Moscow is an incredibly large, interesting and challenging destination offering a wide variety of experiences for expats. There is much to see and learn about Russian culture in the capital city, and expats will certainly not be bored among the hustle and bustle of Moscow's lively streets.
Living in Russia as an expat
Moscow is a constantly changing and rapidly expanding city. As it's one of Russia's main economic centres, the majority of expats moving to Russia for work settle here. Moscow offers job opportunities in a range of fields, from technology and finance to human resources and teaching. These generally come with a rather lucrative employment package, but are hard earned and can be difficult to find.
Moscow has an extensive public transport system. The most common means of transport being the efficient, safe and cheap metro. Many of the metro stations are lavishly decorated and constitute works of art in themselves. During rush hour it can get crowded, especially in the centre. Traffic congestion can be nightmarish in Moscow and many expats choose to hire a driver rather than braving the roads alone.
Moscow is by no means short of cultural activities and events. No visit is complete without a trip to the Bolshoi Theatre, and ballet performances at the Kremlin Palace are outstanding. There are several fascinating museums in the city, as well as wonderful architecture.
Cost of living in Moscow
Moscow has a relatively high cost of living. While it's cheaper than many of the world's major capitals, accommodation comes at a huge cost and those who choose to live lavishly will also pay dearly for it. That said, those with money can enjoy a luxurious lifestyle in Moscow that's on a par with any major international city.
Expat families and children
Expat families should note that the standard of public education and hospitals can be considerably lacking in Moscow. That said, expats always have the option of sending their children to one of the private or international schools located in the capital. There are also several private healthcare facilities available that expats can visit.
Parents will be glad to know that Moscow is filled with attractions and activities to entertain the kids. Families will also discover that some of Moscow’s most attractive features are the many public parks dotted throughout the city, which give it a more spacious and leafier feel. Going for a walk in the park is a daily habit for many residents, and families with children can make use of these green spaces for a day spent outdoors.
Climate in Moscow
Unlike the rest of Russia, Moscow has a humid continental climate. Summer weather is warm with average daytime temperatures of 73°F (23°C). Most of the city's rainfall occurs during the summer months. Winters, on the other hand, are long, cold and snowy.
Expats in Moscow who can keep an open mind will find that the Russian capital has a lot to offer. Before moving to Moscow, expats should read as much as they can about the city to prepare themselves and to minimise any initial culture shock. One of the best ways to prepare for relocating to Moscow is to learn how to read the Cyrillic alphabet and speak some basic Russian.
►For info about the ups and downs of life in the city, read Pros and Cons of Moving to Moscow.
"What I like the most about Moscow is the city itself. It is always clean, vibrant, and full of entertainment and friendly pedestrians. It means that you can walk as far as you want to and feel safe about doing so." Read more about Eva, an Indonesian expat, and her move to Moscow in her interview.
"Honestly, I think Moscow is highly underrated. Compared to other metropolitan cities in the world, I think it is one of the best cities for quality of life!
"Expats usually relocate here for business purposes since there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of. Another bonus is the fast pace of city life, which is great for many expats." Read about Russia from the perspective of a Russian – Yulia, a global nomad, shares her thoughts on life in Moscow.
Are you an expat living in Moscow?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Moscow. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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