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Meeting new people?

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Joined: 04 Jan 2012
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:29 pm    Post subject: Meeting new people? Reply with quote

Apologies if this is off-topic, please move it if so. I assumed that since there are threads about coat shopping, it would be ok. Smile

I work at Language Link St Petersburg, on the dreaded split-shifts. I was wondering, is anyone else experiencing my current problem? My social circle is limited to the other handful of teachers at the school, since there seems to be little time or opportunities to meet anyone new. Of course, I hang out with students sometimes, but I'd really like to befriend other expats.

Are there any clubs or networks available, short of drunken encounters on the club scene at weekends? That's really not my cup of tea. How do you all cope? It's becoming a rather lonely experience.
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Joined: 30 Aug 2012
Posts: 60
Location: Moscow, Russia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in Reutov, right outside of Moscow, so I can't comment specifically on St. Petersburg, but I seem to be doing alright socially since I came here so I'll put in my two kopeks.

For starters, when I arrived, one of my administrators hooked me up with a couple of her Russian students (half of the Russians you're working with are teaching English on the side) who showed me around Red Square etc. I've kept in touch with them. I also met a group of people at a poetry club meeting that I found through the Moscow Times website, one of whom has invited me out on multiple occasions since then (e.g. the Moscow World Fine Arts Fair and a cruise on the Moskva). I met an upstairs neighbor who, although his English and my Russian are very limited, continues to invite me over for food and drinks. My fellow teacher and I also met a few other teachers who work for a different school in the area and we went out one weekend.

Our school also has several different branches, so I've spent time with several different teachers who work at different branches in the region. In lieu of all that, you can always meet people offering up your bed or floorspace on They may not stay for long, but if you're really lonely, it'll be a welcome distraction. Also, beggars can't be choosers. Put in the time going to clubs etc., whatever you can get. It's not exactly my scene either, but pay your dues and you'll meet others who feel the same and you can plan better buddy time from there.
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Joined: 19 Nov 2004
Posts: 220
Location: Moscow and Alaska

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Split shifts-late evenings every weekday will kill a social life. For me it took away the things that make living in Moscow FUN like going to see a good concert on a random weeknight. Yes- hands down-this sucked. I saw less and less of the friends I have had here since I was in my teens and early 20s . I also turned into a zombified, cranky witch with a capital B due to lack of normal sleeping patterns that goes with shift work. My body and mind had had enough, and I got out.

The only social life I had was my running events at the weekends. Weekends are and were my sacred cow. I don't work weekends, PERIOD. Sometimes, life is just too [email protected] short to be a recluse, so if there is really something like a concert once in a blue moon that you'd like to see, live a little and get the"blue flu" or "food poisoning". That sounds bad, but so is permanently working non- social hours.

If you are stuck in split shift hell, try and do things on the weekends unless you are stuck working those as well. Yea, you will probably have to sleep til noon before you feel like going out to make up for the lack thereof on the other days, but you can get together with friends in the PM.

I developed my social circle here when I was still a student years ago and still stay in touch with those people. The other big part of my social circle is the people in the running community. Moscow is big, but the running community is still pretty close and we all know each other. I speak Russian though and am part of a local club, so that does make a difference. I have a few expat friends who are long timers like I am. Other than that, most of my friends are Russians who don't speak English. Your students might share some interests/hobbies with you too and can suggest things going on in town that you might be interested in doing. I know and expat couple who joined a local viking reenactment group and love it.

Reutov?! Hello neighbor from across MKAD-I'm at Kuzminki. I used to visit friends across the way in Reutov. It's actually not that far. Even from Kurskaya, it's only 20 min. Wink
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Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in SPB also on the slave schedule.

There are weekly English speaking meetings most Sundays as well as weekly international meetings on a Thursday @ Kontakt bar near Vladmirskaya 8pm - 11pm

You can find a lot of things going on via Couch Surfing's SPB group page.

I usually attend the weekly English meeting, but have no chance of going to the weekly international meeting.

I'm back in England at the moment for Christmas, but if you fancy a meet up when I get back in early January let me know.

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Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 899
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look into and sign up in the SP chapter. It's free. Pretty diverse group.
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Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 116
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, split shifts are almost unavoidable, get used to it. Granted, a 8-9 am class followed by an 6-7pm class is pretty rough.

As for meeting people, SPB is much more friendly than, say, Moscow. Go to a few night clubs or concerts around time. I met people on dumskaya ulitsa in my university years and also frequented a couple jazz clubs: there's one on shpalernaya ulitsa called jfc which is really cool and also a more low-key spot not far away just off litejny prospekt called krasny lis (red fox). You might also check out cafe-club begemot (hippopotamus) on sadovaya, which has a more "grown-up" crowd. Sure Russian language skillis is a big +, but generally people are very open and friendly to non-russian speaking foreigners.

I live in Moscow now, work + study = absolutely no time for a colorful social life. I'm sure you'll manage, even with your dreaded split shifts.

BTW I'll be in SPB for new years break, so if you want, pm me and we'll arrange to meet.
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Joined: 04 Jan 2012
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am used to it, I've been here for ten months... not quite a veteran but certainly the 'old hand' at my school full of newbies. Don't get me wrong, I like the teaching, but the social side seems to be getting worse, if anything.

Hmm, I've never tried Krasny Lis. I'll check it out.

Thanks to everyone else who replied. I'll certainly sign up on Internations and give Couchsurfing a closer look (I used to write it off before because I have a friend whose flat seems to be a permanent youth hostel!), but I should have been less judgmental.

I tried the English Conversation Club once, on a Sunday, but only 4 people were there. I expect this wasn't typical. They used to meet near Sennaya (The Rose cafe, I think.) I'll consider it again. I'm also thinking of taking up a sport with only beginner Russian to help me, so that'll prove interesting. (Fencing, if anyone's interested!)

Thanks again. I know it could be worse, i.e. in Moscow where it takes an age to travel anywhere.
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