Wherever you choose to volunteer, you’ll be welcomed into a warm Armenian family’s home filled with hospitality, love, laughter and a genuine curiosity of all the differences that make us who we are!
The experience of living with a host family will provide you with the opportunity to understand and see the up close family life in Armenia. It's a unique chance to spend quality time with host siblings and parents at home or outside, sharing past experiences during tea, discussing the workday around dinner, or opening up about future hopes and aspirations during an evening stroll. Taste different food and see different culture.
In order to encourage such a unique experience, Birthright Armenia provides host family living arrangements. Each pre-screened family in Armenia provides the volunteer with a private bedroom, access to daily hot water/shower, breakfast each morning, and an inviting home.
Although we highly encourage and pay for most or all host family living expenses, obviously the choice is up to you. You may choose to arrange and pay for your own living accommodations while in Armenia.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Outside of Yerevan, homestay living is mandatory. In Yerevan, homestay living is not mandatory but is encouraged. When a volunteer is accepted into the Birthright Armenia program, they can choose to be placed with a local host family during all or part of their stay. A volunteer can choose to stay at another place as long as the volunteer arranges it and pays for it. Birthright Armenia cannot provide rental assistance.
Birthright Armenia strongly encourages and offers incentives to volunteers who choose to live with host families, as it allows volunteers to interact with locals on a more personal level. Families usually have at least one member of the family who is within age range of the volunteer allowing for youth-to-youth contact at home.
About 2/3 of our volunteers choose to live with host families
Yes, you can. We offer flexibility when it comes to your accommodation. In fact, some volunteers split their time between staying with a host family and doing their own living arrangements.
Birthright Armenia (BR) pays host family living basic expenses as follows:
- For volunteers serving outside Yerevan (any time of year), and those serving in Yerevan (September-May), BR pays for the basic expenses
- From June - August, BR pays for 50% of basic expenses of Yerevan based volunteers, and the volunteer pays the remaining 50% (which equals 50,000 AMD)․
- From June-August, BR pays for 100% of basic expenses of Yerevan based volunteers if the service is a continuation of a minimum 14 weeks of service in the non-summer months.
- BR Lite participants pay for the entire cost of living with the host family at 100,000 AMD per month.
- For winter months (November 15 – March 15), the family is compensated with the amount of 113,000 drams per month.
At their option, volunteers may choose to have dinner with their host families, as well as do their laundry at the home. The dinner plan costs 40,000 AMD per month, and the laundry plan costs 15,000 AMD. Both of these optional expenses are paid by the volunteer.
We do our best to ensure that living with host families is very safe, and we have a network of families throughout Armenia. Each host family is pre-selected and pre-screened by Birthright Armenia.
Birthright Armenia reserves the right to place volunteers with families at its own discretion. All locations are within walking distance to public transportation.
Certainly. In the pre-arrival package, you will have the chance to mention any specifics that you want us to take into consideration. We will alert the host family of your specific case prior to your arrival.
Yes, as a rule we place one volunteer in one host family at the same time
Absolutely. For participants who do not speak Armenian, generally but not always, at least one host family member will have some knowledge of a language spoken by the participant. However, a lot of our volunteers ask to be placed with a family that only speaks Armenian, as that helps them to learn Armenian really quickly.
We do our best to ensure that at least one host family member speaks your language. You will be asked to fill out a separate host family application, where you can mention your language preferences.
Internet/WiFi is available in most homes. Moreover, 3G/4G coverage is extensive throughout the country and smart devices can almost always be connected to the internet.
It is up to the host family to decide whether or not a key will be provided, however, volunteers will have a constant access to the house.
We understand that on rare occasions participants may be staying outside their homestays. Our policy allows spending one night per month outside for personal reasons. For additional nights, the participants will have to compensate BR at a rate of 3,500 AMD/night. Exception to this policy is during Birthright Armenia organized excursions, weekends for out-of-Yerevan participants, work assignments, pre-approved vacations and the long New Year holidays (usually from Dec 31 to January 7).
Yes. In order not to inconvenience the families, we ask that volunteers return home by midnight. Twice a week you can come home later by giving the family prior notice. If you prefer to have more freedom, you should consider apartment rental options.
Yes, we will provide you the host family’s contact information prior to your arrival, so you can contact them and get to know them
Bringing a gift for your host family is not mandatory, but it’s a great gesture of gratitude for a family that will be your host and family for many weeks/months ahead.
Here are some gift ideas for your host family:
- Souvenir coffee cup/mug from your home city/state/country.
- Toys, board games or puzzles for your host siblings.
- A small make up or lotion/ perfume set for your host mother/sister.
- A box of chocolates, candy or cookies.
- Fashion accessories/ jewelry (earrings, necklace, and bracelet) for your host mother/sister.
Gifts that are not appropriate in Armenian culture include used clothes, or personal hygiene products.
We are in constant search for new families, thus there are always some new families to the program. However, typically our host families are experienced and have hosted at least one volunteer before you.
Near the end of your time in Armenia, you can choose to live in a village with a family to experience village life. There will be no volunteering, you will simply live with the family, participate in their day-to-day life, and improve your Armenian language skills.