UNECON is one of Russia’s best business schools. Together with the beautiful and historical St. Petersburg, a semester here is sure to be unforgettable and to broaden your horizons.
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world and accounts for around 11% of the Earth’s land surface. Its size is reflected in the diverse vegetation and landscapes: Russian tundra, taiga and steppe, two million lakes, 120,000 rivers and streams, 40% covered by mountains, temperatures as low as -60°C in Eastern Siberia and on average 25°C in the Southern steppes. It also has polar bears, wild boars and Siberian tigers. It is scarcely possible to make any generalisations about multi-ethnic Russia. If we were to try nonetheless, we would describe the Russians, who have experienced tsars, emperors and tyrants throughout their rich history, as having a strong sense of home, being fatalistic and having an all-or-nothing mentality. Family is a core value, and collectivism is entrenched in the country’s history, though freedom to travel has seen this increasingly being replaced by more and more marked individualism, especially in the more educated classes. The collapse of the Soviet Union also witnessed a move away from the atheist state ideology of Marxism and toward religious values. Nowadays Christianity, particularly Russian Orthodox religion, and Islam are especially widespread, with just over a third of the population not belonging to any religion. The average life expectancy of a Russian man is just 59.3, which is attributed among other things to an unhealthy lifestyle (alcohol, tobacco).
The “Venice of the North” with its Baroque and neoclassical centre is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. St. Petersburg (5 million inhabitants) is the second-largest city in Russia after Moscow and is situated in the north-west of the country at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland. Once called Leningrad, the city was established in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great. Until the 20th century, it was the capital of the Russian Empire and seat of the Tsars. The city is influenced by Western civilisation. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with 2,300 palaces, castles and other splendid buildings. Its over 2,000 libraries, 200 museums, 100 concert halls, 80 theatres and the most famous ballet academies make St. Petersburg a hub of cultural activity. The changeable weather is typical of the maritime climate, but average winter temperatures do not drop below -8°C. The “white nights” take place around the time of the summer solstice, when it doesn’t get fully dark at night.
In 2012, the University of Economics and Finance, the University of Economics and Engineering and the University of Service and Economics grouped together and founded Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON). It is one of the largest and best business schools in the country and is situated in the heart of St. Petersburg at Gribojedov Canal near Nevsky Prospect. The lions that guard the bridge to UNECON served to protect the bank that the building once housed. Alumni include the CEO of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, as well as Armenia’s Prime Minister Tigran Sarjusyan and figure skater and 2014 Olympic champion Evgeny Plyushenko. Around 300 of the roughly 15,000 students are there on an exchange programme. They can take part in the regular lectures or choose from the English or German offering. Participation in a Russian course is mandatory. The International Office organises various different activities to familiarise international guests with the country and culture by means of trips, cooking courses or museum visits. In addition, the exchange students are collected on arrival and accompanied to the university. They start their studies with an introductory week.
UNECON has two student halls on campus, which also provide accommodation for exchange students. In the “8-ya lestnitsa” building there are mainly double rooms, all of which are furnished. Bed linen and towels are changed on a weekly basis, and internet is free. There is a kitchen, a bathroom, washing machines and a TV room located on each floor. One of the few single rooms costs around EUR 120 per month, while a double room costs approximately EUR 110. The “7-ya lestnitsa” dormitory has more single rooms, and they also have a small bathroom. You will pay roughly EUR 170, or EUR 145 for a bed in a double room.