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St. Petersburg, Russia
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St. Petersburg, Russia

Russian Area Studies

- Summer
- Fall
- Spring


Russian Language

- Summer​
- Fall
- Spring
- Year

Dear Participants,
Thank you for choosing the University of California Education Abroad Program. We hope that you will have an amazing experience abroad and will look back on it as a highlight of your UC education. For this program, UCEAP has partnered with CIEE. As a UCEAP student, the terms of your participation differ from students who are enrolled with CIEE independently or through another university. Be aware of these differences and understand your responsibilities as a UCEAP student abroad. You are concurrently enrolled at UC while participating through CIEE abroad. This means that the grades you earn while abroad will appear on your UC transcript as direct UC credit rather than transfer credit; that unlike other students in the program, you will pay your fees to UCEAP rather than directly to CIEE; and that you have UCEAP Travel Insurance, which will be your primary insurance policy while abroad.
Review and read the CIEE materials carefully. Follow all CIEE pre-departure and onsite information and instructions; for example, arrival dates and visa instructions. Write down the CIEE contact information and keep it with your passport in case of an emergency. 
Finally, you will have additional resources and contacts at UCEAP. The details of the separate and unique UCEAP elements of your participation are outlined in this short supplement. Be familiar with them before departure.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep all information in this guide updated and accurate, it should be considered in conjunction with program-specific correspondence, which may be more updated. There may be times when information relayed via such correspondence may supersede the online information. Students are responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides, and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad.
UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs whenever, in our sole judgment, local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.

While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.

Click a heading below to see section content.


Your first point of contact while abroad will be the on-site CIEE Resident Staff in St. Petersburg. Please review your CIEE Program Guide for contact information.

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).


While you will stay in close touch with the CIEE staff and the faculty in St. Petersburg, you will also need to keep a list of contacts on hand for the UCEAP Systemwide Office. The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs all over the world, and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. As a participant in the St. Petersburg program, you will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisor
Emma Holmes
Phone: (805) 893-4255; E-mail:
Program Specialist
Katerina Georgieva
Phone: (805) 893-4255; E-mail:
Academic Coordinator
Emily Stewart
Phone: (805) 893-4683; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Lauren Nestler
Phone: (805) 893-4683; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Samuel Shafer  
Phone: (805) 893-2648; E-mail:
Academics & Your UC Registration
As a UCEAP student in a program administered by CIEE, make sure you understand all of your academic resources, as well as your academic responsibilities. Remember that other students on the program will be bound to different home-university policies. Regardless of CIEE regulations, you must meet UCEAP requirements.
Read through the following guides now to know what sort of information is in each, and know how to access them easily when you have questions later:
  • The Academic chapter includes UCEAP academic regulations on unit requirements, information on taking fewer units than the program requirement, instructions on the MyEAP Study List registration process, changing courses, petitions, grades, and more. 
  • CIEE Program Handbook (available in your MyCIEE account "Readings" section)
    The Academics section in the CIEE Program Handbook outlines your CIEE academic program. Read this guide closely; you will be held accountable for this information, as well as UCEAP academic policies in the UGSA.
Who Should I Ask About...
  • UCEAP academic regulations/MyEAP Study List: UCEAP (email Emily Vallerga in the Systemwide Office)
  • CIEE St. Petersburg course specifics and concerns: CIEE on-site advisor
  • UC college or department requirements: your college or department advisor and/or campus EAP advisor
You have the additional resources of UCEAP staff in case of difficulties. The CIEE on-site staff should be your first contact for most issues, but remember if you have significant academic, health, personal, or financial issues that may impact your academic performance, be sure to contact UCEAP staff to discuss options and consequences.
Credit and Registration
Because you will be receiving direct UC credit rather than transfer credit, you will be concurrently enrolled with both CIEE and UCEAP. Completing your MyEAP Study List is the only way for your UCEAP courses and grades to appear on your UC transcript. Timely completion of your Study List is also a requirement of the Student Agreement you signed.

