St. Petersburg is Russia's cultural capital, an economic capital, and Russia's "Window on Europe." For students interested in the arts, literature, or international business and politics, studying at St. Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON) is an easy choice.
Many international companies, both European and American, are represented in St. Petersburg. Together with its surrounding region, it produces 10% of Russia's GDP, second only to Moscow. St. Petersburg also boasts one of Russia's most innovative business atmospheres with the highest concentration of small and medium businesses in Russia.
You’ll also be surrounded by beauty and culture: canals weave through the city’s impressive mix of architectural styles, the largest art collection in the world can be seen at the Hermitage, respected conservatories and theatres abound, the settings and inspiration for countless Russian literary classics can be experienced, and some of the most cutting-edge music clubs in Europe call St. Petersburg home.
UNECON Location The UNECON campus is located on Griboedova Canal, just behind Kazansky Cathedral and about 5 minutes' walk from Nevsky Prospect. There is plenty of shopping, cafes, and attractions nearby and it is a very easy walk or metro ride to many of St. Petersburg’s most famous museums. The University is truly in the very heart of the city center.
Campus/Student Life Because UNECON is a large university, if you want to become involved in student life you will need to make a bit of an effort. Although foreigners are separated from the Russians in the dorms, the international department works very hard to integrate you with Russians. You will be assigned a "buddy" who will meet you when you first arrive and help you to get settled in. You may also want to look into joining clubs, finding and participating in campus events, and trying to make yourself approachable in general. Local students are typically very eager to meet international students, but you need to often make the initial effort yourself. If you are looking for inspiration to get out and explore, and if you excel at writing, you may wish to check out our Braver Grant.
Dorm Details Two dormitories are located directly on campus and both are in excellent condition. Free Internet (cable or WiFi) is available in the dorms and throughout campus. For other internet options in the city see our city guide. All rooms are singles or doubles. Kitchen and laundry facilities are available on each floor. Linens and towels are provided. If you have guests in for a short visit, they may be able to stay with you in your room, or another available room in the dorm if space is available. Students have 24-hour access to come and go to their dorms, but the security is strict for non-residents of the dorm.
Home Stay For a more immersive experience (at additional cost), our more adventurous students often elect to stay in a Russian home. It's not for everyone, but it is an experience! Limited availability. Note as well that students taking the subject matter courses at UNECON will have many of their classes in the evening, ending around 8pm and so this should be kept in mind in terms of commute since invariably home stays are not as central as UNECON and its dorms.
SRAS Support at UNECON Student support is carried out by locally-based SRAS staff as well as the staff the UNECON International Office, which is very active. Several excursions (free with most of our programs) are organized throughout the semester. Upon enrolling with SRAS, students receive a detailed guide with specific information about the university and surrounding area. All arriving students on SRAS programs are given a practical tour covering UNECON, how to use the local public transportation, and where to find the nearby shopping center. Local staff will also work with you to identify your specific interests and goals and try to help you connect locally and become involved in activities from volunteering to music lessons. This involvement is important to help you meet like-minded locals and immerse yourself culturally and linguistically. SRAS St. Petersburg Coordinators are always available by cell phone (most programs come with free use of a cell phone) to answer any questions, discuss any concerns, or help in the event of emergency.
University Facilities The UNECON gym is currently under reconstruction, but the international office has negotiated discounted rates with nearby commercial gyms and will help students sign up during orientation if they are interested. There is an ATM machine as well as a terminal for adding money to a local cell phone (most programs come with free loan of a cell phone). The University has an extensive specialized library and the International Office serves as a go-to for assistance in nearly everything from securing theater tickets to arranging a bus-trip to Tallinn.
Campus/Near-Campus Food There are endless options for cafes and eateries right outside the campus gates. Leading up to Nevsky prospect, the street is lined with cafes and fairly inexpensive eateries. Just across the famous Bank Bridge are several more coffee shops, restaurants and cafes. Walk just a bit further down the canal and you’ll run into Gorokhovaya Street, also full of cafes and eateries targeting the college student.
Summary: Pros and Cons
Pros: the university’s central location, diverse international student group, wide range of courses in English, strong student support services
Cons: lack of integration with Russian students, though they are on the campus with you; limited, but improving, focus on humanities electives, block scheduling/evening courses can be an adjustment.
Find out about all our St Petersburg based programs: