The situation in the world has drastically changed in the last two months. The world pandemic due to #coronavirus has made the whole world close the borders and forced people to stay home to prevent the exponential growth of the disease expansion.
The spring exchange semester in Russia starts on February 1, for the majority of the universities, so by the moment of closing the borders between countries our international students have only been staying in Russia for less than 2 months. It is a pity to have your exchange semester in such an epoque, however, 70% of exchange students did not have any other choice but to leave Russia: either it was highly recommended by the universities, or the local embassies made them come back within a week. This happened for France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and some other countries.
Still, there are some exceptions: some exchange students from France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, Slovakia, Finland decided to stay here in Russia for as long as they can, and so far they are staying at homes for a week, as everyone else in Saint Petersburg does. The main reason for that is "not to miss the chance to stay in Russia for those months", which is, of course, understandable, but it is hard to assess the risks of such a decision in a long-term perspective.
Keep you posted,