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Frequently asked questions

Questions about Russian classes
When does the placement test take place?

You should first take a written placement test online. For the placement live interview, we will send you the Zoom links to our placement sessions if you booked your course in St.Petersburg or Moscow; this interview should be attended at least a week before your arrival. In Irkutsk and Riga the oral placement interviews take place on site.

What time do I have to be at school on the first day?

9.45 am in St.Petersburg 

9.45 a.m. in Moscow

9.30 a.m. in Irkutsk

At flexible times in Riga

How do I get to school on my first day?

On your first day, you will be taken to school by someone from your host family. If you live in a shared apartment, just follow the instructions we sent you before departure.

What is my timetable?

You can find more information about the exact study times in our Student Handbook, which you can find in the download area.

Can I choose whether I want to have classes in the morning or in the afternoon?

If you book an individual course, you can have your lessons in the afternoon. All group courses usually start in the morning.

Can I change my assigned group?

Yes, if you feel that you are in the wrong group, please speak to your teacher who, after consultation with the staff, will arrange switching to a group of a higher or lower level. If we cannot find a suitable group for you, we will offer you an individual course with 75% of your booked group lessons.

Can I communicate with the teacher in German or English?

According to our teaching method, all lessons are taught exclusively in Russian. This is part of your immersion in Russian culture and will ensure that you progress quickly. Your teacher will timely sense if you don’t understand something and will find ways to actively involve you.

Can I use my laptop at school?

Yes, we offer powerful and free Wi-Fi at all our locations.

Do I have to pay for teaching materials?

Textbooks and copies are included in the course fees. Additional material can be purchased in specialised bookshops.

Will I receive a certificate at the end of my stay?

Only if you have attended at least 90% of the lessons booked will you receive a graded certificate in Russian issued by Liden & Denz, indicating the course type, course dates, number of lessons and level achieved.

Questions about arrival and travel
Can I get my visa for Russia or Latvia on arrival at the airport?

No, in this case your journey would end at the check-in counter in your departure airport. You can find more information on our visa page.

Can I travel by train?

In principle, yes, but if you want to travel to Russia by train from Western or Central Europe, your journey will most likely take you via Belarus. Find out about the travel formalities for this or other transit countries when planning your trip.

Where can I change money?

You won’t need cash in Russia or Latvia. Even the smallest amounts can be paid by credit card. ATMs are also widely available, of course.

How do I travel between St. Petersburg and Moscow?

Preferably by train! During the day with the Sapsan in just under four hours, at night in a comfortable sleeping car. Around 20 flights connect the two cities every day. The flight time  is approximately one hour.

How do I get to Riga?

Riga Airport (RIX) is easily accessible from most European hubs. Latvia’s Air Baltic also operates a good European route network. 

Train and bus are also an option. Latvian Railways offers connections to some cities in Russia, Estonia and Belarus. There are daily night trains to St Petersburg or Moscow and also fairly frequent trains to Tallinn and Tartu in Estonia.

How cold does it get in Russia?

The climate in St. Petersburg is similar to Scandinavia. In the short summer (mid-June to mid-August) temperatures can reach 30° C. Winters are generally cool and temperatures can drop below minus 20° C. St. Petersburg’s location on the Gulf of Finland moderates the summer heat somewhat and provides a cool breeze in autumn and winter. The climate in Moscow and Irkutsk is continental: cold in winter and hot in summer.

What is the weather like in Riga?

The weather in Riga is similar to Stockholm, probably a bit milder as the Riga Bay protects the city from the open Baltic Sea. The coldest months are January and February with an average temperature of -5 °C. In summer, Riga is warm and humid, with an average temperature of 18 °C (64 °F).

Does Russia use daylight saving time?

No. Moscow and St. Petersburg, which are both in the Moscow time zone, are two hours ahead of Central Europe in winter, i.e. CET+2. In summer, the difference is only one hour (CEST+1). For Irkutsk it is CET +7, and CEST +6.

Latvia uses European summer time and shares the time zone with Finland (CET+1).

Will my plugs work?

The standard voltage in Russia and Latvia is 220 volts. Ungrounded Western European plugs with two narrow pins fit into the local sockets. An adapter is needed for Swiss and Italian three-pin plugs and German earthed plugs.

Is there anything special I should bring?

The selection in the shops is now similar to your home, so just pack your luggage as if you were travelling to another European country.

Slippers: in both Russia and Latvia, people always take off their shoes at home and wear slippers instead. Small gifts for your host: a few souvenirs from your home country, such as chocolate, are always welcome. Power adapters can also be bought in Russia.

