As I walked out of the Zvartnots Airport, I immediately knew my experience in the dazzling country of Armenia would be different. I feel, after being here for two weeks now, that Armenia cannot be compared to any other country that I’ve ever visited. Its authenticity and uniqueness satiates my appetite for travel like no other. It is seen from the freshness of the food, to the breathtaking view of Mount Ararat.
At first, it surprised me at how caring and empathetic people are in Armenia. I realized that this was a norm, and everyone was raised that way. I also discovered that Armenia is really smaller than you would think, and that everyone knows each other. Every morning that I make my pleasant fifteen-minute walk to my workplace, I would see people happily bumping into each other at every block. Having good relations and respect towards family and friends is also a large part of the culture in Armenia. Even in the workplace, it is not strictly professional and employers here seem more like friends than anything else.
For the past two weeks that I’ve been here, I have barely been able to snatch the bill for a restaurant that I go to because my Armenian friends strongly insist that they pay. It is hard to believe that it is the reality here, but indeed it is.
Something quite interesting that I noticed in Armenia as well is the focus on STEM related work. My initial thoughts about Armenia in the world of technology was, to be quite honest, not of the highest standard. To my surprise, I feel like Armenians are exceeding in the technology world even faster than America is! I was astounded when I realized this fact. Armenians strongly enforce their kids to concentrate on education and technology.
Armenia also contains a dense amount of history. Everywhere you turn there is a church or a holy object. I also found out that Noah’s Ark allegedly landed on top of Mount. Ararat! What an amazing fact. That also goes to show how ancient Armenia is. It is fascinating to be standing on these grounds.
Armenia is just a place full of surprises to me. I never expected the extreme hospitality I was greeted with, the abundant amount of food I have been presented with, and just how modern Armenia is!
By: Emmanuelle Berberian
Program: Overseas Professional & Intercultural Training Program, Yerevan, Armenia
Term: Summer 2019