Armenian Experience Through American Lenses

Mikaila is a student from Lehigh University in the United States. She is currently undertaking the 8 week internship exchange program in Yerevan administered by American Councils with Lehigh University. She arrived in Yerevan a month and a half ago to work for the Eurasia Partnership Foundation. She lives with a host family of a mother, brother, and sister. Mikaila has always said she’s wanted to live and work in other countries outside of the USA, and through her experience in Armenia, she’s been able to see what that truly entails. Firstly, she’s experienced the language barrier. Not so much with her host family, because her host brother and sister know English, and her mom knows a bit. But when she was first adjusting to life in Yerevan, it was a bit frightening for her that she was unable to read signs or that she might not be able to navigate her way due to her lack of knowledge of the Armenian language. But she learned with time that a fair number of people do know English, and there is always someone willing to help if she needs it. She’s also learning that being somewhat alone in a foreign country requires stepping out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s signing up to go on different trips, navigating an Armenian menu on your own, or being a bit more forward with people to form friendships, everything takes a bit more courage to do here than in the US because it is new. She feels extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity. We wish Mikaila good luck in her future endeavors. 
You can learn more about Mikaila’s Armenian experience from her blog.

PFP Alumni Community Growing Bigger


In the beginning of June a group of PFP participants returned back to Armenia after successful completion of six-week professional internships in the USA. Three talented young professionals from Armenia returned back home after intensive trainings in US legislative and policy making organizations enriched with exciting experience, many new ideas and ambitious projects. During the next few weeks PFP alumni Sayad Bayadyan, Varser Karapetyan and Kristina Hovhannisyan will share their program experiences at US host organizations and host families, as well as their views on American values and culture. We will also present the alumni outbound projects that will be implemented in Armenia in a partnership with US counterparts. Follow PFP alumni stories on our web site and FB page!


Warren Wilson College study visit to Armenia


In mid-May a group of students with two instructors from Warren Wilson College arrived in Armenia for a two week study visit aiming at learning about our country, its environment and adventure tourism. Warren Wilson College in North Carolina is known for its environmental efforts. The campus recycles more than 50 percent of its waste, uses mostly foods grown at their on-campus farm and constructs campus buildings to meet LEED standards. 
During the short visit to Armenia the group managed to visit Goris, Tatev monastry, Satan’s bridge. Explored Vayots dzor region – Jermuk, organized cultural activities in Herher village, visited Arpa river familiarizing with the environmental situation of the river. Armenian Tree Project hosted the WWC group at Environmental Education Center. The group also hiked to Mt. Aragats. 
The last two days were spent in Yerevan, exploring the city, including the Opera, museums and other cultural sites. 
As one of the students mentioned. – “American hospitality is 1/5 compared to Armenian”. The students have a few wishes for the future of Armenia, including that Armenian people will continue to have the opportunity to explore and appreciate all of the natural beauty here and take care to keep rivers and mountains clean from trash. We are glad the group is leaving Armenia with nice impressions and hope for the future. We are pleased for the opportunity to cooperate with the group from Warren Wilson College and we would be glad to host them again.


The Program Continues to Change Lives of Alumni


The JFDP program in Armenia may have ended, but is having a lasting impact on the lives of alumni and future generations. JFDP alumni Ani Manukyan and Armen Mkrtchyan welcomed their first child in early 2015 and Armen shares their story here:

“I never believed in miracles, especially related to professional programs. When I applied for the JFDP program for the first time, then second and then third year, my main purpose was to develop professionally, the only goal was to familiarize myself with the American higher educational system”. However, he gained more than professional skills when, after returning to Armenia in 2012, American Councils Armenian invited Armen to share his experience with new JFDP fellows during their pre-departure orientation. “The main intention was to be helpful with good advice and share my own experience,” Armen says, but soon after Ani returned from the US, they met for the second time at an alumni event. “The magic of this miracle is that it happened suddenly and unexpectedly,” Armen says. “We met and understood that the program provided us with the opportunity to get to know each other, understand, love and respect each other. And now on March 13th our baby Anahit was born. We call her “found dream”. I am incredibly happy that JFDP gave me not only an opportunity for professional development, but also granted family and child”.

Congratulations to Ani, Armen and Anahit!