Where can I get a local SIM card?

Everywhere, but only if you show your passport.

Will I be picked up at the airport or train station?

No, unless you have booked a transfer with us. Be sure to download one of the popular taxi apps, as this is also a good way to get you from the airport to the city.

How much money do I need per week?

We have compiled some information on this topic in the Student Handbook, accessible in the download area of our website.

Can I get around by bike?

In Riga a resounding yes, in Russia you should be a little more careful. There are few bike lanes and Russian drivers are not very polite, to put it nicely.

Accommodation questions
How do you choose your host families?

We have a system with transparent selection criteria in terms of geographical location, cleanliness, room size, bathroom, etc. Our host families are adequately paid and have worked with Liden & Denz for many years.

How far is it from the host family to the school?

The maximum travel time to and from school is around 50 minutes in St. Petersburg and Riga, 70 minutes in Moscow and 30 minutes in Irkutsk. However, most host families are located close to the school.

Can I get accommodation in the historic city centre?

If you book early, especially for the summer courses, we will try to accommodate your wishes as much as possible. Living in the centre is certainly convenient. On the other hand, many central buildings have not been renovated for years. Staircases and courtyards often look worse in the centre than in the much greener residential areas, where the air quality is also generally better.

What do I get to eat?

You should be prepared to eat the everyday local cuisine. It contains little that you don’t already know, but be aware that potatoes, beetroot and cabbage are eaten in fairly large quantities in all our locations. Less green salad or fruit, as these are expensive, especially in winter and spring.

Ask when the family is eating and try not to be late. Tell your hosts what you like and what you don’t like. Please let them know if you want to eat out.

Is it possible to cook my own dinner?

Yes, you can book your host family with breakfast only. But please let us know when you make your reservation if you plan to cook your own food at your host family’s.

Can I drink tap water?

Tap water is not drinkable in Russia. Please drink only filtered, boiled or bottled water, which you can buy anywhere. Brushing your teeth with tap water is fine. In Riga, the tap water is drinkable.

Who will wash my clothes?

Your host family can do the washing and ironing for you for an extra fee. Alternatively, you can take your clothes to one of the many launderettes/dry cleaners in the city. Our office will be happy to give you more information. All of our shared flats are equipped with a washing machine, so you can do your own laundry there.

Can I change my host family?

You should accept your host family for the entire duration of your stay. If you have serious reasons for changing, you can of course do so. Please understand that you can only change your family on the weekend.

Other questions
What time do the shops open?

There are no general rules, except for alcohol, which cannot be bought after 10pm in Russia. Most shops and businesses open from 10am and close late in the evening. Many grocery shops and also some restaurants are open 24 hours. Many shops are also open on Sunday.

Where can I exchange money?

There are ATMs everywhere, but you will hardly need cash. You can pay contactless at all our locations and pretty much everywhere. You can also pay for bus or metro journeys with your mobile phone or card.

Are the streets safe?

Yes, very safe. After dark, we recommend taxis if you are travelling alone. Behave as you would in other major European cities.

Why are the bridges in St. Petersburg raised every night?

To allow passage for cargo ships on their way to Moscow or the Volga region. From the beginning of May to mid-November, all the bridges over the Neva are raised from about 1.30 am to 5 am. 

Can I contact the police if I get lost?

If you speak Russian, yes. Latvian police usually speak English, but in Russia you may meet an officer who doesn’t know any foreign languages.

Will I get a headache if I drink vodka the night before?

No, as long as you don’t mix it with other alcoholic drinks. Never drink beer after vodka! And eat something heavy with it.

Questions about internships
What are the fees?

The internship fee is EUR 250 in combination with a Russian language course (minimum 4 weeks in a group or 2 weeks in individual lessons) and EUR 500 if no language course is booked.

We do not charge any fees for internships at Liden & Denz.

Are there paid internships?

For legal reasons, internships in Russia are unpaid. You also have to arrange your own accommodation and sufficient insurance cover.

Where can I live?

Liden & Denz offers rooms in its own shared flats for a fee. However, it is not compulsory to live there.

How long does an internship last?

Usually between one and three months.

Is there a minimum age?

There is a minimum age of 21 for internships. However, some companies require a higher age. The maximum age is 30.

What is the minimum age?

A minimum age of 18 years old is required for internships and volunteer work. However, some host organisations do require a higher age. Maximum age 30 y.o.