Sunday, January 24, 2010

Integration into Russian society

Would it be possible for me, an outsider, to, over time, become accepted by the Russian people? I'm not saying I expect to be accepted as one of your own, but just to be considered another person, friend etc there. I really hope to be accepted as a person there and not "the outsider".

My second question was: as I said, I want to go into writing when I have finished my education, probably as an author of books or something in philosophy, perhaps reporting if those two are not doable, but my main area that I really aspire to do well in, is teaching. I was wondering if there would be a lot of acceptance for a person like me with that kind of job, and whether I would generally be successful in your country with something like that.

asked by Darryl, UK

Dear Darryl,

I always believe that majority of our problems, when we are trying to settle down abroad, are related to a simply bad communication or absence of knowledge of local "communication codes". So I'll try to list the most important ones.


It is true that integration process if not easy in any country even if you think that you know a lot about traditions and people. But I will not be very original indication the main key for integration. Knowledge of RUSSIAN language will be the most important key on your way of being fully integrated into the society.

This applies to any country, but for the one like Russia where according to the State statistics only 5% of population speaks English, knowledge of Russian will open you many doors..including those of human hearts ))))

Another key would be the TIME. Once again in order to be accepted by the'll have to spend your time with them )))). It seems obvious but as a long-term expat I have to admit that the most obvious things are the most difficult to handle.

It is always very tempting to stay close to the expat community which is welcoming and understanding....but if you close yourself with those who are just like you, you'll arrive to the point where people around you will be complaining about "complicated Russians" while doing nothing to break the fence they created around themselves. (P.S. I have met a friend who in order to integrate had purposely cut all communication with compatriots to the strict minimum and in several years was completely adapted to the local life)

It is true that people are different but when you hit an inevitable low point of your stay in Russian it is important to remember, that it was YOUR choice to come to Russia and it is up to you to make a bigger effort.

I always found Russians rather friendly and loyal as friends...but would not deny the certain idealization of the Western people.

Another success key would be asking people questions or advice when you don't understand something. Don't suppose that you can get it yourself and don't hesitate. Usually, they 'll help...or at least one of them will ))) And that might help you to meet a new friend.

Now to answer your second question....

I really don't know what to say. Teacher is always a demanded profession....but being a writer of philosophy books ???
The success of this project, I am afraid, wouldn't depend on the place of your residence, but on the content of your work.


Hope I answered your questions. So please don't be discouraged or demotivated if you found my advises hard to follow. I am sure that you won't be disappointed coming to Russia.

Besides, the good thing is that you won't be alone, trying to integrate the Russian society. As you could see from the listed below charts there will be officially at least 10 0000-12 000 people (from non-CIS countries) per year who would ask themselves the same questions.

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