Life as an Indian Student in Russia

Life as an Indian Student in Russia


Medicine is a profession that by its very nature, is challenging and time-consuming to get into and even harder to hustle to survive and make a successful career out of it. Yet, no one can debate the point that it is also one of the most reputable and rewarding professions in the world. But, the students who decide to pursue MBBS abroad have to come across some further challenges that can be daunting to handle and overcome if the students don’t prepare well. Hence, we bring you this blog that covers all about life as an Indian student in Russia: cultural differences and adjustments that students have to face while studying MBBS in Russia. 

Russia and India, these two countries may have distinct cultures and traditions, lifestyles, and economic conditions but there are a few similarities too that are interesting to discover. International students can have opportunities to explore that and find a middle ground to adjust to the new environment. Russia offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that can be explored during one's free time. This way, students will be able to develop new perspectives and personalities that will be helpful in their careers. So, even if life as an Indian student in Russia can be challenging, it can also be a valuable and enriching experience. With the right mindset and preparation, Indian students can prosper in Russia and make the most of their time there.

Russia is one of the top-most study MBBS abroad destinations due to its subsidized cost of education, innovative resources, modern infrastructure, great campus, excellent teaching faculty, and placement opportunities. The Indian government has established various financial schemes to aid students pursuing higher education abroad and the Russian government already subsidizes the tuition fees for international students pursuing MBBS in Russia. This further reflects the cordial nature of both countries. Hence, Indian students don’t have to worry about being the odds as there are over 10,000+ Indian students already studying in Russia. The Indian student community is welcoming, helpful, and resourceful to other students and they take care of each other by organizing counseling sessions, recreational groups, and student support groups within the campus. You can contact such communities online as they’ve significant social media presence. 

Life as an Indian Student in Russia

Cultural Differences between India and Russia: 

Point of difference




Majority is Hinduism 

Majority is Christianity 


Cows are sacred animals

Beef is a staple food


22 official languages

Russian is the only official language


Warm and tropical

Cold and snowy


spicy and flavorful dishes

hearty and filling meals

Food habits

Mostly vegetarian

Mostly non-vegetarian


  • Language Barrier: 

While the medical universities in Russia teach the MBBS program entirely in the English language, there are still a majority of people who speak Russian. So, the universities offer international students with language classes as part of their curriculum so that they can navigate through daily life in Russia smoothly, communicate with locals and travel around without any hindrance. Thus, leading a great life as an Indian student in Russia. 

  • Food and Dietary Habits: 

Indian students may find the taste of Russian cuisine bland and tasteless as it is hearty and meat-based and not spicy and flavourful like most of the Indian dishes that the students are used to. Some Indian students are also vegetarian so it is difficult for them to adjust to the new dietary habits in Russia. Hence, some of the leading medical universities in Russia provide facilities of Indian mess making life as an Indian student in Russia more comfortable. 

  • Climate Differences: 

India is a country that experiences typically warm and tropical climates but witnesses almost all four seasons throughout the year- summer, winter, fall, and rainy. On the other hand, Russia experiences cold and snowy winters and warm summers that are still cool towards the Arctic coast. Hence, life as an Indian student in Russia belonging to the Southern region and some parts of Central India may find it difficult to adjust to the cold and chilling weather. 

  • Social Customs and Etiquette: 

Indian culture is known for stressing the sense of belongingness and respect for elders while Russian culture values individualism and self-expression. Life as an Indian students in Russia who come from a background where they’re dependent on their parents and had constant support and guidance from elders are sure to find it difficult to cope with the new social construct of Russia.  

Adjusting to Life in Russia as an Indian Student: 

The first and foremost thing that Indian students must work on is the language barrier. Like it is mentioned above in this blog, students may have the MBBS program in English language but to navigate your life in Russia, it is important to at least learn some basic phrases and expressions while communicating with locals and understanding the requirements of patients in their clinical rotation period. Hence, Indian students can enroll in language courses offered by universities or seek private tutors for more personalized learning. 

Most of the students who wish to study abroad have this desire to explore different cultures and travel to different places, meet new people, and have new experiences. Hence, if Indian students wish to experience that along with their studies then there is no better place to start than Russia because the country is rich in culture and history, and has produced some of the most renowned personalities in the field of art, music, literature, and science. Russian medical universities organize various cultural events, and museum visits, exploring art galleries and prominent historical destinations to promote their culture and spread awareness. Students can also join student associations and groups to socialize with other students and make a lifetime of memories. Indian students may also receive support and guidance to adjust to the new life in Russia. 