Registering through CIEE: Signing up for courses

  • You will complete a course pre-selection process in your online CIEE account. You will receive notification from CIEE when this pre-selection screen is available. At this time you will find out which courses are being offered for your term of participation. You will indicate your top choices and alternates in this online pre-selection.
  • Remember to be flexible, since exact offerings and timetables may not be available until after arrival.
  • There is a traditional add/drop period at the very beginning of the program. Once this period is over your course registration will remain final.
  • Take your UC department advisor’s name and email with you to contact regarding using any new course to satisfy particular department or college requirements. Neither CIEE nor UCEAP staff can assist you with questions about fulfilling home department requirements.


Registering through UCEAP: Entering your courses into your MyEAP Registration Study List

  • Immediately after your arrival, you will receive detailed instructions from the UCEAP Systemwide Office via email on how to complete your MyEAP Study List. It is critical that you read and respond to all e-mails regarding the registration process.
  • You will search the MyEAP course catalog to select existing courses taken by previous students in St. Petersburg and enter course information for new course offerings.
  • Include the correct number of units in UC quarter units (even for semester campus students).
  • The Systemwide Office reviews courses (especially subject areas and division) and finalizes Study Lists. Check your final Study List carefully, as it determines how your courses will appear on your transcript.
  • If you have concerns about meeting program requirements or other related questions, first consult the relevant sections of the Academic chapter of the UGSA, then contact the Systemwide Office if needed.


Russian Area Studies

Summer: You are required to take two courses totaling 9.0 quarter/6.0 semester UC units. As a UCEAP student you attend Session Two and Session Three only and you enroll in one course per session.
Fall & Spring: You are required to take five courses totaling 25.5 quarter/17.0 semester UC units per semester. You enroll in Russian Grammar, Russian Conversation, and three Area Studies courses.

Russian Language

Summer: You are required to take five courses totaling 15.0 quarter/10.0 semester UC units. You enroll in Russian Conversation, Russian Grammar, Russian Phonetics, Russian Culture, and one Elective course.
Fall & Spring: You are required to five courses totaling 25.5 quarter/17.0 semester UC units per semester. You enroll in Advanced Russian Grammar, Advanced Russian Conversation, Advanced Russian Phonetics, and two Elective courses.  


Pass/No Pass Policy

Russian Area Studies:

Summer: You may choose to take one course P/NP.
Fall & Spring: You may choose to take up to two courses P/NP.

Russian Language:

Summer: You may choose to take up to two courses P/NP.
Fall & Spring: You may choose to take up to two courses P/NP.  
You select your grading option though MyEAP and NOT through CIEE.
Most campus departments prohibit the P/NP grading option for any course in the major. It is your responsibility to be aware of your UC campus and department regulations, restrictions, or limitations regarding P/NP, and to plan coursework accordingly.
For more information on this policy, see the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Your grades will be transmitted to your registrar after the Academic Specialist has received your transcript from CIEE. UCEAP uses CIEE’s grading rubric when transmitting grades back to your UC campus. The grades on your UC record will appear exactly as they are on your CIEE transcript. UC grades are final and will not be changed unless an error has been made in the recording. It usually takes some time before the Academic Specialist receives the host university transcripts.
Summer grades are usually reported to your campus in late September.
Fall semester grades are usually reported to your campus in late January.
Spring semester grades are usually reported to your campus in late June.
You also will find additional detailed information on UCEAP Academic Policies in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Detailed information on handing money abroad can be found in your CIEE Program Handbook.
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget. Program fees are subject to change.

Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:

If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions.
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing or recreational travel abroad.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
  • Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
  • Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.


The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.


Pre-Departure Withdrawal Fees
Diversity at UCEAP
LGBTIQ Students
​Social intolerance in the Russia/CIS region is on the rise.
For the LGBT community, Russia is one of the most socially intolerant countries in Eurasia. The sentiment appears slightly more tolerant in larger urban areas, where attitudes typically change faster than in rural areas.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread, as harassment, threats, and acts of violence have targeted LGBT individuals. Small demonstrations in support of LGBT rights have regularly been dispersed, sometimes violently, by nationalists claiming to be defending traditional Russian values.

