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Russia is a vast country and expats are mainly found in Moscow and St Petersburg. For newcomers to the country the pace and way of life, not to mention etiquette and cultural differences, may present a challenge not previously encountered and it can therefore be very helpful to gain an insight from other expats into how the country functions. Online expat groups and forums can prove a very useful source of information.
Expat groups generally are not country specific and consist of individuals from all over the globe. There are a number of Russia forums that cover a wide variety of topics and are a valuable source of information.
A comprehensive list of a range of forums and activities open to everyone living in Russia can be found here https://expat.ru/index.php the site covers a range of subjects, such as restaurant reviews, real estate and schooling for expat children. Visitors to the site can sign up for regular newsletters and inside information provided by other expats.
https://www.expatica.ru/ also offers an expat forum and information on a number of issues that might affect expats in the country. Meetup.com facilitates the organisation of various indoor and outdoor activities of possible interest to expats, helping them to socialise and develop a circle of like-minded friends in the country.
Expatwomen.com is a website dedicated to females who have either come to work in Russia or have accompanied their spouses and now need to build up their own circle of friends and connect with women in the same situation. The website supports a number of links to various websites such as the British Women’s Club, Damas Latinas, the International Women’s Club of Moscow as well as the Moscow International School and many more.
The American Women’s Association of Moscow (https://awomoscow.org/) is a social club for women living in Moscow. It arranges regular lunches and coffee mornings as well as fund raising events for community outreach groups. The AWCS also arranges seasonal parties, events for special interest groups and outings and tours. It welcomes all women living in Moscow and is offered to women of North American countries, including Mexico, and offers affiliate membership to women from other nationalities. A membership fee is charged on an annual basis.
Some of the expat groups in Russia are well established and a lot can be learnt from their websites, although it has to be said that perhaps because there are not as many expats to be found in Russia as in many other countries, the choice of expat groups is not as wide as in many other parts of the world.
Many foreign nationals might draw comfort from the knowledge that they are not the only expats in Russia and can easily make contact with other individuals in the same situation. It is important, however, that expats do not forget that the experience of living in any foreign country is enhanced by stepping out of one’s comfort zone and discovering culture, way of live and all other aspects of daily living while in the midst of it. The knowledge gained by finding out for one’s self the challenges living in Russia can present for someone not familiar with the country’s customs and ways of life are just as much a part of the whole experience of coming to live in Russia as meeting new people via an expat group. The insights gained by a newcomer who is not afraid to explore can then perhaps be shared with members of one of the expat groups already established. Alternatively, there is still plenty of scope in Russia for an expat to set up a new group.
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