Please mind that your body might need some time to adapt to a new environment just the same as your mind. Chemical composition of air and water, climate and food in St. Petersburg are very different from your country. Do not panic if you feel weak, have moderate headaches or intestinal disturbances during your first days or even weeks in new country.
Thanks to central heating system, in the winter, the air in the average housingoften becomes excessively dry. Do not panic if your skin becomes itchy and/or flaky and just try using baby cream first.
Focus on eating simple foods, drink more water and give yourself enough time to sleep well. However, if those symptoms are lasting for longer or deteriorate over time, do not hesitate to ask for help.
Healthcare & Insurance
All international students are obliged to have a medical insurance. No healthcare services except for emergency cases will be provided to non-Russian citizens without medical insurance. You may get one at your home country (make sure it will be valid in Russia) or purchase one upon arrival (average price is ~4000 roubles for 12 months). Purchase insurance in any insurance company of your choice or contact International Student Support Office (ISSO) to get specific guidance (online purchases available).
If you need urgent medical assistance follow instructions from your insurance policy. Non-urgent medical or cosmetic manipulations are available at private clinics for the fee designated by the clinic.
In emergency cases call 112 or contact ISSO via 24/7 emergency phone line +7-911-229-46-79. Upon calling declare your name, current location and emergency type.
We are all humans and humans are very fragile creatures, sometimes levels of stress are just too much for all of us. Moving to a new country, adapting to new environment and studying hard could be very challenging for any of us.
HSE – Saint Petersburg offers our students unique option of free professional psychological sessions. Check the schedule (offline and online options are available):
To schedule an appointment follow the link
When we enter a new community and a new culture, we have to adjust to a new way of life, build new routines and adopt new behavior patterns. Sometimes it may lead to a strong emotional stress often referred to as “culture shock”.
Culture shock might be tricky – after entering a new culture students might even experience the opposite feeling, euphoria. Everything may seem new, exciting and interesting, as people tend to focus first on the visible aspects of culture – food, clothes, sceneries. However, when so-called “Honeymoon” stage ends, students might become less excited and start to feel alone, uneasy, sad or even depressed after spending some time in a new culture.
Additional symptoms of culture shock might be the following:
- Frustration or anxiety (mood swings);
- Extreme tiredness or insomnia;
- Extreme homesickness;
- Glazed stare;
- Excessive concern over cleanliness (everything around seems “dirty”);
- Compulsive eating or loss of appetite;
- Idolizing your own culture and criticizing your host culture etc.
Please mind that these feelings are normal and will decrease with time. However, here are some tips for faster recovery and transition to stability:
- Exercise frequently. Go for walks and/or do something outside. Explore your surroundings, be a tourist and see as much as possible;
- Keep an open mind and try to learn from your new culture versus criticizing it;
- Try to make local friends so you could ask questions about the culture and get involved;
- Get involved by joining clubs on campus (see section Student Life)
- Do not hesitate to ask for help at the International Office.
With time, you will adapt to the new culture, develop your own new routines and will be able to navigate through the culture successfully.