Personal Safety Tips

  • If asked, avoid discussing sexual orientation or preferences.
  • Do not engage anyone in conversations about sexuality or LGBT issues.
  • Do not publicly display affection under any circumstances.
  • Do not engage in any behaviors that may draw unwanted attention.
  • If harassed by police or any authority figures, immediately contact your diplomatic mission.
  • Avoid using the words “gay,” “lesbian,” “sex,” or other sexually related terms while using the Internet and writing emails.
  • Do not use the Internet to meet members of the LGBT community while in extreme risk countries. 
​For more information,
Students with Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation in Russia very different from the United States. While Russian law requires that most new public buildings and others with community space (e.g., shopping centers) be accessible for persons with disabilities, many older buildings are not required to meet these requirements.
Getting around in Russian cities and towns may be difficult at times since many sidewalks are narrow and uneven. Mobility is usually easier in cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, compared to smaller towns and rural areas. In general, public transportation is not accommodating to people with disabilities; this includes the Moscow Metro, which is generally not accessible to persons with disabilities.
UCEAP Insurance

Know Before you Go

While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy.  Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations. Read details in Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823.  It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis.  You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses.  For more information about the medical claim proces or about non-medical claims.
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance.  Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country).  It is your responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.

For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims Status

ACI at

CIEE Insurance

Know Before you Go

In addition to the UCEAP Travel Insurance policy (your primary coverage anywhere in the world), you will also be covered by the CIEE supplemental travel insurance (your secondary coverage) while abroad. 
If you have questions about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage, benefits, and claims, contact, ACI at
If you have questions about the CIEE insurance policy, visit  Or refer to your MyCIEE/Polaris account under the “Readings” section.
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities

​Medical care in most localities is below Western standards due to shortages of medical supplies, differing practice standards and the lack of comprehensive primary care. Those facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg with higher standards do not necessarily accept all cases.

Medical care in St. Petersburg can be expensive, difficult to obtain, and may not be comprehensive. Some facilities offer quality services, but many restrict services to normal business hours and/or to members or persons willing to pay for services in advance. Russian doctors often demand pre-payment for medications, x-rays, and supplies such as disposable needles. Acceptance of insurance in lieu of pre-payment is rare. Most patients pay in cash and apply for reimbursement from their insurance companies upon their return to the U.S.

Most hospitals and clinics in major urban areas have adopted the use of disposable IV supplies, syringes, and needles as standard practice. However, if you choose to travel to remote areas, you might consider bringing a supply of sterile, disposable syringes and corresponding IV supplies. Carry a prescription for these supplies.

We strongly recommend not to visit tattoo parlors or piercing services due to the risk of infection.

Physical Health

Know Before you Go

Inform yourself before you travel.  Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care.  Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
If you are sick or injured, contact the local CIEE staff immediately. 
Prescription Medications
Russia has very strict rules on the importation of medication. Russia prohibits certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs common in the United States. Large quantities of any medicine will receive scrutiny.

Narcotic and psychotropic medications (including their precursors) brought into Russia for personal use require a written prescription from the traveler's provider plus a notarized Russian translation of the prescription. Medications commonly carried by travelers, including some cold, cough, and jet lag medications (e.g., pseudoephedrine, dextromethorphan, zolpidem, diphenoxylate, modafinil), are included in this regulation.

Carry all prescription drugs in the original packaging.
The U.S. Embassy recommends all U.S. citizens carry a copy of their valid U.S. prescription(s) when entering Russia with prescription medication(s). Russian authorities have arrested and detained U.S. citizens in Russia because they were not able to prove they lawfully obtained their prescription medication in the United States.
If you are in doubt regarding the importation into Russia of a particular item, address specific questions to the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation via their website or email. Refer to important additional information below.


  • Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
  • If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries.  Note:​ If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it.  You must travel with a letter from your prescribing explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name. 
  • If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
  • Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.

