posted by in Russia forum
We have lived in SPb since 2000, eleven years. I have many articles in my blog, American Russia Observations, http://www.amrusob.blogspot.com, that deal with such questions.
Real estate is expensive here, but it pays to shop around. Private health insurance needs a lot of study. Be careful and read the contract and ask for some references.
All kinds of swindles and corruption abound here. The best would be to continue your health insurance you have now.
You must be very alert for pedestrian hazards and crazy cars, which sometimes drive on the sidewalks. Don't drink a lot if you will be in public as that is a magnet for goons and corrupt police. Best to have noeye contact with the police. There are plenty of gyms. Traffic even at off hours is very heavy.
Still, downtown SPb is lovely and there is much to enjoy. The people are good for the most part, and can be surprisingly friendly. If you can, get a place that is in the center... it's much easier to get around. Internations has meetings every month.
All the best,