If your mission is to learn Russian, your first stop should be St. Petersburg.
Did you know St. Petersburg is considered Russia’s cultural capital?
The city was once home to Russian royalty, and many buildings can attest to this.
Voted as one of the best places to visit in the world on TripAdvisor, St. Petersburg offers hundreds of museums, cathedrals, monuments and gardens, ensuring you’ll never get bored.
Plus, if you come in the summer, you can experience a natural phenomenon called White Nights, during which the city never goes dark.
While you can certainly learn Russian from the safety of your own home with flashcards and Russian textbooks, visiting a country where the language you want to learn is spoken is the most effective and fastest route to fluency!
Furthermore, when choosing between destinations in Russia to learn the language, St. Petersburg should be one of your top choices.
Let’s see why.
Why Learn Russian in St. Petersburg?
- Immerse yourself in a unique culture. St. Petersburg served as Russia’s former capital before Moscow took over that title, and is still the second largest city in the country. It’s home to one of the most famous museums in the world, the State Hermitage Museum, in addition to many other interesting landmarks that give St. Petersburg its unofficial status as Russia’s most “European” city.
- Hear a unique brand of modern Russian spoken by natives. When learning Russian by reading language learning blogs, reading books or using translator apps, you don’t have the ability to hear real, modern-day Russian as it’s spoken by natives. Since St. Petersburg is a big city, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hear Russian as it’s actually spoken, while also hearing distinct words and pronunciations used in this part of Russia.
- Pay less. While many tourists head to Moscow first simply because it’s the capital, it’s also one of the most expensive cities in the world! You may find that St. Petersburg, on the other hand, depending on when and exactly where you go, offers a more affordable experience when it comes to Russian courses, accommodations and food.
How to Get the Most Out of Learning Russian in St. Petersburg
- Learn the history of the city to impress natives and put your best foot forward. The natives of St. Petersburg are extremely proud of their history, culture and heritage! When approaching people on the street for help with directions or trying to make friends, impress the natives with your knowledge of the city’s vast history.
- Pretend to be an actual Russian and speak only in the language. Not everybody who visits or moves to St. Petersburg learns Russian as well or as fast as everybody else. Many Russian people here speak English, which gives tourists an excuse not to practice their Russian. To get the best learning experience, pretend to be an actual Russian and commit yourself to only speaking in Russian!
- Put yourself in different situations to maximize your Russian word bank. Order in Russian restaurants, ask questions in museums, frequent bars and make your own appointments to make sure you utilize different words and phrases and maximize your vocabulary use.
All of these actions can be a bit daunting, and before you even think of doing them, you’d want to be properly prepared with your Russian language skills. Luckily, FluentU can be your handy-dandy study resource to do just that.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
You can learn on-the-go wherever you may be in the streets of St. Petersburg and gain some useful vocabulary that you could use in real conversations!
Lastly, you’ll also benefit from committing to a Russian learning program. Here’s where to go to find some of the best!
Where to Learn Russian Like Royalty in St. Petersburg
Liden & Denz
The Liden & Denz Intercultural Institute of Languages has taught Russian for academic, professional and leisure purposes since 1992. The school offers six different levels of Russian fluency, from beginner to advanced. There are different course options, including:
- Standard group – 20 group lessons per week
- Intensive group – 25 lessons per week
- One-on-one classes – 15 lessons per week
- One-on-one classes – 20 lessons per week
You can also do a combined group/individual course or further customize the number of individual lessons.
This school uses a communicative approach so that students can learn real expressions used in modern Russian, but learn through a systematic grammatical process. This doesn’t just leave you with a bank of Russian words, but gives you the ability to group them together to speak the actual language.
Liden & Denz helps students apply for a Russian visa by providing them with an invitation letter; additionally, the school helps students secure internships and work experience in Russia.
The Derzhavin Institute was founded with the help of Russia’s largest museum, the National Pushkin Museum. They serve as an official TORFL testing center and are accredited by EAQUALS (Evaluation & Accreditation of Quality in Language Services).
The teachers at Derzhavin provide an opportunity for students to not only learn the Russian language, but immerse themselves in Russian culture.
They offer a variety of courses, such as group and individual classes, and focus on different topics, such as business, tourism, Russian newspapers and fairy tales. They also offer classes for expatriates.
The staff at this institute can help students with visas, accommodations and money transfers, as well as provide help with acquiring an internship or work experience.
Saint Petersburg University (SPbU)
This is one of the oldest universities in Russia, originally founded by Peter the Great in 1724. Currently, SPbU is one of the largest schools for learning Russian in St. Petersburg, with over 150 language instructors committed to this goal.
They offer two types of courses: general and short term. General courses are held over a 4-week period, and provide 80 hours of studies. They’re best suited for high school graduates and college students to help them learn the language and culture.
The short term course is 1-3 weeks, and is designed to help students improve their language proficiency, specifically listening and speaking skills.
The university provides housing accommodations for foreign students at their halls of residence, which are furnished, and have multiple facilities and features like laundry equipment and ATMs for your convenience.
Operating since 1989, EducaCentre offers Russian language classes to those who need it for business purposes or just for fun. The classes run all year long, and students are able to join any week throughout the year.
There are individual and group courses, in addition to intensive and online classes. The group classes have a maximum of four students, allowing for a small group environment and collaboration.
The EducaCentre helps foreign students with visas as well as with finding a place to live (with a host family, in a hotel, apartment or bed & breakfast).
Extra Class is a language school that created its methodology based on its book, Поехали! (Let’s Go!), which has sold over 100,000 copies around the world. It provides innovative teaching techniques to help students learn modern Russian.
At Extra Class, the Russian immersion classes are run by teachers who use motivating and effective techniques to teach Russian grammar. You’ll be encouraged to listen, speak, read and write while discussing current topics and events.
Extra Class will even send a driver to pick you up from the airport!
ProBa Language Centre
ProBa Language Centre was established in 1995, and offers academic courses of Russian language for foreigners and intensive language practice. They offer year-round courses for all levels, focusing on pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, speaking, reading, writing and listening skills.
The school recommends its programs for senior students (ages 50+) who want to learn Russian.
They also offer a cultural program with sightseeing, museums and shopping as well as visits to areas outside of St. Petersburg and other Russian cities.
So come visit the old residences of famous Russian rulers, and immerse yourself in culture while learning Russian!