A port city on the Neva River in the Northeast quarter of Russia, St. Petersburg is an up and coming city filled with countless internship opportunities ranging from blogging and social media to government and translating work.
So when should you look for an internship in St. Petersburg? Do you need a visa? What’s the work culture like? Browse this guide to get answers.
Before you start any applications, it’s best to decide what type of internship is right for you. Thousands of blogs emerge every day all searching for help with writing, social media, and coding. Companies are switching from paper to electronic opening up a whole new door for interns.
Along with blogging, sales and marketing internships are everywhere. Lots of companies in St. Petersburg are looking to expand their viewership and broaden their audience through social media and marketing.
If that isn’t the right path for you, there are other options within government departments in embassies or with the Russian government such as translating and IT departments.
There are even options in the hospitality department of one of Saint Petersburg’s 2,000 hotels.
Should you find an internship on your own?
Once you have picked the type of program you want to join, then it’s time to hit the computer to find the best company to go through. When going to Russia, a country with lots of rules and stipulations on foreigners working, it is always good to consider going with a company-sponsored program.
When should you apply for an internship?
If you are still a student or recently graduated it is best to apply before the end of the school year, around April or May. Because most programs vary in start dates most of them will accept applications year-round. This being said, hiring seasons will range from September-October and December-January.
Planning Your Trip
How much does it cost to intern in St. Petersburg?
St. Petersburg is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Rivaling Paris and New York, St. Petersburg, although not as expensive as Moscow, is ranked in the top five most expensive cities to live. And seeing as most internships have the potential to be unpaid, you’ll need to make sure you’ve saved up enough living expenses for the duration of your internship.
Cost of living is going to vary person to person, however, living in the city center is always pricier than living a bus ride away, and sharing an apartment is even better.
A 3-bedroom apartment outside the city center is about 900 USD, split 3 ways your monthly expense was just cut in thirds. Utilities, rent, and groceries (excluding a few nights out and shopping trips) you are looking at around 600 USD per month.
What’s the work culture like in St. Petersburg?
St. Petersburg is the most “western” city in Russia, meaning its culture and work life is similar to western cultures -- though still uniquely its own.
When it comes to the work force life is very serious, blunt, and there is not much physical contact during a standard workday. The economy has taken a turn for the better and there is always a strong work ethic present within the Russian people.
Despite the stern and aggressive reputation, this culture ends at the days end. It is said that the Russians are calm and relaxed and never in a hurry. Life in St. Petersburg is very stress free.
Do I need a visa?
A stereotype of Russia that will hold true is the difficulty to obtain a visa to get into Russia. Although there are ways, it is strongly advised to find an internship through a program that provides sponsorship or invitations to come into the country.
For stays under 30 days a tourist visa is required. For longer stays a study visa is required, an internship, paid or unpaid, falls under this category.
All visas must be applied for and obtained before getting on the flight to St. Petersburg. If you do not have one with accurate dates of arrival and departure they have the right to turn you away. Going through a sponsored program, all of this paperwork and visas will go through them and most likely be hassle free—besides a lot of paperwork to fill out.
Although the winters are harsh and the rules of getting into the country are harsh, the people, summers, and views are definitely worth it. Living in a city as vibrant and booming as St. Petersburg will not only boost your resume but also provide a new look into a new culture. Don’t worry, I’m sure you can still find a place to buy the iconic fur hat.