My husband and I retired recently and decided to spend a few months in Armenia. As Diasporan Armenians, we have visited Armenia many times, but only on short visits of a week or two. We loved Armenia during these visits but also wanted a deeper and more lasting experience. We wanted to learn about the people, their customs, and their way of life and be useful. We also wanted to interact more intimately with Armenians living there. And so we joined the Armenian Volunteer Corps for one month and started our new and exciting experience volunteering in Armenia.
My job site experiences were rewarding.
The placement process was extensive. AVC works with over 1300 organizations; we were given a list of 6-7 organizations chosen based on our background and preferences. I was looking for a volunteering activity that would involve interaction with people. I also wanted to contribute to society in some way. AVC helped me find the perfect combination. I started volunteering for the Parajanov Museum three days a week, and the rest of the time did translation work for The Office of the Nagorno Karabakh in Yerevan. At the Parajanov museum, I was involved in translation work and helped during group tours. I was very fortunate and grateful to help in such a beautiful environment and learn about Parajanov and his art. My second placement was at an online teaching platform created and maintained by the NKR office in Yerevan, which provides distance learning opportunities for displaced teachers of Artsakh. I contributed my skills into translating the website’s home page and all the biographical pages of the teachers. It was very rewarding for me to help these devoted teachers and their students in a small way.
Volunteering is about diverse activities.
Our experience wouldn’t end here. As AVC volunteers, we became part of the community and participated in weekly excursions, lectures, forums, and community service activities, like planting trees for Armenia Tree Project, working in the botanical garden, etc. The most exciting part is that after finishing volunteering, we became part of the alumni community, through which we can continue participating in weekly’ events and excursions and take advantage of a multitude of benefits such as job search assistance, grants, etc.
It’s not the end
I look forward to returning to Armenia, volunteering for other organizations, learning more, and helping more. This has been a unique experience, and I highly recommend it to everyone wanting to contribute their skills to the community, whether they are students or already retired professionals.
AVC has made my stay in Armenia more meaningful and purposeful. It has allowed me to learn more about Armenia and its people, exchange ideas, skills, and experiences, and make new friends. I feel rewarded and fulfilled with this experience.