Staying Safe in Russia
As in any large city, you should take reasonable precautions against crime. Be sure to lock your room and guard your money and passport against pickpockets, especially in taxis, markets, and on the street, as well as in any crowded places. When traveling, you should keep your eyes on your luggage, as theft is a reality in any location. With recent economic changes throughout the world, pickpockets are becoming more artful and more prevalent. We recommend that you use a money pouch or passport bag that can be worn inside your clothing. Students should be careful about jogging or walking alone.
Students are advised to go out in groups, ideally with Russian students, especially at night. In addition, students should avoid places where large groups of drunken people congregate as well as all confrontations with individuals who have had too much to drink. You should take your passport with you whenever you leave your city, and you should always carry your student ID with you for identification purposes. You must keep a copy of your passport and valid Russian visa with you at all times. Remember, when it comes to safety, a little bit of common sense goes a long way!
Middlebury monitors all programs closely through news channels, regular communication with staff overseas, and special information and notifications from the United States Department of State and other sources. You should read through the Travel Advisory for Russia and know that the advisory level can change. Your on-site staff will go over safety issues and precautions particular to your site in detail during orientation.
To prevent loss of property:
- Carry your wallet and documents in closed compartments inside bags (ideally an inner, zippered pocket) and not in jacket pockets, outside pockets of backpacks, or other areas that are easily accessible to would-be thieves;
- Keep your valuables packed and out of sight in your room, and avoid taking expensive jewelry, camera, or computer equipment with you;
- Take a lock for each suitcase. Large sums of money and other valuables should always be kept in a locked drawer, even at your homestay, in the event of random break-ins or robberies;
- Separate large sums of money, write down credit card numbers, and keep records stashed in several different places;
- When traveling on public transportation, carry an unobtrusive handbag or backpack, and avoid displaying expensive belongings or large sums of money;
- Keep a photocopy of your passport and registered visa in a safe place, separate from the originals. Make sure you have enough money with you to pay for a taxi;
- Keep your cell phone charged and supplied with enough minutes to make a call in case you or others need help;
- While students may drink alcohol in Russia, you are expected to do so responsibly, which includes a glass of wine or beer with dinner, but excludes drinking to excess, engaging in drinking games or losing control over your mind and body;
- Stay in sight of the driver when riding a bus;
- Carry the contact card provided for you upon arrival with you at all times.
The School in Russia does not carry insurance for stolen property, and students who are particularly concerned should look into taking out such a policy before leaving the US. Finally, the School in Russia cannot offer to store money or valuables for students.
For safety reasons, you are expected to have a local number and keep your phone charged at all times. The cost of this has been accounted for in your estimated personal expenses.
Middlebury has partnered with Global Rescue LLC to provide travelers with access to an intelligence platform (GRID) that ensures that you are well informed and prepared before and during your travels. For more information on Global Rescue, please visit www.globalrescue.com.
Contact Global Rescue Operations Center 24 hours a day by calling:+1 (617) 459-4200 (collect calls accepted) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.