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Russia is one of the most geographically and culturally diverse countries. You can find everything here: mountains, plains, forests, steps, lakes, rivers, and seas. Russia is equally rich in history and traditions, and has a deep cultural heritage of art and music.

Extracurricular courses are part of teenage life, including attending art or music school, swimming lessons, working out at the gym or taking a language course. Skateboarding, roller-skating and bike riding are popular, too.

People & Community

Most exchange students are placed in small towns in the western part of Russia up to the Ural mountains or in the south, close to the Black Sea. You could also live in the north in Surgut or in Vladivostok in the far east. Families in towns and cities tend to live in apartment; single family homes are more common in rural areas. A babushka anddedushka (grandma and grandpa) play a special role in the family.  Weekends and holidays may be spent at the family country cottage, called dacha.


Most Russian schools are public. The school year runs from September to May, with three short vacations in between. Many Russian schools specialize in math and science, and some schools offer extracurricular classes in dance, music, or sports. As an exchange student, you will get a personalized schedule from your school.


The official language is Russian, with another 27 official regional languages and over 100 minority languages. If you are lucky, you can learn one of these languages too on top of Russian. Your host family probably won’t speak foreign languages, which will help you improve your language skills very quickly. You don’t have to know Russian to apply for the program. AFS Russia will offer you an intensive course when you arrive and a language course throughout your stay. By the end of the program many AFS students pass the exam in Russian at the university and get a State certificate (B1 level). Also, Russians like using idioms (popular local phrases or sayings) and if you learn some of them, they will be very impressed!


Hot meals three times a day defines a typical Russian diet. Soup for lunch is a must. Most meals include pork, chicken, potatoes, dumplings or noodles. Pastries and sweets are often eaten for dessert. Tea and coffee are both common, but tea has a special place in Russian culture. Don’t forget to taste pizza and sushi, Russian style!

Eligibility Requirements

The AFS Semester program offers you a great opportunity to live and study in another country for a period of 6 months. On the AFS Student Exchange program, you will be provided with an exceptional intercultural experience. This program will suit you if you really want to learn a new language and feel a part of a local community.

Semester program is only open to Form 5 students.

Spend a semester living with a host family, attending a local high school and getting involved in your host community.

Inclusions: Placement with host family, Enrollment at a local high school for the duration of the program, International Airfare, Airfare Management, Visa guidance and advice (Visa application submission and cost is student’s responsibility), Domestic travel in your host country to your host family, Medical Insurance (Exclusions apply), 24/ 7 World wide support network, Arrival and departure orientations.

Visa Information: Please note that most semester program destinations do require you to have a visa to participate in a school-based program. Visa costs and application timeframes vary by destination. Please make sure you budget up to an extra RM500-RM1000 for potential visa costs as this is not included in the program fee. AFS sends all visa information to participants upon acceptance to the program.

AFS programs are based on school and family life and note that tourist travel can not be a priority.

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Meals
  • School Placement
  • Individual Contact Person
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Domestic Transport
  • School Transport
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Visa Application Assistance
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Re-entry Orientation
  • Teaching Materials
  • School Materials
  • Access to Alumni Network
  • Continuous Support

What you are responsible for

  • Vaccinations
  • Cultural Tours
  • Language Instruction
  • Visa and Passport Fees
  • Grade Transcripts
  • School Diploma
  • Project Materials
  • Stipend