As in Moscow, Language Link in St Petersburg has a prime location right in the heart of the city. The school is situated just off Nevsky Prospect, behind Kazansky Cathedral. The metro station Nevsky Prospect is a few minutes' walk away. Language Link has renovated two floors of a former factory building, and all the classrooms are modern and well equipped (although the courtyard still leaves a little to be desired).
Shopping - St. Petersburg shops are well stocked. Food is quite cheap. There are 'produkti' shops on every corner that sell meat, fish, cheese and other groceries. There is an increasing number of Western-style supermarkets in St. Petersburg. There is a 24-hour supermarket ‘Perekrestok’ at metro Sennaya Ploschad which is about a 10-minute walk from Central School. There is an increasing number of western-style shopping malls and hypermarkets around the city.
For clothes and electrical goods expect to pay the same as the west, sometimes more if they are imported goods. Any cut-price Versace items that you happen to buy are likely to be fake. Speaking of fake, Russia is the world's second largest market for counterfeit CDs, DVDs and computer software. Of course, we do not recommend that you buy anything that is in breach of copyright laws, even if CDs do cost around $4 each!
Souvenirs can be obtained from one of St. Petersburg's flea markets. There is one on Konyushennaya Square opposite the Church of the Spilled Blood. This is very popular amongst tourists. You can also get some souvenirs cheaper in Gostiny Dvor.
Eating, Drinking and Dining - St. Petersburg's plethora of places to eat and drink continues to grow, with new spots appearing at regular intervals. The range of cafes and restaurants encompasses cuisine from all over the globe. In addition to Russian, Ukrainian, Armenian and Georgian restaurants there are Mexican, Brazilian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Indian, Uzbek, Korean and many other restaurants.
Eating out is generally quite cheap but is becoming increasingly more expensive. A good meal and drinks can currently be had for $20. Some noteworthy restaurants and cafes are:
Krokodil, Ul. Galernaya 18, metro Sennaya Ploschad. European food, quiet, laid-back atmosphere, 25 types of whisky!
Subway, Nevsky Prospect, metro Nevsky Prospect. The good-old American sandwich a 5 minute walk from Central School.
Shinok, Zagorodny Prospekt 13, metro Vladimirskaya. Ukrainian theme restaurant with folk dancing and singing. The salo (salted pig fat) washed down with a glass of peppered vodka is a must!
Zoom, Gorokhovaya Ul, metro Nevsky Prospect or Sennaya Ploschad. Good variety of food at reasonable prices located very close to Central School.
Idiot, Nab. Reki Moiki, 82, metro Nevskiy Prospekt. A vegetarian place, something of a rarity in St. Petersburg. Interesting decor which strives to create an atmosphere of 1920s kitsch.
Antalya, Bolshaya Morskaya Ul. 24, metro Nevsky Prospect. Delicious Turkish food at reasonable prices.
Olivia, Bolshaya Morskaya Ul. metro Nevsky Prospect. Large portions of Greek food, not badly priced, in a cosy environment often with live music.
Whether you prefer traditional Russian cooking or a more international menu, there is plenty to choose from in the vicinity of central school. A convenient Russian 'stolovaya' (canteen) type cafe serving good value Russian fare is located in the Herzen University Hostel, just across the road. In 'Gostinyi Dvor' there are snack bars and canteens. Also within walking distance are Russian restaurants Samovar, Krokodil and Chas Pik; a Chinese restaurant called Don Juan; the Mocco club and the Atrium serving European food; and a branch of Pizza Hut.
Coffee House, Republic of Coffee and Idealnaya Chashka are popular choices for a quick coffee- or tea-break. Nevsky Prospect and the area around it offer plenty of bars to choose from too, but there is not space to list them all here, so we recommend exploring for yourself. Some of the restaurants mentioned above double up as bars.
Keeping fit - Further down Kazanskaya Ulitsa from school is a gym called Planeta Fitness, which has been frequented by previous Language Link students.
Internet - Access to the Internet is readily available throughout the city. There are countless Internet cafes in the city. If you have your own Laptop, bring it! Connection is not so expensive here as in the UK and free wi-fi is becoming popular in some cafes now. It is also quite easy to set up an internet connection in your apartment. Please bear in mind that you are responsible for arranging and paying for this.
Safety - St Petersburg is no more dangerous than any average Western city, although pick-pocketing can be a problem in tourist areas and the metro. Common sense is your best weapon to avoid problems during your stay. Main streets are well lit, but yards and side streets may not be. Be on your guard, don't carry obviously expensive items openly and use only official taxis at night. In the event of an emergency, you should contact one of Language Link's Russian office staff. People of darker skin tones should be aware that they may face some verbal harassment, as racial intolerance is sadly common in Russia.
Russian as a Foreign Language
Language Link St. Petersburg
St Petersburg 191186
Tel: +7 (812) 315-60-60
Fax: +7 (812) 315-60-60