Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am a Russian student and I have been dreaming about visiting California and living in LA for a while, and I decided to take this trip on my summer break. I have already accumulated enough money for a ticket and contacted various employers, basically I have job for those two months I am going to stay there negotiated.

But I am kind of worried now considering the international situation. What kind of attitude can I expect these days? Would it be dangerous for me to go to the USA now or would the people be negative towards me? ( I have my opinion, which is contrary to official Western media portrayal of Crimean crisis, but I am not going to make conflicts over this with anyone, I've grown out of phase of 'defending my point' at any cost, especially when I have no influence - stoicism. )

How friendly would the people be towards me?

share|improve this question
1  
Actually, the thing I would be most worried about is whether you are allowed to hold a job in the US- what kind of visa are you travelling on? –  Anov Mar 6 at 19:36
6  
(From Russian living abroad) In my experience, it is more dangerous for Russians in Russia than in US... No joke... –  sashkello Mar 7 at 2:01
    
Per your last paragraph. If you do start talking about communism being wonderful, you may find people acting hostile, but I doubt violent. Its better to be mindful of native views when you're the tourist, no matter where you visit. –  LessQuesar Mar 9 at 15:39
2  
I can't answer the question although I have 101 reputation, I just wanted to mention that I am a Russian-American in the New York City area and I know many Russians, its not a big deal and I wouldn't think twice about traveling anywhere else in the states. –  Art F Mar 11 at 16:49

8 Answers 8

It is possible to encounter prejudice, racism, and xenophobia in the US, but these things are not as common as they used to be, or as harsh and overt. They would tend to be directed toward specific groups who have historically been oppressed in the US. The realistic concerns for travelers would mainly be:

  1. A traveler of African descent might encounter racist reactions such as being followed in a department store by a security guard, or taxis not stopping for them.

  2. A traveler who looks Latin American or who speaks Spanish might be harassed in areas near the Mexican border or encounter racist reactions such as an assumption that they are uneducated.

Although some areas of the US are ethnically homogeneous, in general it's a nation of immigrants, and people are used to interacting with foreigners.

California is a huge state, and it has many different regions. The big cities are very cosmopolitan and have large populations of relatively recent immigrants. Areas like the very far north are rural, and people there may simply be curious about a Russian traveler because they've never met a Russian.

I doubt that anyone is going to blame an individual Russian citizen for Putin's behavior, just as I would hope that nobody in other countries would assume that I was in favor of invading Iraq just because I'm an American.

America does have a legacy of anticommunism and Russophobia because of the Cold War, but most Americans realize that the Cold War is over and the USSR no longer exists. For example, I'm 49 and I have a collection of Fantastic Four comic books that date from the 1960's, when I was a kid. The superheroes talk about the "reds" and how we have to beat them in the space race. My teenage kids read these stories and find that material funny and out of date; for them, it's like something from a history book. Americans will probably not remember what happened in Ukraine by the time you visit California, since they don't really care.

share|improve this answer
1  
That last part's likely to depend on just what ends up happening there, don't you think? But I do agree that if, as one would fervently hope, the current conflict blows over instead of escalating, most people in the U.S. are unlikely to care much. –  Ilmari Karonen Mar 4 at 20:28
    
Visit the city of Portland, in the state of Oregon. You won't have any problems with racism or harassment. Make sure you stop by the Pearl District, and a cool beer bar like Apex, on Southeast 12th and Division. –  Greg Krsak Mar 6 at 1:22
    
You make some wild stereotype accusations here, that are not necessarily true. bigotry exists in all countries, but luckily it's not rampant. Someone who is of African descent is not immediately and always greeted with hostility. Also, to a lot of american's, foreign travelers can sometimes be intriguing and get the exact opposite reaction of what you describe. I live in California and we have people from all around the world here. Bigots will be bigots, but I would not be fearful of a very small portion of the population, and certainty not change travel plans out of fear. –  SnakeDoc Mar 6 at 19:33

During the Cold War, Americans used to resent/fear Russians because the Soviet Union rivaled the United States militarily, and even economically early on. When the Soviet Union collapsed to the joy of the Russian people, Americans realized that Russians were merely prisoners of a repressive political system doomed to failure, who actually yearned for the superior Western way of life. The Cold War has been over for decades, and nobody but the most uncouth will hassle you or throw your ethnic heritage in your face. I live in California, and it's wonderful. Come see what you've been missing and bring your tourist $$$$!

share|improve this answer
1  
"... actually yearned for the superior western way of life", really? Can you back that up with a factual reference instead of political propaganda/rhetoric? Secondly, the currency of Russia is the Ruble or Euro, not dollars. –  snot waffle Mar 6 at 17:02

I live in Louisiana, in the heart of the south (ostensibly the heart of bigotry in the US), and I have two Russian friends. They have never had any problems dealing with other people beyond that of any other foreigner. Sometimes people will not be able to understand you because of your accent, but that is true of any foreign travel.