Challenges Faced by Indian Students in Russia:

  • Cultural Shock: Indian students may face language barriers, social differences, eccentric food habits, and contrasting climatic conditions while studying and living alone in the country which can be overwhelming for them. 
  • Academic Stringency: The education system of both countries differ in several aspects especially when it comes to such a prestigious degree like MBBS. Hence, it can be challenging for Indian students to keep up with the workload and academic performance for the first few months early on in their academic year. 
  • Homesickness: Russia and India have significant distances geographically and thus, it results in feelings of homesickness and loneliness when you’re living away from your friends and family in an entirely new environment, independent from all the facilities and familiarity the students are used to, it may also have severe effects on academic performance and health of the students. 
  • Financial Constraints: Even when the Russian government takes care of MBBS tuition fees by subsidizing it for international students and offering scholarship opportunities; living and studying abroad in Russia can be expensive if the students don’t plan their expenses wisely and consciously track their traveling and commute expenses. Hence, it is advisable for Indian students to learn to make a monthly budget, track expenses, and savings, and find resources where they can earn some extra bucks by working remotely (if need be). 
  • Discrimination/ Xenophobia: There are all kinds of people everywhere in this world. With good, comes evil too. Hence, although Russian locals are welcoming and inclusive towards Indian students and international students generally given the ratio of international students keeps accelerating every year but students may face discrimination here and there due to prejudice towards ethnicity, skin color, or religious beliefs. This may affect their confidence and lead to social anxiety and affect their overall well-being. In that case, seek help from support groups and local police. The students can also talk to a therapist. Indian students must develop a strong sense of self and keep constant communication with their loved ones and learn to prioritize what’s more important. 

Coping Strategies for Indian Students in Russia:

  • Seek Support: The best possible way to cope with xenophobia, discrimination, or any sort of social evil is to speak up and communicate about your experience and feelings. Indian students must seek help from the university’s student welfare body, counseling services, and student organizations. These services can offer proper guidance to cope with the problem and help with resources to navigate these challenges. 
  • Engage in Social activities: When students are faced with cultural differences leading to something like xenophobia, they tend to isolate themselves which is the absolutely wrong way to go about it. Instead, students must build connections, explore opportunities where they can make friends they can relate to, and share their struggles and feelings with, and expand their social circle to experience a sense of belongingness. 
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Life as an Indian student in Russia can be challenging anyway even if you don’t face any severe social discrimination. Adjusting to new places and people can be exhausting if not stressful resulting in poor diet and neglecting health problems. So, one must be conscious to not neglect their health and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and sleeping properly.
  •  Learn Russian language and culture: The best way to feel a sense of belongingness in a new country is to learn about the language and culture as much as you can. Indian students can enroll in language courses and attend cultural events to learn about Russian culture and traditions, lifestyle, and language. 
  • Stay connected with family and friends: Regular communication with friends and family via video calls, messages, and social media can make a significant difference in your mood, and mental health and provide much-needed emotional support, and eradicate homesickness. 
  • Practice Self-care: Engage in hobbies and self-care activities such as meditation, yoga, gardening, etc. These activities will help students to prioritize their mental health and control their stress levels leading to a fulfilling life as an Indian student in Russia.  


In conclusion, Indian students must be proactive and have a strong sense of self to lead a good life as an Indian student in Russia. Studying abroad is exciting but challenging as well. We have discussed in this blog- there are challenges, discrimination, and xenophobia that students may have to face from time to time but there are resources available in Russian medical universities to help students cope with such challenges. All students have to do is be vocal about their needs and be ready to face any problem head-on as the very aim of studying abroad is to come out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves with new adventures and experiences. 

By seeking support from their university's international office, engaging in social activities, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, learning the Russian language and culture, staying connected with family and friends, and practicing self-care, Indian students can successfully navigate the challenges of studying abroad in Russia and make the most of their study abroad experience. Overall, studying MBBS in Russia can prove to be a great experience where Indian students can learn about new cultures and people, experience living independently and become responsible adults apart from becoming highly-skilled and knowledgeable medical practitioners. 

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