Glendale, CA, United States
Birthright Armenia, wow, I don’t even know where to start. When I was applying to the program, my idea of the time I was going to spend was very simple. I thought that I would go to Armenia, explore the country, volunteer, gain some more insight on my future career, meet new people and come back. But, I was in for such a big surprise. When I read the “Journey to Self-Discovery” I did not realize how literal that was.
I came to Armenia and accomplished everything I initially planned. But I did not realize how much I would change during my time here. I did not realize that the people I meet will become part of my Armenia family. I did not realize that exploring Armenia would mean me falling in love with it more than I already did. The nine weeks is nowhere near enough time to see it all. And lastly, no matter what time you get back to your host family they are going to force feed you because “hastat sovac es”. People in Armenia were so hospitable and inclusive, even if they just met you, no matter where you came from. An example of that was when we did the Winemob in Stepanakert. We were divided into groups, given a bottle of wine and assigned a bak (yard) where we had to invite ourselves in and get to know the family. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, one family finally opened the door and told us that they had to leave in 10 min to their kids’ baptism. They invited us in, so we can finish the wine, and it only took us 5 minutes. As we were getting ready to leave, they told us that we must join them for the ceremony.
Now, going back to the “Journey to Self-Discovery.” This year not only did I discover Armenia in a whole new way, but I discovered myself. I was challenged to step out of my “bubble” or comfort zone and fit into the work environment, interact with the locals and more. I had the opportunity to think about and prioritize my goals really. Now, being back in Los Angeles I see how much I have changed and grown during this trip.
Armenia and Birthright were indeed a journey to self-discovery. I urge everyone to apply and not only discover Armenia but discover yourself.