Student Guide to YA in Moscow 200809

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Student Guide to YA in Moscow 200809 Powered By Docstoc
					Department of German,
Russian and Slavonic Studies

  Study at Moscow State Lomonosov University (MGU)
           Centre for International Education
               Student Guide 2008/2009
1.     Moscow State Lomonosov University
Moscow State Lomonosov University (MGU) was founded in 1755 and is Russia's oldest university.
The Centre for International Education, (Центр международного образования МГУ or ЦМО),
formerly the MGU Preparatory Faculty charged with preparing foreign students for entry into the
various faculties of Moscow University, specialises in Russian language tuition for foreigners.
Russian students do not study at the Centre. Tuition - all in Russian - is provided in small groups by
experienced staff at the Centre's premises on Krzhizhanovskogo Street. The Centre has access to
hostel accommodation within easy reach of its teaching buildings.

2.    The courses

We have sent Leeds students to TsMO for intensive courses in Russian language and culture for
over ten years and have a well established link. The intention is to enable you all – A-Level entry and
beginners - to return from Moscow at the end of the session at roughly the same heightened level of
grammatical competence and oral fluency. Upon arrival there will be an informal test of your
language ability according to the results of which you will be assigned to a group. This arrangement
is flexible, however, and it is possible that groups will change throughout the year. You will probably
study from 10am to 3pm, 4 days a week. (The Russian 'academic hour' lasts for forty minutes, and
two 'hours' are usually run together to make a 'pair' lasting one hour and twenty minutes each.)

The course will essentially concentrate on language work and will emphasise oral comprehension
and fluency combined with grammatical competence. The programme will also provide courses in
Russian literature and Russian civilisation (history, culture, politics and contemporary society).

The dates for the coming 2008/2009 session are from:

1 September 2008 to 14 June 2009 (term dates: 1 September – 21 December 2008;
12 January – 14 June 2009). These are the term dates you should give to your LEA.

3.    Accommodation
Hostels do not come directly under the jurisdiction of the Centre, but you can book accommodation in
advance through the Centre. The best hostel is on Shabolovka, just a couple of stops down the Metro
from the Centre (Metro: Profsoyuznaya). At Shabolovka, en-suite single and double rooms are
available, complete with washing machine, fridge-freezer, cooking facilities, TV, telephone, etc.
Current charges range from $118 per person per month for a shared room to $236/month for a single
room in a two-room apartment sharing bathroom and kitchen with one other person. Rent is paid
monthly in advance on registration in Moscow. It is also possible to obtain a room in the main building
of Moscow University. Here accommodation is a bit more expensive than at Shabolovka (currently
$130 per person per month for a shared room), yet the rooms are smaller and there are no luxuries
such as TV or washing machines. However, there is more immediate access to Russian students.
Many students arrange accommodation with Russian families in town, but this is best negotiated on
the spot once you are in Moscow. You would, therefore, be best advised initially to book a room in a
hostel so that you have a roof over your head when you arrive. The average rate for a single room in
town in 2005-06 was $200-250.

4.       Visas and police registration
The Centre has its own International Office, and on receipt of your information from Leeds (and
completed TsMO application form for students from outside the UK), it will issue you with an official
invitation sent to the Department at the end of July. If you are studying in Russia for the full academic
year, you will need to send this invitation together with your passport and your completed visa
application form to the Russian Consulate in London in early August. If you are studying abroad in
another country for the first part of the academic year, special arrangements will need to be made for
you to obtain a visa. Items needed for your visa application include:

    Passport (valid for at least 18 months from the date of entry to Russia)
    Invitation from TsMO
    One recent passport size photo
    Completed visa application form
    Health insurance certificate
    AIDS certificate
    Postal order for visa fee made out to the Russian Consulate

The Russian entry visa issued in this country will be valid for one month only and will need to be
extended by TsMO's International Office in Moscow for the full period of your planned study. The
International Office will also assist you to obtain re-entry visas should you decide to come home for
Christmas. The Office will also assist you to obtain your exit visas at the end of your period of study,
but do make sure that you apply for an exit visa at least three weeks before your intended departure

5.       Getting your Russian Visa
This is the most important thing for you to do as soon as you receive the invitation.

Allowing at least 3 weeks for your application to be processed, you must send your application
to the Visa Section of the Russian Embassy by Special Delivery, enclosing all the items indicated on
the enclosed checklist. The address is as follows:

Embassy of the Russian Federation, Consular Department, Visa Section,
5 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4QS
Tel: 0906 550 89 60 (all calls cost £1 per min.)