To be quite honest; most Americans aren't paying enough attention to know what is going on in your part of the world. The ones who are are intelligent enough to know the difference between a government and its people.

share|improve this answer

I suppose it depends on the region you decide to visit. That said any metropolitan city (San Francisco, New York, D.C.) I guarantee will be fine. There are already a bunch of Russians. The rest of country will probably be fine as well. There is the possibility of running into someone with superb ignorance but I found that everywhere in my travels. Come, you're welcome!

share|improve this answer
2  
But superb ignorance isn't Russian specific it just general ignorance –  Karlson Mar 3 at 23:38

My girlfriend who is Russian did a J-1 last year. Nothing special happened, she had great time there. Most Americans don't care whether you come from Russia or Peru. And if you don't talk politics with people you'll have no issue whatsoever(like everywhere). There was a lot of noise in the US media regarding Russia and Georgia when Russian troops invaded that country, but media noise is media noise, Americans did not turn crazy shooting Russian expats. do you care what "PRAVDA" says?

Americans are just people like just Russians, they are not the US government nor the US media. Good luck.

share|improve this answer
    
Pravda may be not but given the comments ITAR-TASS may be a good source for the OP –  Karlson Mar 3 at 23:15

In general, the US is a safe place to travel as long as you are sensible and careful, and this goes for anyone, even US natives. If you're going to a big city like LA, there will be good and bad neighborhoods and a mix of friendly and unfriendly people, and a mix of open-minded and xenophobes and everything in between.

My main advice is to avoid making assumptions about what people will be familiar with or have opinions on. I agree with people who recommend avoiding politics in conversations with strangers, and I'd add to avoid talking about religion or money as well. These topics can be controversial or uncomfortable unless you know the person well-enough to be confident you won't offend.

And this applies to people from anywhere. I haven't noticed any specific anti-Russian sentiment among people I come in contact with. If you are open-minded and friendly, I think you will find that people will react in the same way.

share|improve this answer

From a social standpoint, I wouldn't expect it to be a problem unless you make it a problem. The USA is incredibly diverse - people end up here from all sorts of places for all kinds of reasons - including many from countries that are ostensibly 'enemies' of the US. On top of that, as a Russian, you have the added advantage of not being visibly distinctive - it's a lot easier to avoid the attention of bigots and morons as a white person not bound by a religious dress code.

From a political standpoint... Well, I'm not going to speculate. There has been some frightening saber rattling over the past few days - withdrawal of ambassadors and a Paralympic delegation, pulling out of the G8, etc. Pay attention to the travel advisories issued by your own countries state department/foreign ministry, as well as to those in your destination, if you're concerned about factors like travel restrictions, passport refusal or other inconveniences.

share|improve this answer
1  
And, most important of all, make sure you inform your embassy here in the states that you are traveling to the states, the length of your expected stay, when you expect to return home, where you will be visiting, etc. This is just good practice when traveling abroad in any country. –  SnakeDoc Mar 6 at 19:27
    
I think it's quite racist of you to assume that he is "white" just because he is from Russia. There are many non-whites in Russia. Regardless, why is race important? Aren't we passed that - it's the 21st century! –  Imray Mar 7 at 13:30
3  
@Imray Oh to be past that. Oh if only we were past that. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Mar 7 at 13:44
2  
@Imray consider difference between Political correctness and real state of affairs I think this Q&A is about pragmatic hints for travelers. –  andi Mar 8 at 13:55
1  
It's not racist. He specifically said he is "Russian," not "from Russia." These concepts are highly distinct in Russia. Russians are, by definition, white. People who are from Russia but not ethnic Russians do not identify themselves as "Russians". –  Paul Legato Jun 23 at 1:11

It'll depend on where you visit. I wouldn't think anyone would give you any problems. If you do have a bad experience, hopefully you know that we are not all that way. Hope things go well and good luck on your trip!

share|improve this answer
    
And where would it be unfroendly or dangerous? –  Karlson Mar 3 at 23:13
    
Could you elaborate? Why would it depend on where you visit - is there a particularly anti-Russian state that you're thinking of? –  Mark Mayo Mar 4 at 0:57
    
I wouldn't want to just outright say that nobody is going to have some sort of problem they feel they need to bother a visitor to our country with. I grew up living next to Russians, I have no issues with them, but there are other people (hopefully just a small percentage of people) that will have a problem with anyone from outside the states or even their little corner of the city. I would be just as courteous interacting with them as I would anyone else, but I cannot guarantee that my neighbor (figuratively speaking) would do the same. –  Trevor White Mar 4 at 22:43
1  
Chris Mueller's response sums it up pretty well. Most people either don't pay attention to whats going on in the world or know well enough that the individual person is not responsible for the actions of any other person or persons from the same region. –  Trevor White Mar 4 at 22:47

protected by mindcorrosive Mar 4 at 6:03

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.