Birthright Armenia is just wow! I heard about this organization two years ago because of a friend of mine, Ani Calikman, did this wonderful program. She was always talking to me about how great Depi Hayk is, and I was thinking to myself she is just overselling it and that it would be a “meh” experience. But it was simply something else; Birthright Armenia is the best thing I ever experienced in my young life. So much happened during these 4 months, things that I never thought would have happened in my life, actually a lot of first times for me even though I have been several times in Armenia.
I had the chance to go to Artsakh and spent the most lovely four days discovering the country, the culture, meeting so many Birthright volunteers, and my Host Family at the same time and getting close to them. Artsakh was my very first excursion, and it is the best experience ever that all Birthright volunteers should do!
I also was fortunate enough to appear in an ad for a famous worldwide grocery store in Armenia thanks to the company I was doing my internship in, called Deem Communications. It was really lovely, but I also had a weird feeling seeing myself on billboards, TV, and main streets. Speaking of internship, I had the most delightful moment working with my company. I met so many incredible people that believed in me and were supportive of the work I was making. I had the pleasure of going with the company to Georgia (another first time) to celebrate the 13th Anniversary of the company.
Besides, while I was in Armenia, I found out that I was going to be an uncle and this is something very big for my family and me because this was something unexpected and this baby will be the first one since a while, I was so excited when I heard this news, so much that I kept annoying my friend at Birthright Armenia.
So as you can see, a lot happened during those four months, but none of it would have been the same without the amazing people I have met in Armenia, and honestly, every person counts and were apart of my journey. From the day I started Birthright Armenia at the very end of April during my orientation day where I clicked immediately with those persons because I already felt that they were family to me. Some of the alumni were advising me to go to every event. As a “Little Frenchie,” I was at the beginning pretty shy and lazy, basically didn’t want it to participate in every event, but I decided to go out of my comfort zone and meet new people every day. That’s where I decided to go dancing class and man that was one of the smartest things I did because I saw so many interesting persons, everyone was friendly and welcomed me, and poof just in 2 hours I had 10 more friends that I am still in contact with.
Now what Birthright Armenia doesn’t prepare you to is to say goodbye to your friends, and I had to say goodbye to my first wave of friends, which was hard. But then the second wave comes, and again you meet incredible people from all over the world who come to Armenia to have a deeper link with their motherland. I am so happy that so many Diaspora Armenians came to Yerevan and that they were on my path to my journey of self-discovery. But what would be Birthright Armenia without the fantastic staff members, they are truly a second family and are there for you at every moment, whenever you need them. And if you are fortunate enough, you might even get that close to them that you will party with them. They are just the best!!
This is a shortened story of my 4 months in Armenia and with Depi Hayk, but I would advise you to take your ticket, jump on the first flight and do it! To all the people I have met, I love you; I wish I could relive this summer all over again, you guys are a big part of my life now. To all new Birthrighters, just enjoy, live every moment to the fullest, spend time with everyone, do all the excursions and go to every event. After all, YOBO (You Only Birthright Once)