For more up-to-date information visit the Embassy website:

You must keep your visa in a safe place, as you will need it, or the replacement you are issued with
by the International Office of TsMO, when you leave Russia.

6.       Travel
By May/ June you should all have finalised your travel arrangements and have booked and paid for
your tickets, unless you have examination re-sits. Colleagues at TsMO will meet you at the airport in
the area the other side of customs clearance and take you to the Hostel. This year our postgraduate

student, Nick Record, will also be travelling to Moscow on 4th September and will accompany
students on their first few days in Moscow.

If there are any last minute changes, please immediately inform the Department.

7. Medical matters and insurance
There is a reciprocal health care agreement in force between the UK and Russia but it only provides
for emergency treatment in state hospitals, and you will have to pay for any prescribed medicines.
You must, therefore, take out health insurance before you leave. The Russian Consulate will want to
see a copy of your insurance certificate before issuing your visa. You should take out insurance to
cover loss of personal effects. Try to find a policy that covers homeward and return journey in the
event of death or severe illness of a close relative. It is very important to be well covered. Check with
your LEA to find out whether you are entitled to reimbursement of health insurance costs. The
University offers a competitive rate of insurance. You can find details at

You must have a health check before you leave (get the doctor to sign the certificate provided by
the Department), and do make sure you visit your home dentist for a thorough check up. It is
essential to let Mrs Bogoslavskaya know as soon as possible if you suffer from any ailment that will
need regular treatment in Moscow. The Russian authorities are currently insisting on all foreign
students being able to provide a certificate stating that they are free of the HIV virus, so you'll need to
have an AIDS test done before you apply for your visa.

If you need to take any special medicines, it is highly desirable to get a letter from your GP explaining
what they are for. Have the letter translated into Russian to show at Russian customs if need be.

Medical kits: We recommend you take a sterile medical kit and a transfusion kit, in case you need
treatment in a hospital. You should be able to obtain these through a pharmacist or medical centre.
In addition, take a small first aid kit with basic dressings and plasters.

We strongly advise you to register with Dr Iain McDonald of the British Embassy Medical
Centre, as soon as you get to Moscow.

Practice address in Moscow:

Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya 10
Moscow 121099

Work Tel +7 095 956 7270
Work Fax +7 095 956 7446
Work Email

8.      Packing

General: Moscow shops tend to be better stocked than shops in the provincial cities, but you can’t
count on finding what you want when you want it. Also, note that many items which make for a
convenient and comfortable life can be quite a bit more expensive than in Britain, so get stocked up
before you go. Give yourself enough time, and avoid leaving it till the very last week!

The following list may look like a catalogue of all your earthly belongings, but it is compiled on the
basis of other students’ experience in past years and the experience of members of staff.

NB The normal weight allowance for luggage per passenger is 20 kilos. (This generally excludes
hand luggage. Please check with your airline). Hand luggage should not be too bulky and should be
easily stowable under seats or in the overhead racks. Excess baggage can cost over £6 per kilo!

MEDICAL                               FOOD & EQUIPMENT

First aid kit                         stock cubes, herbs and spices
                                      packet soups and pasta meals (for the 1st day)
paracetamol                           tin opener and corkscrew (or Swiss army-knife)
elastoplast                           1 non-stick saucepan/frying pan (you can buy more pans
                                      in Moscow)
vitamin pills                         powdered milk, curry powder, Marmite
insect repellant & cream
dioralyte (treatment for diarrhoea)
water filter


