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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Study in Russia?


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Another thing to try and avoid - make sure wire transfers are done in US dollars. The school should state this. There are an incredible number of additional barriers that have to be overcome if you try and wire rubles into Russia. The ruble is tightly controlled, which may explain why there are also restrictions on taking rubles into and out of the country.


I'm sorry it's so frustrating.

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Actually, my bank asked me about the dollars vs. other currency today when I went in to see about the wire transfer, and they said they would only do it if it starts out as dollars, but they said the receiving bank then converts to euros. The school does not list an amount of rubles as an option (well, maybe it does, but I haven't seen it on any of the things we've gotten, and I haven't tried to read through the russian on the website). Thank you cheetah -- you always have helpful information for me!

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We didn't have an easy time with a British visa this year either as the process changed this past March but it was nothing like you describe in terms of dollars and hoops to jump through. We did contact our Representative and asked for his assistance which he gave. On the day that his office called the British consulate, they "found" dd's application, processed it and sent it fedex the same day. Maybe your representative could help once you have all the papers you need.


Good luck and best wishes for your dd.

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Thank you, swanchat, for that advice. I may have to do that, when we actually are able to get all of the documents to the Russian Consulate. My frustration now is with the school, as the two items I need from them (which are necessary in order to obtain the visa) are not forthcoming with much speed (although one of these things has been promised with an actual date attached). I have e-mailed for 2 items of information that should be easy for them to provide and noted that it was urgent. What strikes me as odd is that these items are regarding making my payment for tuition, which I would assume that they would be eager to obtain -- but no answer. Grrr!

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Unfortunately, pj, this is very typical of their culture. DH used to get very, very frustrated when over there - the Russian sense of time and importance is nowhere near the Americans' opinion of it. If she hasn't already done so, you might encourage your DD to read some books on doing business in Russia. Technically that's what you're doing - engaging in a contract for a service. It might help her better understand what to expect and, hopefully, avoid taking anything personally! I know she's had a lot of experience with the Russian culture here in the states, but it's very different once you get over there!

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I found similar but a not so complex process of visa procedures when dealing with Germany. First you have the language barrier. The people we dealt with spoke very little English and we didn't know German. I spent some nights with the website called babelfish that helped to translate what documentation they were providing and what I needed to provide. There never seemed to be a sense of urgency on their part even though they knew that there were tight deadlines. I wrote several emails that were completely ignored. We still didn't have some of the documentation when we visited the German government offices to complete the process. Of course the official didn't speak English and we pantomimed our questions and answers the best we could. We still can't figure out why they processed the visa with the missing documents but we are not complaining. Just happy to be done with it. Hang in there. This is just a blip on the radar screen of life. :grinning:

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Thankfully, we have good rapport with the director of the international student program and she has been extremely responsive, although there is a slight language barrier. She understands English quite well, but there still is some "no man's land" of misunderstanding, which I'm sure is par for the course between cultures. The problem mostly seems to be with the school's understanding of the rules and our closest Russian consulate's understanding of the rules. We may get hung up on the payment thing, as the two Russian entities, Bolshoi and Russan consulate in U.S.A. that processes visas, have a very different view from one another on what is required. The school contract says that the payment is required within two weeks of starting the program, and the Russian bank has a requirement of a signed contract before we can pay, while the consulate is insisting on a receipt of payment before she can even think about applying for the visa. The person who is helping us with the processing and translation of forms seems to feel that it will all come together and we will leave when we have plans to do so, so I am breathing a sigh of relief today.


cheetah, do you have recommendations for books on the subject of doing business in Russia? I would be grateful for your input on this one.

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pj, let me look around. I've taught classes on similar topics and should be able to dig up things and send her what is specific to that particular country.


As for the bank and payment, our experience was that the bank would not accept payment until the contract was signed, which happened on site. Not sure if that will be your experience. No one could explain why, but there are a lot of monetary controls over there. Another problem is sometimes the bank would receive money and it would take weeks for it to make it to the intended recipient. Sadly, the problems don't end when she gets there, but things do tend to work out in the end!

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So, did you actually take the contract to your bank here in U.S.A. to sign it in front of a bank official who could then tell the bank you wired the money to that they witnessed you signing the contract? Or did your ds sign the contract at school after he arrived and then you wired the money from U.S.A? Our contact person at the Bolshoi clarified with me that I can wire the money about 3 days after we send the signed contract back to them, and she said that should be sufficient information for the visa people as well.


Like I said before, we are praying for miracles; but as long as we stay on top of things, it looks like this will all be fine by our leave date.



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The contract had to be signed and witnessed in-country and then presented to their bank. Our bank didn't need any type of documentation - just the various wire numbers. Not sure if it had to be signed AT the bank, though. I just know the bank would not release the funds until they had a contract on file, so any money sent earlier would've just sat there. Also, the contract stated a price in U.S. dollars, which was not initially communicated to us (actually it took nine months to get that info) which is how we learned, the hard way, that it's quite difficult to wire rubles!!!! Hopefully her contract states the fee in dollars and maybe eve has a payment schedule. We were told "whenever you want to pay." Except that wasn't true either!


By the way, we used Citibank fairly effectively. I believe there's a branch in Moscow, too. Wire transfers can be made on line for a lot less than having to do them in person.

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This morning dd's official invitation and official contract actually arrived. We all gathered around the two identical Academy-signed contracts (both in Russian), and spent about a half-hour filling out our part and signing each page. We then got into the car and took one of the contracts back to the DHL office and sent it back to Bolshoi Academy, where it should arrive Tuesday, at which time, I can wire the money in order to fulfill the final requirement of the visa. After we dropped off the package for Bolshoi, we continued on to the visa services office where the visa packet was waiting for the INVITATION! DD signed a number of items, and the 8 required documents, complete with legalization, notarization, and translation into Russian, with the translation notarized as well, went into the FedEx package being sent to the closest Russian Consulate, where it will arrive first thing Monday morning.


Normally, 6 days minimum are required to get this processed through the consulate and another to FedEx it back to us. But we leave Friday, which is only 3 days for processing and one day to FedEx. But our visa services person is a minor magician, and she feels very strongly we will all jump on that plane breathing a sigh of relief! I'll let everyone know how it went, after I get back from Moscow.


And in the meantime, I've been getting together all of the documents required by the school, above and beyond the documents required for the visa. So, another round of signatures, notarization, translation, and notarization of the translation, and all those filing fees.


So far, we have paid about $700 for visa fees (2 tourist, 1 student) and $600 for translation/notary/filing fees, and another $150 for shipping. We still have a bit of translation services left to pay for, and I estimate that at about $400 - $500 more. I'm just posting this information so if anyone else decides to do this, they at least know how to budget for it. This part of the expense came as a big shock to my husband, who just says, as he's shaking his head, "it's only money." :)


At this point, the plane tickets are the cheapest part of this entire adventure (yes, we got a great deal).

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So happy for your Dd PJ!!!!!!!! Looking forward to hearing great things about her in the next years! Can't wait to tell my Dd!! Please give her our best wishes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now that we've moved into reporting upon the actual program, I have moved the last several posts regarding attendance at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy to a dedicated thread in the Pre-Professional/Residency Programs Forum: Bolshoi Ballet Academy---Moscow, Russia


Please do keep the information about the program itself coming on that thread!

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