documents. Some will say always carry your passport and visa. Others will disagree. But regardless, try to get an official copy of your passport and visa and always   show   that before showing the original. Be sure you have Xeroxes of your passport and Xeroxes — take several.   An   official  «Studenchesky Bilyet» or student card, will often suffice with the local enforcement. When going out, leave your passport and any cards (credit, insurance, ID, etc.) that you won’t need in a safe place. If you are robbed while out on the street you will have not lost everything.

055_10_2013Always have a back up. Try to have a back up plan for everything. Have extra money hidden on you and in your room for emergencies; bribes are a reality. Have a back up of local and international cards. That  way  you can always make a phone call. If you are at a bar late, save a little cash. In case you miss the last subway (it works till 1am), you will need to take a taxi. Always have important telephone numbers with you. You never know when you will have an emergency.

get_imgIn the right situation do not be shy. Be open to meeting all the Russians you can. Most Russians are truly warm and hospitable    despite    their normal   cold   and pessimistic attitudes on the street.

When in doubt, ask. Russians often assume you know what they want. This creates a discrepancy. Ask about house rules when you arrive. If you do not know how to do something, simply ask       someone.         Additionally, Russians show politeness by being vague and beating around the bush. If you are politely insistent, eventually, they will figure out that you really don’t know and will enlighten you.

 

Behavior (the unwritten codes):illus-149

• Boys should be aware that in Russia, men still pay the bill on dates.

• If you are wearing gloves, take them off when you shake hands.

• Shoes: bear in mind that you will be walking a lot. I mean a lot! Make sure that when you buy shoes, they are built for comfort. When you visit a typical home, you will be asked to remove your shoes and wear house shoes. So buy shoes that can be easily taken off and on, and have some nice shoes handy.

• Clothes: Pack dressier clothes than you normally would. Russian students get really dressed up for class (expect to see young men in full suits walking around your campus). Russians, especially women, pay attention to their appearance both at the market and at the club. Looking too casual identifies you as a tourist. Bring a long coat if you are traveling to Moscow in winter.

• Bring a gift if visiting someone’s apartment; chocolates or flowers (an odd number over 2 flowers and not yellow) are a good suggestion. (Even number of flowers is good at funerals only.)

• Ask Russians to take you shopping. People at the markets raise the prices when they see foreigners.

• Know that most young people have studied English and can help you if you get in a bind.

• Be polite to the people who you see everyday like security guards, etc. A little gift can grant you many privileges.

• Have some tea and sweets on hand. You never know when your Russian friends may pop in unexpectedly. Tea and sweets are a tradition to have for guests.

• Be hospitable: your friends will be offended if you do not invite them to be your guests. Try to see Russians at home and when invited expect to have a several course meal and drinks.

DON’TS:-v79vROtbnc

• Do not assume that everybody in Russia is ethnically Russian. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Russia. When talking to Russians it is appropriate to ask about their «nationality» and their customs and traditions different from the Russian.

• Don’t use ATM’s in the metro or on the street. There are many scandals with cards and pin numbers being stolen with ATM’s at these locations. Use the ones in the lobbies of hotels that cater to western businessmen where the ATM’s are usually guarded and uncorrupted.

• Don’t take a taxi alone at night. Avoid a car if it has anyone besides a driver. Know where you are going and sound sure of yourself when negotiating a price with the driver.

• Don’t be afraid to decline vodka. You won’t offend anyone. Just have a religious or health excuse ready. If you do drink with Russians, know that the bottle is usually drunk until it is empty.

• Don’t be afraid to try new food, customs, words or ask for help.

• Don’t expect people to smile at you. It is not customary in Russia, especially in big cities, to talk or smile at strangers, so don’t interpret this behavior as coldness or unfriendliness.

• Don’t expect everyone you meet with to be on time. Russians have different idea of timing.

• Don’t walk around alone at night.

• Don’t expect to eat different food in the cafeteria.

• Don’t stay in the dorm a lot. Your time in Russia will fly a lot faster than you think.

• Don’t expect European standards in public places like restrooms.

• Do not wear caps in the class rooms. This is unaccepted behavior at schools and any professor or teacher will be offended.

• Do not hesitate to open your soul to Russians. You will be considered a real friend.

Moscow has numerous coffee shops, concert halls, dance halls, theaters and other forms of entertainment. If you are willing to look, you will always find something interesting to do.