money-belt (to be worn inside         personal security alarm
clothes)                              good supply of black & white matt finish photos
neck-pouch                            padlock for suitcase/cupboard
alarm clock                           sellotape
solid waterproof shoes and/or         small supply of plastic bags, string, Blu-Tack
flip-flops (essential for showers)
towels (at least 2)                   contact lens fluid, if needed
shaving equipment/hair drier as
necessary                             information about/pictures of your family, home,
toilet roll (for travel)              town, Leeds University
                                      up-to-date guide book(s)
one smart outfit                      Eng-Russ, Russ-Eng. dictionary (share one between two
jeans, t-shirts                       or three?)
sweaters                              In addition to the dictionary, you should also have ready
warm overcoat                         access to A Comprehensive Russian
fur hat/woollen ski-cap               Grammar by Terence Wade (Blackwell)
gloves and scarf                      address labels (to send to family/friends in UK from whom
thick socks                           you want to receive mail) with your address in Cyrillic
summer clothes for May-June
(the temperature in May-June          You might also find instructive and amusing the following:

can reach 22-28°C or, more              E Roberts: Xenophobe’s guide to the Russians (Ravette
rarely, above 30°)                      Books)
plug adaptor (for wide-set, thin,       I Slatter: Simple etiquette in Russia
two-pin continental plugs)              (Paul Norbury Publications)

NB: Bedding, including sheets and duvets/blankets, etc, will be provided by the Hostel.

9.      Financial matters
It is, of course, very important indeed in Moscow to keep your money safely and to get access to it
easily - without allowing other people easy access! Take advice at your own bank before your
departure, and do this sufficiently early to allow for setting up suitable banking arrangements between
your home branch and Moscow. We strongly advise you not to open an account with any Russian

Once you’re in Moscow, money can be transferred to you by certain agencies, especially Western
Union, but be warned that they charge quite a high rate for performing this service! They do have a
reputation for efficiency, though.

You are strongly advised to give your parents (or other chosen close relatives) what is called
‘power of attorney’ in relation to your bank account, and to do this before you set off for
Moscow. This means that they are empowered to act on your behalf in case any financial
emergencies or other problems arise.

Entrusting ‘power of attorney’ to someone is an effective way of ensuring that they can look
after your interests (e.g. helping you to avoid having to pay overdraft charges or else
detecting whether sums of money have been drawn from your account without your
knowledge). This reduces significantly the risks involved in banking in a foreign country.

10.      On arrival in Moscow

On arrival in Moscow you will need:

    to present to the Centre your passport and visa for registration purposes;
    a health certificate confirming that there are no medical reasons why you should not study in Russia for a
     full academic year.
    a document indicating that you have taken out appropriate medical insurance;
    a document stating that you are free from the HIV virus: the certificate should be dated within about one
     month of departure. You will also need a copy of this certificate to send with your visa application.

As your period of study at the Centre exceeds five months, you may be required to undergo an additional
physical examination at the medical centre of Moscow University.

You will also be required to:
 observe Russian law and to comply with all the visa registration rules established for foreign citizens.

   attend classes, to do all the written and preparatory work required of you, and to observe the normal codes
    of conduct for students of Moscow State University.
   inform the University of Leeds and the Centre for International Education in writing if for any reason you
    withdraw from the course.
   reimburse the Centre for any material damage caused to its property at the end of your period of study.

11.    Living in Russia
If you take sensible precautions, Moscow is as safe (or unsafe) as Leeds or any other large Western
city. In their reports, students frequently write of the contrast between the dire warnings (like this
one!) they receive before leaving for Russia, and their actual experiences while there. Nevertheless,
unpleasant incidents do occur, and you should do what you can to avoid them by:
 locking away your money, passport etc or carrying them with you in a zipped inner pocket, body
    belt (worn under clothes); locking your case, bag etc.
 being alert in public transport and on the streets, not going out alone at night - this applies
    especially to women - and never getting into a taxi with other passengers already inside; never
    accept a lift in a private car and do not use private cars instead of taxis
 avoiding undue eye contact, not drawing attention to yourself
 taking care not to dress in a provocative manner, or in any way which will draw attention to the
    fact that you are a foreigner
 carrying a personal security alarm
 always observing local laws
 not frequenting the haunts of petty criminals and Russian 'mafia' types
 not engaging in rowdy behaviour anywhere - what you interpret as 'innocent fun and games' will
    certainly be otherwise perceived by the 'authorities': any damage to hostel property will have to be
    paid for

Drink, Drugs and Other Activities...