Before Departure

  • If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program).  Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy.  It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
  • Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
  • If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
  • Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program.  Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
  • Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.

Traveling with prescription medications

  • Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is in liquid form, consult the US Transportation Security Administration., Traveling with Medications.
  • Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
  • Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.

Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary? 

If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor.  If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage.  The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.

Consult with ACI, Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.

Mental Health
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., discuss your UCEAP program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for going abroad.  For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.​

Your mental health is important to us all. Create a plan with your treating doctor. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.

You may feel homesick or sad. Feeling down, anxious, homesick, depressed or stressed might be your body’s reaction to the new environment and different life away from your usual support network. Don't cope alone.  Reach out for help to the local UCEAP program staff and your friends.  If you have been feeling unhappy for longer than a few days, or it is staring to affect your enjoyment of life and/or your studies, then you should see a doctor immediately.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration.  Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at
Health Risks

​HIV infection rates have risen markedly in recent years. While most prevalent among intravenous drug users, prostitutes and their clients, HIV/AIDS infection in the general population is increasing. Reported cases of syphilis are much higher than in the United States, and some sources suggest that gonorrhea and chlamydia are also more prevalent in Russia than in Western Europe or the United States.

Outbreaks of diphtheria and hepatitis A have been reported throughout the country, even in large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend up-to-date tetanus and diphtheria immunizations before traveling to Russia and neighboring countries.

Food Allergies
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies. 
Precautions to take include:
  • Research the local cuisine. Be aware that some popular local sauces may contain nuts.
  • Discuss the risks with your doctor six to eight weeks before departure to discuss your treatment plan while abroad.
  • Carry the medications you need to prevent an adverse reaction like antihistamines or epinephrine injectors with refills. Pack it in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. Your medication must be in its original packaging, with your name.
  • Have a letter from your physician to present to airport security that states your need to have the epinephrine auto injector with you at all times.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or tag with instructions for assistance in both English and the local language. Wearing medical identification at all times can help should a life-threatening reaction occur.
  • Tell others about your food allergy.
  • Carry a card written in English and the local language explaining what foods cause allergies and possible reaction. Make several copies in case you lose one. Be sure to have a native speaker verify that you have written everything correctly.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section.
Air Quality
Staying Safe
​Refer to important safety information in the CIEE Handbook and the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Minimize Risk
Crime & Prevention
​Following the staging of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014, Russia’s political, economic, and social climate changed markedly as a result of the country’s illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, ongoing support for military separatists in eastern Ukraine, U.S./Western economic sanctions, and a dramatic drop in the price of oil that significantly weakened the value of the Russian ruble. These aggregate events have greatly strained the U.S.-Russian bilateral relationship.
St. Petersburg experiences crime levels commensurate with other urban centers in Russia, Europe, and the U.S. The police are able to deter and respond to many serious crimes, but petty crimes occur regularly. The most prevalent crime reported in St. Petersburg continues to be theft; primarily petty street crimes (pickpocketing). Most of the reported incidents occur in high pedestrian traffic areas (train stations, public transportation terminals, markets, underground crosswalks, shopping malls, crowded restaurants, popular tourist areas).
Cyber & Technology
​The cyber crime threat in Russia is acute. Groups in Russia and China are believed to be the source of the majority of the world’s cyber attacks, malicious code, and hacking tools. The risk of infection, compromise, and theft via malware, spam e-mail, sophisticated spear phishing, and social engineering attacks is significant. U.S. businesses and private citizens should exercise all due caution and adhere to all cyber security best practices. In many cases, stolen credit cards are used immediately. Victims of credit card or ATM card theft should report the theft to the credit card company or issuing bank immediately.
Illicit Drugs
The Russian media report that the drug GHB is reportedly gaining popularity in local nightclubs, under the names butyrate or oxybutyrate. This drug can also cause amnesia, loss of consciousness, and/or extreme intoxication when mixed with alcohol, and death. The drug is typically in the form of a capful of liquid mixed with a beverage.
Read more information in your CIEE Program Handbook so you can adequately prepare for a safe experience.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates continue to be concerned by the steady number of racially-motivated incidents and violence against ethnic minorities. Racially-motivated attacks and hate crimes continue to occur in the city, with several high-profile incidents occurring in St. Petersburg in 2013 and 2014. These incidents involved assaults and violence that primarily targeted victims described as ‘non-Slavic’ or ‘Asian’ in their ethnicity.
Civil Unrest

