Language Matters for Development Work

Last week my internship with the National Democratic Institute in Georgia took me to the beautiful resort town of Borjomi, where I had the unique opportunity to observe trainings for local government officials.  The topic of the training was election campaign management, and NDI flew in an American expert for the occasion – a distinguished … Continue reading Language Matters for Development Work

Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

In my orientations preparing for Georgia, gender was a major topic of discussion. I learned that while society is progressing, there are still traditional biases about women and women’s' roles in Georgia. I prepared to be treated differently as a woman in the country. Some of my expectations were met consistently: men, for example, do … Continue reading Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

From Tbilisi to Mestia and Back Again

Friday night a few friends and I boarded a train at Tbilisi Station bound for the western village of Zugdidi. The train was quite comfortable. Having been in countries where trains have six bunks to a cabin, I found the four-bunk cabin to be spacious, the cushions soft, and the quiet and darkness sufficient for … Continue reading From Tbilisi to Mestia and Back Again

Communism in 21st Century Georgia

In the hills that surround and define Tbilisi, a solitary villa overlooks the city, a testament to the power of capitalism and the free market. It is an obscene display of wealth, complete with security, a giraffe, and a shark tank. The villas owner has a personal fortune of several billion, equal to 50% of … Continue reading Communism in 21st Century Georgia

An Armenian-American in Georgia

I arrived in Tbilisi calm, without expectations. Maybe because it was almost 4 am when I finally stepped into my cab, or maybe because of my exhausting two-day layover in Munich, which included a missed flight and an unexpected friendship with a stoic Romanian stranger. In any case, my excitement quota had already been fulfilled … Continue reading An Armenian-American in Georgia

Cross at Your Own Risk

I consider myself very lucky to be in Georgia and to have lived here for the past year. Sakartvelo, as the country is known in its native tongue, is a beautiful and geographically diverse state which offers a number of exciting opportunities for students and travelers alike. The cuisine, culture, and especially the Georgian people … Continue reading Cross at Your Own Risk

Culture Shock, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Carbonated Water (sort of)

I think every student going on a study abroad trip gets a lecture on culture shock.  A long, somewhat boring, mostly unintelligible lecture to anyone who has not spent a significant amount of time in a foreign country.  The general idea is this, when living in a culture different from their own, a person will … Continue reading Culture Shock, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Carbonated Water (sort of)

Finding and Escaping Normalization in Tbilisi

You find what you’re made of when you go solo on a program. Over one year ago, I decided that Eurasian Regional Language Program was best to pair with my Boren Scholarship application, because of the intensive 15+ hours of language lessons each week. I felt that this was what I needed to reach my … Continue reading Finding and Escaping Normalization in Tbilisi

The Frustrations and Motivations of Language Learning

I did not come to Georgia solely to learn Georgian. I came to intensively study Chechen and, as someone who enjoys learning languages and wants to work in the Caucasus, thought that being able to also learn Georgian was a great bonus opportunity. Between Russian and English, I can get by in taxis and shops … Continue reading The Frustrations and Motivations of Language Learning