This summer I accomplished my dream by being a volunteer in Armenia with the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC). After following AVC’s well-defined application process, I was assigned to Impact Hub Yerevan as a Professional Corps volunteer. I was mentoring fellows who desired my hands-on business development experience to help them grow and prosper in their newly developed businesses. Impact Hub Yerevan was a perfect match for my skills, and it was a great meeting of the minds. The entrepreneurs I worked with are smart, talented, driven, and dedicated to becoming successful. I felt privileged to be associated with these bright young Armenian people.
As a “local” for nearly two months I found Yerevan to be electric with its continuous flow of beautiful people. It was not uncommon for me to step outside my hotel lobby to hear the music of an accordion, duduk, oud, and watch the people break into dance on Northern Avenue. And of course, the food was spectacular. The opera was just up the street, and I took advantage of the many ballets, operas, and symphonies performed throughout my stay. The architecture is remarkable and oozing with history. I was sure to capture Yerevan’s beautiful buildings and sites with photos. I far exceeded my goal of taking 10,000 steps daily.
AVC and its sister organization Birthright Armenia offered free Armenian language speaking lessons. I was getting away with a great deal by simply saying Barev Dzez/Hello/, Shnorhakalutyun /Thank you/, Intch Arje /how much is this/, and Tchem Haskanum/I don’t understand/. Funny how the sales girls in the markets sought me out so that they could practice their English on me. I even took advantage of the weekend excursions offered by AVC and Birthright to Khor Virap, Areni, and Noravank.
With the ease of social media and technology, I continue to stay in touch with my new found friends in Yerevan. It keeps my experience alive in my mind and heart.
If you hope to connect deeper with Armenia–contact AVC professional team.
Dee Vartabedian Rogers