Street demonstrations about social matters are prevalent. There are various political groups that hold regular rallies/demonstrations. The majority are peaceful and legal, although strictly limited and monitored by the authorities. As standard practice, the government expends considerable resources to control protests, through the deployment of barricades and police officers.

In St. Petersburg, protests most frequently occur in the area of the “Gostiny Dvor” metro station or at the Field of Mars, both in downtown St. Petersburg.

Avoid public demonstrations, whether properly authorized or not, and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Occasional peaceful demonstrations near the U.S. Embassy do not generally interfere with public services, but avoid them when possible.

Traffic & Transportation Safety
​Road traffic deaths in Russia are five times higher than in countries with the best road safety records in the world. One-third of car crashes in Russia are caused by speeding vehicles and close to 40% of all road fatalities are among pedestrians.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Vehicles have the right of way. Exercise great care near traffic, as vehicles frequently fail to yield to pedestrians.​
  • Pedestrian-only streets include Malaya Konnyushennaya and Malaya Sadovaya.
  • Safe pedestrian walkways are often lacking.
  • Look both ways before crossing a street.
  • Do not walk out between cars to cross. You may underestimate the traffic speed.
Intolerance and Harassment
​Incidents of unprovoked, violent harassment against racial and ethnic minorities regularly occur throughout the Russian Federation. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates continue to receive reports of U.S. citizens victimized in violent attacks by "skinheads" or other extremists. Exercise caution in areas frequented by such individuals and wherever large crowds have gathered.
Students most at risk are those of African, South Asian, or East Asian descent, or those who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be from the Caucasus region or the Middle East. Students are also at risk for harassment by police authorities.
Students with disabilities or overweight students may also experience difficulties.  Contact the local CIEE staff if, at any time, you experience any kind of harassment.
You are restricted from traveling to the north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, as the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens traveling in the North Caucasus region, including Mount Elbrus, as U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the region. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom. There have also been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russian citizens working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Having close contacts within the local population does not guarantee safety. U.S. citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately.
Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region. However, in the past several years, Moscow and St. Petersburg have also been the targets of terrorist attacks.
Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, and residential complexes, and on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights.
Extremist groups occasionally threaten to set off bombs in market areas of major cities operated largely by migrant workers. Large-scale public events also present an attractive target for terrorists. There is no indication that U.S. institutions or citizens have been targets, but there is a general risk of U.S. citizens becoming victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks.
Be aware of your personal surroundings and follow good security practices. Remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation.

Anti-American/Anti-Western Sentiment
The U.S.-Russian bilateral relationship remains strained due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and U.S./Europe-imposed sanctions, generating significant anti-American and anti-Western sentiment. In particular, anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric is widespread in both official media sources and on social media. Despite this strain, there were no incidents of wide-scale violence specifically targeting American citizens.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
​​Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
Fire Safety
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S. are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
  • Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.
  • Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
  • Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
  • Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
Russia has a poor fire safety record, with about 12,000 deaths reported in 2012.
Fire - Dial 101
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security provider, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its security providers, is covered by UCEAP itravel nsurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:

If you are in the U.S.

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.

If you are abroad

Carry the local emergency contact information at all times.
If you need immediate emergency assistance, call 112 for Police, Ambulance, or Fire Department:
Police .........................102
Ambulance ..................103
Fire Department ...........101
If necessary, call the emergency number of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow:

(7) (495) 728 5000


U.S. Embassy in Russia

American Citizen Services
21 Novinskiy Bulvar 
123242 Moscow
Phone: (7) (495) 728-5577
Fax: (7) (495) 728-5084
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.