You must remember that:
 being drunk on the street is an arrestable offence
 drug taking, buying or selling, anywhere, is illegal and the penalties are severe; mere possession
  can bring prison sentences of up to five years.
 until recently homosexual activity was illegal in Russia and attitudes towards it are still far from
 although racism is forbidden in Russia, racial prejudice and anti-Semitism flourish in the current
  climate of free expression; black and coloured students have suffered verbal abuse and
  occasionally even physical harassment; the conflict in Chechnya has further contributed to racial

If, for any reason, you come into conflict with the law, this must immediately be reported to
the authorities at TsMO and to the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies in Leeds. You
must make sure you make a written record of events as you perceive them as soon as
possible after they occur.

12.    Travel outside Russia, and inside...
The recent tendency has been for visa regulations of all kinds to be tightened in the Russian
Federation. There is no reason to expect this process to change in the near future. You must make
sure that you register with the Russian police and with the British Embassy. TsMO will take care of
the first, the second is your responsibility.

Travel to former republics of the Soviet Union
If you wish to travel to the former republics of the Soviet Union you will need two double visas: an exit
and re-entry visa for Russia and, depending on the republic visited, probably an entry-exit visa for
that country too. Before making any trips you must check the current visa regulations at the embassy
of the country concerned. The International Office at TsMO should also be able to give you advice,
certainly of a preliminary nature. The Office will need to approve your application for a re-entry visa to

Travel home
If you wish to travel home for Christmas, you will similarly need approval from TsMO in order to
validate your visa for re-admission to Russia. Notice of at least three weeks before departure from
Russia will be necessary - check the precise period in good time.

Inward visits from friends and relatives
Here too the regulations are gradually getting back to their traditional pattern of more rigid control.
Anyone coming to visit you as a tourist must apply for a tourist visa and complete the necessary
procedures. Check the current requirements and allow lots of time - a month at least. You will not be
allowed to put up visitors in the hostel.

Moving about the Russian Federation
As always in Russia, there is a considerable difference between what is officially required and what is
locally tolerated. To avoid hassle later, it's usually safer to err on the side of compliance and proper
preliminary preparation for any trip you might wish to make. Technically, you must be registered with
the Russian police who will record your place of residence. In the first instance this will be your

Theoretically you are not permitted to reside anywhere else - unless you have your place of
residence officially changed with the police. When travelling to other cities for more than three days,
you should also register with the authorities. (If you stay in hotels, this will be automatically done for

If you decide to travel to other cities and go by train, then it is best to book places in the open
carriages (плацкартный вагон) rather than in the separate, four-bunk compartments (купе). This is
by far the cheaper - and safer - option, but staff at ticket offices tend to try and persuade foreigners to
travel in the more expensive four-bunk compartments. Don’t let yourself be bullied into accepting
those. Travel by train is an excellent way to get to know the country: Russians are ever ready to
share their food with you, and - budding novelists, please note! - you will be surprised at their
readiness to give you, a stranger, their complete autobiography too. You could find yourself with ten
or fifteen hours of completely free Russian conversation practice!

Just in case any emergencies occur when you are travelling in the former Soviet Union, you
are most strongly advised:

(a) to travel with at least one other person,

(b) to let the office staff at TsMO know your expected itinerary before you set off.

13.   Communications
This has never been easy with Russia at the best of times. At present, however, it is easier than it
has ever been in living memory, but letters can still take anything from five days up to three weeks or
more each way. Parcels can take longer and have to be collected from the international post office
where duty has to be paid. On no account should money or other valuables be sent by post. It may
be possible to receive faxes at TsMO, and you will be able to send and receive e-mails at one of the
many internet cafes. Telephone calls are expensive - slightly cheaper from private numbers than from
the post offices. SIM cards are cheap. You can also buy telephone cards to be used from private

Your friends and relatives can use Telediscount to ring you in Moscow. At present the number they
have to dial is 08444 620 620. You don’t need to wait for all the explanations to finish. Dial 007495
+Moscow number and press # button. Calls to Moscow with Telediscount cost 2p per minute.

