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Interview with Northern Lad - A British expat living in Russia

Updated 22 Apr 2013

Northern Lad is a British expat who moved to Moscow in September 2012 for a job. He enjoys life in the city, which he says is full of pretty ladies, has plenty of sights to see and is generally a safe place to be.

Read more about expat life in Russia in the Expat Arrivals Russia country guide or read more expat experiences in Russia.

About you

Northern Lad in Moscow - A British expat living in RussiaQ: Where are you originally from? 

A: I am originally from the Northern area of England.

Q: Where are you living now?

A:  I moved to Moscow, Russia in September 2012.

Q: Did you move with a spouse/children? 

A:  No, I moved with my girlfriend... Well ex-girlfriend...

Q: Why did you move to Russia; what do you do?

A:  I moved for a job. Now, some people who read my blog may be able to guess what my job is, but for my own reasons, I never say what my job is. Although, the question is what do I do... Drink beer! 

About Moscow

Q: What do you enjoy most about Moscow, how’s the quality of life? 

A:  I love Moscow, it is an amazing place. Full of very pretty ladies, plenty of lovely sites to see and a generally safe place to be. 

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home? 

A:  I really don’t miss England. What is there to miss? Skype brings together the family. There is one main annoying feature about Moscow – the five-month winters!

Q: Is Moscow safe? Are there any areas expats should avoid?

A: Moscow is generally safe. Many a time I have walked home at 5am in a slightly worse state and always get home safe enough! Parts to avoid... Anywhere icy after a few beers!

Q: How would you rate the public transport in Moscow? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car? 

Moscow’s metro system is hugely reliable. I do not need to own a car. For the price of a chocolate bar I can get anywhere in Moscow. Plus drink-driving is bad!

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Moscow?

A:  No idea! I haven’t been ill here...yet.

About living in Moscow

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Moscow?

A:  Old, highrise, expensive and outdated. 

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?

A:  Much more expensive rent. In England, I had a penthouse for 600 GBP a month. I pay more than that here for a one bedroomed 1980s decorated flat. Otherwise the cost is fairly good. Admittedly Mcdonalds and KFC prices are pretty universal and beer can be found cheaply. What more do you need?

Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?

A:  I work with both expats and Russians. Russians have warm hearts, but cold exteriors. I suppose that’s what long winters (and the years of communism) do to you!

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?

A:  I like to leave the house, so of course it is!

About working in Moscow

Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit for Russia?

A:  No, my employers sorted it out for me.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Moscow, is there plenty of work?

A: No idea... I suppose you could always come here and be a street cleaner, I see lots of them!

Q: How does the work culture differ from home?

A:  More relaxed.

Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move? 

A:  Haha! No. I wish! A suitcase holds all you really need!

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?

A: Buy extra luggage on the plane and bring one suitcase full of cordial/diluting juice – Preferably Vimto/Ribena. Russians don’t quite understand the concept and you either drink a sweet syrup or plain water. Water gets boring, we all know that fizzy pop isn’t good for you (sorry Coca-Cola) and nobody can survive off Alcohol alone, even if we try! 

Oh, and bring a sense of humour... You will need it, occasionally, to get through the difficult parts of Russian life. 

~Interviewed April 2013

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