Arina Zohrabian (2002)
Today I sat celebrating the birthday of a very close friend of mine. One I met and volunteered with 14 years ago when I first moved to Armenia to join the Armenian Volunteer Corps. As she blew her birthday candles and we went around offering her the traditional Armenian “kenatses” (toasts) of success, health, and more, I realized the major impact that AVC has had on my life and the need to offer a toast to the organization that played the largest role in changing my life.
AVC. A truly new way of life.
After leaving the comforts of my home in the United States (and stints of living and studying in Iran, Canada, and Spain), I moved to Yerevan on June 1, 2002. I typically have a very bad memory – but one memory that continues to stay with me is the sheer excitement of stepping off the plane onto the tarmac in Armenia for the very first time.
Fast forward 14 years and I have now lived more of my life in Armenia than elsewhere. I have learned to put things into perspective and truly feel I understand the important things in life. I have learned to enjoy life and to not take for granted the many advantages.
I feel immensely blessed having also started a family and serving as Mom to two wonderful daughters. I have made amazing friends who day in and day out continue to show that they are ready at a moment’s notice to “tsavers tanen”. And finally, I have built a successful career in the field of education where I continue to be blown away by the commitment of Armenia’s youth, a more and more engaged Diaspora, and international students who thrive in this city.
So to AVC I wish you continued success and an abundance of volunteers who visit Armenia equipped to not only change Armenia one pebble at a time, but who are ready to embrace the most positive change awaiting them, as well.
Arina Zohrabian is currently the Director of Admissions at American University of Armenia (AUA). She was previously Executive Director of International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). Arina has received higher education in Marketing at McGill University.