There are so many feelings in my heart and thoughts in my mind that it’s somewhat difficult to express them all. I’m finishing my Birthright Armenia journey. You can imagine how emotional I might be. However, to be honest, you can’t. I’m sure no one can until one experiences himself what Birthright Armenia is and which meaning it has for each of its alums.
I remember myself feeling so proud when I found out about the Birthright Armenia program. I thought that it was such a great initiative for Armenia and an exceptional opportunity for me. I never doubted that I wanted to join and become a participant. But I can assume what most of us consider essential for ourselves before joining. We are thinking about work experiences, which are different from the typical career paths of young people living abroad. But it’s such a narrow view. Birthright Armenia gives you much more than you expected, transforms you, and leaves you with a sense that the most valuable things in this journey were the ones you hadn’t thought of initially.
One of my jobsites was Ayo Foundation - a fundraising platform aiming to solve local challenges and contribute to positive changes in Armenia. I’ve never thought of joining a non-profit organization, I came with entirely different goals and obviously couldn’t expect it would have such an impact on me, that I will be sharing this experience now. Projects we did to support Armenian society, made me feel that I was really volunteering for something useful and important for my country. I wouldn’t be able to do that alone, but being a part of the team with such initiatives, I realized how meaningful our activities are for Armenian people and was so blessed that I could help and be involved. Barely this experience is just the one added to the resume for me. It had an influence, showed me how passionate I could be about my homeland, and demonstrated how dedicated people are to take action and make a change.
Oh, people, of course. It’s another most valuable part of the Birthright Armenia journey. People you meet in the program - each with its own story, each so beautiful and unique, each worthy of learning something from. You will have fun together, share various touching moments, explore Armenia, laugh, and cry when it’s time to say goodbye and many other things you won’t forget. When I visited the office for the first time, I had a feeling of being at home, belonging to the family full of love and warmth. And this atmosphere, first of all, is created thanks to the amazing team. So, from the very first moment, you understand - people are what matters the most. During all the activities, excursions, trips, night outs - people you’re surrounded within Armenia, including genial locals, will make all this unforgettable.
I wouldn’t even say much about Armenia in specific. If I need to characterize Armenia and my experience of discovering it during Birthright Armenia excursions in one word, I would say History. Maybe later, you won’t remember the names of particular places you visited, but you will definitely remember the sense of history, which is behind everything you see in Armenia. No matter to that extent, you consider yourself an Armenian, no matter you speak the language or not, visit Armenia and reconnect with the roots. I honestly believe everyone should do it. At least give it a try!
I’ve come to Armenia each summer for the last 10 years. Even though during that time, I made many local friends and experienced the most sincere emotions, summer with the Birthright Armenia program was different. It was my best time in Armenia.
Once you do Birthright, you’re in the family forever. I wish you to become a member of this family soon.
Moscow – Barcelona, 2019