Health and Safety
Health & Safety
Health issues are generally the same in Russia as they are in the U.S. Adapting to a new climate, food, water, and way of life may affect one's health during the first few weeks, but usually has no lasting effects. If you plan to travel to Russia, it is advisable to make sure that your inoculations against diphtheria, polio, and tetanus are up to date. Inoculations against hepatitis A and B are also advisable but not required. It is important to keep in mind that Russia has a high STD infection rate, including HIV/AIDS. For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Heath InsuranceHealth Insurance is included in the program cost. All students participating in the Bard-Smolny Program are enrolled in the travel health insurance plan written for Bard College for use on study abroad programs (see HTH Worldwide sidebar).
Most health care providers abroad do not have direct billing relationships with U.S. insurance companies and require payment at the time of service. Therefore, students may be expected to pay for treatment and submit receipts to the insurance company for reimbursement.
Please note: U.S. prescriptions cannot be filled at a Russian pharmacy. It is also illegal to mail/ship prescription drugs. It is best to bring a supply of prescription drugs that will suffice for your entire stay. Be sure to bring a copy of your prescription with you in case customs authorities ask you for it. Expand
Safety & SecuritySt. Petersburg is generally a safe place, with crime levels similar to large cities in the United States. Petty crime is by far the most widespread form of criminal activity and can be dealt with by using everyday street smarts. Students should keep their wallets or purses in secure locations and be aware of their bags and pockets, and they are advised not to carry large sums of money unless absolutely necessary.
If students ever find themselves in immediate danger, our program staff is on call 24 hours a day. Our program orientations feature extensive units on safety in St. Petersburg, and the student handbook is an invaluable source of information for those who are concerned about their security abroad. All Smolny students are supplied with a compass, whistle, and city map upon arrival to St. Petersburg.
We encourage students to review the information on safety and security in Russia available from the U.S. State Department.