14.   Tuition
Teaching programmes will concentrate on language work, but will also provide courses on history,
literature and culture more generally. Shortly after your arrival your language competence will be
tested, and on the basis of this test you will be divided into small groups for teaching. Expect a
certain amount of movement between these groups in the course of the year.

The staff at TsMO have asked us to emphasise that the whole of the first term’s language teaching
will be devoted to drills which are essential to iron out mistakes in pronunciation and grammar. They
fully understand that some students may find this boring, but we all believe it is absolutely necessary
to enable you to proceed to much more interesting and complex topics in the second term.

Tuition will be in the main TsMO building on Krzhizhanovskogo Street, two stops down the metro
from the Shabolovka Hostel. You are expected to attend all classes. The teachers will be keeping a
record of your progress and attendance and reporting back to Leeds at regular intervals on your

In addition to the help you will receive from your teachers, we would encourage you to seek help from
other native speakers of Russian, but do be warned that both criticism of and praise for your efforts
should be treated with caution because, unfortunately, many native speakers are not linguistically

While in Moscow, you will be expected to do a certain amount of reading. You will also be expected
to purchase certain of their in-house materials for regular class work at the Centre. In addition, you
will be working on your individual project (see separate sheet).

15.    The project

Choose a topic which is of interest to you-for example, a politician’s profile, a political party, aspects
of Russian culture and life (theatre, music, art, museums, the life and experiences of a Russian
family, education, health, etc), a social phenomenon such as homelessness, unemployment, poverty.
Use your imagination!

It is a condition of passing the Year Abroad that you submit a written outline plan of your
project to the Year Abroad Tutor in January (year abroad students) / mid-way through the
semester abroad (term abroad students)
The project file must consist of the following:
   1. For a bare Pass mark we require a minimum of 6 items of source material, e.g. newspaper
      articles (with dates and titles), internet resources, transcripts or recordings of TV or radio
      programmes, typed analyses of questionnaires in Russian or interviews conducted by the
      student, Russian realia such as theatre programmes, pamphlets, leaflets, etc (in all cases use
      material with dates where possible to show evidence of continuous work.) The more material
      you include, the better is your chance of improving your mark.
       At least half of this source material must be in Russian.
       At least two different types of resource must be used (e.g. newspaper articles plus
       questionnaire). However, variety will be rewarded.
   2. Two pieces of independent creative written work in Russian, in response to source materials
      (e.g. questionnaire analysis, summary of a series of articles or programmes, imaginary letter to
      newspaper editor). These should be between 350 and 500 words long.
       This must be your own work. Your tutors at TsMO may advise you on choice of topic and
       where to acquire materials, but they must not correct your written work. The usual
       university regulations on plagiarism apply.

Please consider the presentation of your project file. A clear layout and a table of contents is

The presentation

On your return to Leeds, you will be expected to hand in your file to be marked by the end of the
second week of Semester 1 and also to give a presentation in Russian on your chosen topic, lasting
approximately 8-10 minutes. This will take place 3 or 4 weeks into Semester One of Level 2, and at
the latest by Reading Week. Dates will be confirmed on your return.
You will be expected to use visual aids (e.g. OHP, slides, videos, posters) in order to illustrate your
You may speak with the aid of short notes, but you must not read a pre-prepared text of your
You will be provided with separate guidelines and criteria to help you prepare your presentation. The
presentation must not duplicate the written work you put in your project folder (e.g. you may
not learn by heart written work you put in the project) but it will of course be concerned with the same
topic and will most likely draw on or summarise your project work.
A short question session on your topic will follow.

The project and presentation will be assessed as follows:
The project file will comprise 60% of the overall study abroad mark; the oral presentation will
comprise 40% of the overall study abroad mark. This overall mark will make up 25% of your
Semester One mark of Practical Russian Language Skills 2.

16.    Credits for the year abroad

            Distinction                 Pass                                         Fail
            Satisfactory completion     Merit                Pass                    A fail in (1) and
            of all four points listed   Satisfactory         Satisfactory            one other of (2)-
            for award of credits        completion of the    completion of the       (4) constitutes
            below;                      points listed for    points listed for       failure of the year
            a minimum overall mark      award of credits     award of credits        abroad. There is a
            of 70 for the project and   below;               below;                  special August re-
            presentation;               a minimum overall    an overall mark of      sit in Leeds,
            An excellent report from    mark of 60 for the   40-59 for the project   consisting of a
            TsMO tutors.                project and          and presentation.       written paper and
                                        presentation.                                an oral.

