My name is Arootin, I come from Iran. I am interested in exploring development potentials in Armenia as a molecular biologist. I was introduced to Birthright volunteering program by an alumni volunteer. Although I have had several trips to Armenia in the past as a tourist, the experience that BR volunteering program is offering is a different kind of exploration. What I expected from this program when I applied was to volunteer as a professional where I can contribute the most, and to engage in a different perspective of the Armenian life.
The program is very organized in offering a front for communication and networking for every Armenian of the diaspora. The flexibility of the program for different levels of engagement encouraging. If you are a person who wants to live the Armenian life to the fullest, Birthright will offer you a full experience; from living with an Armenian family, learning the language, history and culture of Armenia, to working in a site that is both elevating for the person and the community and expeditions in the country to experience the landscape. If , Like me, you already have traveled to Armenia and want to experience living in Armenia with a new perspective, or you have limited time and are over the age of 26, BR offer's the LITE program, which I am currently participating in.
The LITE program is a four week volunteering program offered for those who can not leave their job in the home country for an extended period of time. From the first day of the program which is called the orientation session, the program exceeds my expectation of what can be done as a volunteer in Armenia. I was placed in a job-site that was in my area of expertise, with people that are very open to accept participants from the diaspora. The professional attitude of the staff is very heart-warming, since it communicates very well that although this is a volunteering program, it is well organized and efficient in realizing its goals. The weekly forums and events and excursions are scheduled so that it will give the volunteer the opportunity to experience various aspects of both the nature and culture of the Armenian life. The regulations of the program ensures a safe experience for the volunteers.
One of the best things that the program offers is the office itself. The place is both a working space (working in any place other than the job-site and BR office is forbidden), and a gathering place for all active BR volunteers. To have a central hub for contacting with other participants and the staff is very pleasant and the office itself is a great place to work.
By the end of my program, I expect to understand the academic culture and to explore the potentials for development of biology and related fields in Armenia. Moreover, after my time with BR, I hope I will have enough experience to be able to decide if repatriating to Armenia is a good decision for me. And if not, I would like to make a long-lasting connections with the people I have met so that I can contribute to the development of Armenia, and to be a more productive member of my community back home.