Do Good, Feel Good; Together


Thought you couldn’t have a professional internship or volunteering experience together with your significant other? Think again. Thanks to Armenian Volunteer Corps and our sister organization Birthright Armenia, couples can combine their discovery of Armenia with a customized professional experience abroad.

AVC has welcomed many couples from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds. This fall we are hosts to Emma Bäckman,  28, and Leo Zakarian, 31, from Sweden; as well as Mauricio Scaglione, 26, and Catherine Kachvartanian, 25, of Brazil.


For Emma and Leo, this multi-faceted journey together in Armenia is something they want to remember always. They began documenting the whole experience on their travel blog even before arriving in Yerevan, their home for the following three months.

Leo is Armenian, so when he discovered Birthright Armenia, our sister organization, it was the perfect chance to have a professional experience abroad. Emma is grateful she could have a similar opportunity. She explains, “at first I thought this was only a program for those being Armenian, and I was thrilled for Leo’s sake, but I also wanted to go on this type of adventure! When we found out I could go through the AVC program, there were no doubts.” Emma now works is helping to develop educational programs and a marketing strategy at the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) in Yerevan while Leo works with IT security at Ameria Bank.

“Part of me would also feel more homesick I think if I came alone. I get to have the best of both worlds now,” Leo explains. Emma appreciates they will have a whole experience to look back on, “the fun, the tough, the amazing, the unexpected, everything we have experienced together.”

volunteer internship together

Catherine and Mauricio’s journey together in Armenia began six months after Catherine had left on her own for her volunteer experience with Birthright Armenia. When her service ended, Catherine became a full-time employee at PicsArt, and Mauricio decided to join her in Armenia by applying to AVC for his own professional immersion experience. Catherine notes, “I told him to be sure that he was not doing it only because of me, because you should make the best out of it, independently of who you’re with.” Catherine had enjoyed her time in Armenia alone, but “as they say ‘home is where the heart is’ and it really only started to feel like home when he arrived.” Mauricio, who is serving in the arts and culture field with internships at RAA-Research on Armenian Architecture and Kultur-Dialog Armenien, adds, “I always try to make my own memories with fellow volunteers, but sometimes it is hard knowing you have the person you love right next to you.”

Staying in Armenia longer term is a possibility for Catherine and Mauricio. Meanwhile, they are working hard and enjoying their time together. Catherine emphasizes, “I love that it’s the first time we’re living together and it’s happening here. Moving together and to another country was a big step for both of us and I’m sure we’re learning a lot from it.”

Traveling with your partner can bring a wide range of emotions to a trip. And when your trip isn’t just a 10-day vacation but rather many weeks or months long, experiencing another country’s culture and way of life together in the context of professional internships and volunteer, provides memories you will share for a lifetime.

So, what are you waiting for? Jon AVC here.


Noor Varjabedian

October 28, 2019