Award of credits for the year abroad (enabling students to proceed to Level 2) are dependent upon
the following. Students must:

(1) Satisfy the examiners in Moscow, passing all the examinations and tests set by TsMO with a
grade of 3 or above.
(2) Submit a written outline plan of their Residence Abroad project to the Department in January (or
midway through the semester for those spending a semester abroad).
(3) Attend a minimum of 70% of classes run by TsMO. This includes all classes for the Practical
Course in Russian Languages, plus at least one seminar course of your choice.
(4) Receive a satisfactory report from TsMO on conduct and work.

A fail in (1) and one other of (2)-(4) constitutes failure of the year abroad. In the case of failure
there is a special August re-sit in Leeds, consisting of a written paper and an oral.

Exceptional performance during the year abroad will be taken into consideration for borderline cases
when deciding final degree classifications.

Joseph Fotheringham Prize
This prize is awarded in consultation with TsMO tutors to the student who has obtained the best
results during the year in Russia.

17.    Aims & objectives of the Year Abroad

During this part of their degree programme, all students will be expected to:

      make substantial linguistic progress, over a wide range of registers, in respect of the target language;

      face the linguistic, intellectual and psychological challenges of living in another country;

      acquire a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the target culture;

      strive to develop the social/personal/transferable skills necessary for gaining maximum benefit from
       living in a different community;

      seek to enhance their future employability by familiarizing themselves, when appropriate, with the
       world of work within the target culture, or by reflecting on the utility of skills that they are acquiring while
       living abroad for their future employment.

In the case of JH students having their Year Abroad arranged by a school outside of MLC, satisfy the
requirements of the partner school.

18.    Pastoral visit(s)

A member of staff from Leeds will be visiting you while you are in Moscow to oversee the teaching
process and to deal with any problems that might arise in the classroom, the hostel or elsewhere.
The precise timing of the visit(s) has yet to be confirmed, though we expect these to be in around
October and April.

19. Money
You will be paying for your accommodation (direct to the hostel authorities or to your landlord/lady)
and for your day to day living expenses in Moscow yourself. You will, therefore, need to have ready
access to money while you are there. If you take money with you, this is best done in US dollars in
small denominations or in traveller's cheques. Note that your dollars should be clean new notes, not
torn, folded or written on, otherwise they may be refused by the banks. Traveller's cheques are
safest, but they can only be changed at a limited number of places. Cash points for Visa cards,
American Express etc. are increasingly common in central Moscow, so make sure you increase your
credit level before you leave. Life in Moscow can be as expensive as living in London, but if you try to
avoid living exclusively on Western products, you should be able to get by on $50-60 a week. Many
Leeds students in Moscow find part-time work, mostly teaching English.

20. Useful addresses
TsMO, Ulitsa Krzhizhanovskogo 24/35, Building 1, Moscow 117259, Russia
Tel: (00 7 095) 124 8188, 124 8488    Fax: (00 7 495) 125 4461

Shabolovka hostel: Shabolovka 36, Moscow 117419, Russia.

Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT. Tel: +44
(0)113 343 3285 and fax: +44 (0)113 343 3517.

Emergency University contact: Tel +44 (0) 113 343 2222

Year Abroad Contact e-mail:

Russian Consulate, London: Embassy of the Russian Federation, Consular Department, Visa
Section, 5 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QS. Tel: 0207 229 8027

British Embassy Moscow: HM Embassy, Smolenskaya Naberezhnaya 10, Moscow 121099,
Russia. Tel: (00 7 095) 956 7200; fax: (00 7 095) 956 7440.

Advice for travellers to the Russian Federation:

Remember that students who were at TsMO last year would be happy to give you advice. You will be
able to communicate via the Year Abroad blog,, through
Facebook, and via email with your Peer Mentors.

May 2008


         School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Department of German, Russian and Slavonic Studies
                               University of Leeds
                                   Leeds LS2 9JT

                               Tel: 0113 343 3285
                               Fax: 0113 343 3517



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