ITMO: 5 Expat Blogs in St. Petersburg

The cultural capital of Russia is brimming with expats from around the world experiencing the culture and lifestyle of St. Petersburg. Some are studying, some are working, and some are dancing. Get a taste of life in this beautiful city through an international lens by checking out their blogs and social media pages.


Stacey Watson has been living in St. Petersburg for the last 8 years, having moved from the United States. After several years of teaching English, she received professional training as a tour guide and now offers tours of St. Petersburg. Her blog SAFS (Ships Are For Sailing) has its own and . On the blog, Stacey shares tips and advice on living in St. Petersburg and takes you on mini cultural tours and experiences around the city through her regular stories. Stacey also moderates the Facebook page.

“When I first arrived in St. Petersburg,” explains Stacey, “there was very little support available in English and navigating the city was a real challenge. After a few years, I began to help others who wanted to visit the city for either work or play and SAFS was born. It’s been a fun way to bridge the communication gap while sharing my passion with others. The pandemic has been a great period of growth for us as we’ve had loads of time to work on new projects in education, build more interactive tours and experiences, and release some unique souvenirs for the Russophiles and Russo-curious.”

is a principal dancer at the Mariinsky Theatre but is originally from the UK. He has been living in Russia for over 10 years, and is now a Russian citizen. His gives you some insight into the Russian ballet life at the – one of the most renowned opera and ballet theaters in the world. He also has a second dedicated to his ballet photography.


Jarod & Marianne Zartman are a couple from the US and Philippines, respectively, who are currently living and working in St. Petersburg. You can explore their to join their experiences around St. Petersburg as they visit palaces, parks, and enjoy everyday life and delicious Russian food. The video on metro escalators is a fun one!



Allison Ascanio is an ITMO Bachelor’s student in biotechnology and she has her very own where she shares her experiences at ITMO and in St. Petersburg. Her content is in Spanish, and, among other things, she offers tips on how to apply to ITMO.

Catherine Pawlick is an American ballet critic and book author. Before coming to St Petersburg in 2004, she had experience performing with ballet companies in the United States. She speaks fluent Russian and wrote a book called about the famous Vaganova ballet academy in St. Petersburg and the methodology used there, which was created by , a well-known Russian dancer and teacher. Catherine writes about Russian ballet in English.

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