Having worked in the Middle East in my last two positions, my decision to work in Siberia could not have been more extreme however I wanted a change of scene and this is what I most definitely got!
I cant speak for the rest of Russia but Siberia is a very special place. It has hot summers and cold winters. The coldest day so far here has been – 25 C but it is a dry cold and not a damp wet cold you get in Europe or the UK. The snow is crisp and light and it is a pleasure being outside pulling sleighs and making snowmen.
What you will need
You will need a good coat – insulated with down. Good gloves – ideally a inner pair and then mittens to trap in the warmth. Good boots with fur lining and a hat and scarf that covers your face as much as possible. A pair of fleece lined trousers – Craghoppers do a great range and a reasonable price too. A fleece jacket is useful for under the coat but don’t go mad on the outdoor clothing; Siberians have their houses very warm so you need plenty of lightweight t-shirts and tops.
Language is a bit of a barrier as Siberia is not really geared up for speakers of other nationalities but a bit of humour and lots of pointing usually gets you want you want. Top tip! When returning an item to a shop you need your passport and it takes an age! Food and clothes choice is good with chains like Hennes, Zara and Mango amongst others.
The Siberians are not too fussed about red tape. You do need to register with the local authority within a week of arriving but other then that you are pretty much left alone. I came in on a tourist visa and then after three months returned to the UK to get a work visa. It is easy enough to get a driving licence here. You need only get your driving licence translated and that is it. That piece of paper allows you to drive! Nothing like the Middle East at all!
In Krasnoyarsk where I live, driving is an entertaining experience with at least one broken down vehicle or an accident every day. You need your wits about you avoiding potholes in the road and drivers who think that they can squeeze into a small gap between you and a lorry! But they are ultimately polite and seemingly lacking in road rage.
Siberian families are very friendly and have the same attitude to raising children as we have in Europe which makes life easier. They are friendly and generous and the nicest people I have worked for.