Armenian Volunteer Corps

Welcome to the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) blog. Here our volunteers and alumni reflect on their experiences living and volunteering in Armenia. For more information about our programs, visit our website, follow us on Facebook or drop us an email: .

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Unexpected Opportunity

by Alexander Azizian

Volunteering has always been a long time idea I wanted to look into. But I thought I knew nothing, I had no solid education, and I was just 21. What could I do for someone? Then one day I completely overlooked what I do know; that I did not think was important, sports.

I have been fencing for some time and although I am no grand master or anything, I can still teach the basics. Alas through Armenian Volunteer Corps and Birthright Armenia I was able to get into a Fencing School in Armenia to teach fencing to the small children here. The children are so fun and energetic; they really burrow into your heart when you work with them. The teachers here are great, but the Western ideas and tactics are not taught here and with me here teaching it, it does nothing but benefit everyone. This is truly a dream, not only do I get to work with the small children; I can also train with the National Team! They are also sharing their wisdom and teaching me some new tips and tricks I never heard of before.

Every detail of what I have or know goes a long way here down to the exercises, stretches, and mentality of it all. Although Armenians are sometimes stubborn when it comes to learning things they think they know, I have been creative and found ways to subtlety creep in. The language barrier is not that strong here in sports too, despite my lack of full knowledge for the language. Sports are a mere “monkey see, monkey do” game, it is no different in my situation.

The most rewarding moments happen to take place every day. One of the national team members was heading into competition, and they were missing an important part for their weapon. I just so happen to have an extra piece! One of the students couldn't take classes with the key coaches because of the time schedule; I was able to help this student out due to my time flexibility.

In conclusion, I would say that the kids are so well disciplined; they respect you the way they talk and listen to you. The expressions, the words they use, and the gratitude you receive, are all extremely inspiring.

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