What would it be like to live and work in Siberia? That is what we will find out in this article. First of all, Siberia is a vast region in the east of the Russian Federation, stretching from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean, 3.000 km from Moscow. There is no agricultural land. The land is crisscrossed by rivers, swamps and dense taiga forests. As a result, the sparse population is concentrated in cities surrounded by wild nature.
There are some cities with more than one million inhabitants and many small towns. Daily life in big Siberian cities is pretty much the same as in any other big Russian city. The differences are in the climate: winter is more severe and summer is warmer. Also, Chinese and Japanese products are preferred here. Except for the few large cities that have theaters, museums and entertainment venues, the rest of the cities do not have much to do. If you choose to live in a Siberian village, you will truly experience Siberia firsthand. You will have to make regular and very long trips to the market or pharmacy. You will have to drive to work and feel what the real Siberian frost means, and you will also face the constant threat of attacks from wild animals.
Siberia is a mixture of different ethnic groups (Slavs, Tatars, North Caucasians, Mongols, Chinese, etc.) People are self-contained, but only if you are a complete stranger. This does not mean that no one will help you if you need help, but do not expect kindness or a smile. But once you get to know Siberians, they are very hospitable and will do anything for their friends and guests. The problem is that only a few speak English. So if you do not know the language, the feeling of the Siberian cold will be even more intense, without the possibility to talk to anyone.
As you can imagine, if you live in Siberia, it is quite cold. It is not easy to imagine living in a place where the thermometer drops even to -50 °C. Winters are cold and long, and summers are hot, with mosquitoes lurking everywhere. But even extremely low temperatures do not stop people from doing everyday things and enjoying life. Even when the temperature is very low and the wind is blowing very hard, you can still see normal traffic or see people walking on the street. The biggest problem is not so much the low temperature, but the wind that, when it blows, seems to penetrate through the lumps. Another negative aspect of life in Siberia – besides the climate – is crime. Large Siberian cities have a higher crime rate than other cities in Russia.
Those who want to live and work in Siberia will certainly be interested in finding out about job opportunities in the region. Remember that Western Siberia is Russia’s main source of oil and gas, making it richer than most other areas of Russia.
Many people work in metal, gas, oil, and wood production, and to a lesser extent in logistics or trade. Many people work in factories near their homes or commute to their jobs to work shifts for weeks or months at a time. Women in Siberia generally do not work, but do the housework and take care of the farm if they live in a village.
In general, the biggest job opportunities are in the big cities. Krasnoyarsk, for example, a city of just over a million people, is one of the country’s main industrial centers. It is also considered one of Russia’s main academic training centers, and hundreds of foreign students come to study here.
Another city with opportunities in Siberia is Novosibirsk, which is considered the city with the highest economic and social growth in the country. The city hosts a large number of emigrants of different nationalities and offers a multicultural atmosphere.
Tyumen is considered the Russian city with the best quality of life. This Siberian city is always open to talent from abroad, with specialists and technicians from the oil sector standing out.
As far as the investment discourse and the possibilities of opening one’s own business are concerned, the opportunities in Siberia are as great as the region itself; the problem lies in the bureaucracy, the corruption and the lack of legal protection.
Possible jobs for a native English speaker in Siberia are:
- Work as a teacher in a language school or on your own. English language teachers are in high demand
- Work in an international oil or gas company. Several international companies work in different areas of Siberia
- Work in travel companies if you have experience in the tourism industry
For all jobs you can go to the website of the region you are interested in, find a local employment office and search the list of vacancies for foreigners. The employer’s phone number and email address are also listed there. Once you have found a job, you can apply for a work visa. One advantage is that the population in Siberia is steadily decreasing and it should theoretically be easier for foreigners to find work. Language skills are important, but not always essential.
Live and work in Siberia, conclusion
The name “Siberia” is used in a general sense to describe extreme climatic hardships, so the question spontaneously arises: why do people want to live in Siberia?
The main reason for locating large cities in these areas is the same reason for which there are settlements in difficult areas everywhere else in the world: Resources and economics. If there are things that can be mined, or resources of economic value that can be gathered, there will naturally be human settlements in these areas.
In summary, living and working in a Siberian city is somewhat more difficult than in other cities of the world because of the climate and the old houses. But there is also a tremendous amount of human warmth and no lack of basic amenities (food, heating and entertainment).