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Spend a year living with a host family and attending high school in Russia and you’ll have the opportunity to experience life in one of the most geographically and culturally diverse nations on earth! At school, at home, and with your friends you’ll be totally immersed in Russian culture. You’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn a critical language and gain an intimate understanding of this fascinating and complex society.

Things to know

Russians love to speak in idioms and if you learn some of them, they will be very impressed! Many common language expressions feature references to Russia’s rich literary and cinematic history. You’ll probably find that most Russians are very open and will talk frankly about a wide variety of topics. Be prepared for your host family to always be concerned that you’ve had enough to eat. It’s a sign of love!

Eligibility Requirements

Current high school students and recent graduates are eligible. Specific age requirements may apply; contact AFS for more details.
Must be in good academic standing (recommended GPA of 2.5 or above).

Your journey to Russia

Your adventure will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet up with your fellow AFS students and attend a brief orientation covering some important basic information that you’ll need to know for your first few days in Russia. Next you’ll travel as a group to Moscow, where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.

Soon you’ll be off to meet your host family. Along the way you’ll get to see some of Russia’s beautiful landscape. Russia is twice the size of the United States and is made up of many different regions and ecosystems. You might see massive rivers, deep freshwater lakes, wild plains and tundras, and forests. You may also see people working outside in their vegetable gardens and old men sitting in the park playing chess.


Meeting Your Russian Host Family

You could live anywhere in Russia but it probably won’t be in the big cities. AFS students mostly live with families in small towns in the western and central parts of the country. Many Russian families have a country cottage that they go to on the weekends, where they’ll spend the days working in their gardens, fishing, and hiking.

In urban areas Russian families tend to be on the smaller side, with only one or two children. Out in the country the families are larger and people often live in the same house as their grandparents. During your time with your host family you can expect to be treated like a member of the family and help out with the same types of projects that you’re used to at home.


Settling into daily life in Russia

Teenage Life in Russia

Socializing with your friends will probably be a big part of the way you spend your free time. Teenagers in Russia enjoy going to the movies, watching TV, going to theaters and museums, and hanging out in cafes. Soccer, hockey, and track and field are very popular in Russia, as well as volleyball, skiing, and skating. Chess is also very popular both competitively and just for fun.


Foods You’ll Encounter in Russia

Get ready for some hearty food! Most meals include pork, noodles, chicken, dumplings, potatoes, cabbage, beet soup, and cabbage soup. Pastries and sweets are often eaten for dessert. For breakfast most Russians eat eggs, sausage, cheeses, bread, and hot cereal. Tea and coffee are both common but tea occupies a particularly special place in Russian culture.

Your High School

Being a high school student in Russia will give you a unique opportunity to make new friends and learn the language. You’ll also get a chance to learn about Russia’s rich literary tradition. The vast majority of Russian schools are public, and you could be in class with students of a variety of ages. The school year runs from September through May, with three short vacations in between. Depending on your school you might also be able to take extracurricular classes in dance, music, or sports.

What's Included

  • 70+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 50,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • Secondary medical coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found while attending high school in Russia.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits.

Apply for High School Study Abroad in Russia!