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I'm going to travel to Russia.

We have a tour guide, but we have some times for our own.
Can we enjoy sport clubs (bungee, flyboarding etc.) without knowing Russian?

  • 2
    I'm no expert concerning the things you seem to have planned but there are three instances whencefrom getting by with English gets progressively harder: When setting foot into the country, when leaving the airport and when leaving Moscow/St. Petersburg/the touristy areas. (And that only applies to air travellers; for those on a train, problems start once they board a Russian train.) So I'm inclined to say 'it's gona be hard.' However, the activities you propose have a definite youth touch to them which might help. – Jan Jun 26 '16 at 1:37
  • As I told, we have a tour guide for visiting churches and other places. but not for our sport activities. It would be great if young people can speak English there... – ReZa Jun 26 '16 at 1:55
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    Just returned from a few days in Saint Petersburg. Not all young people speak functional English. It depends on their job and (I think) educational background. Younger professionals I saw usually spoke good English, as did tourism, hospitality and foodservice workers in the absolute touristiest areas; outside of those groups and areas, proficiency becomes very hit-or-miss: some people will speak good English, but some will speak little to absolutely none. – Urbana Jun 26 '16 at 3:12
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    Found while doing a google image search of "remember no Russian": We don't speak English, but we promise not to laugh when you speak Russian. – Andrew Grimm Jun 26 '16 at 3:31
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I'll confirm what people have already basically said in the comments:

  • English knowledge, especially beyond the very basic level, is surprisingly uncommon. (Furthermore, English with a Russian accent can be very difficult to understand. It's not at all like the Russian accent in the movies : )
  • The situation is somewhat better with younger people
  • The situation varies by city, and is somewhat better in larger cities

Having said that, there are definitely people whose English is decent. Also, gestures / non-verbal communication can get you far. My advice is this: If you can't find an activity operator that speaks English, try to book activities in large groups (to increase the chance that one of the other participants will be an English-speaker), and avoid activities where you'll require a lot of instruction.

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    Hopefully, most of the instructors will be rather young and therefore more likely to speak at least a bit English. Op should try to search for reviews on international sites like tripadvisor, wikitravel, lonely planet, they may mention if the staff speaks English. Otherwise, some activities like bungee jumping and skydiving may become extremely dangerous if you can't understand the rules! – IMil Jun 27 '16 at 21:24
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I'm just going to speak from my own experience while I was traveling in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Granted, I didn't go outside of the cities. I found that both areas I get by with English and people are friendly. While I was walking in local farmer market trying to buy fruits, the people there didn't speak English but we were able to communicate with hand gestures and I was able to get what I want.

I took a taxi and even buses and people around me helped me talking to the driver and called me to the stop I wanted.

  • That would be great. As I've heard that Russian are not friendly, specially with foreigners – ReZa Jun 26 '16 at 12:53
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    @ReZa Like most other places in the world, people are probably understanding and nicer if you attempt to learn the language. I suggest learning very basic vocabulary and phrases. If you make an attempt to speak with people in their own language, even if you fail you'll probably be on their good side and people will be much more willing to help you out! – Chris Cirefice Jun 26 '16 at 13:57
  • @Reza I heard the same story prior going there but I was happy that I made that decision to going there. I also found this article you might be interested. theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/05/culture-and-smiling/… – toy Jun 26 '16 at 17:13

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