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: .

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Expecting the Unexpected

Nina Talverdian
USA, 2013

I am part of a generation that has tough stereotypes to beat with the many technological distractions it seems we always busy ourselves with. And it is true that at home, we have life's complications to settle along with staying on top of the hot new buzz circling the internet. However, having traveled to Armenia and volunteered with the help of the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) for about 6 months, I learned that the lessons of life lie not behind the computer screen but in the interactions with people face-to-face in a world very different from ours.

Having never traveled to Armenia before, I felt joining a volunteer program was not only a good way to see the country but the best way to learn about its culture and people. I stepped in without any expectations and left with such pride. What lay ahead was a blessing because it was unexpected and enlightening yet emotional and challenging.

I was fortunate to have volunteered in and out of Yerevan in a number of different places. Almost everyone I had the opportunity to work with was pleasant, hard working and respectfully curious. I learned as much from them as they did from me. From the adults who had families to the kids trying to find their way in the world, they offered me an inside look into their lives that I have yet, even after 6 months, to fully grasp. And what made it all the more sweet was I was extending a hand to help which they appreciatively took. Even if I made a fractional difference at placements that stretched from assisting college classes to training former street dogs, the help was graciously accepted. This is not to say this experience came without its trials. Working behind the scenes shed light on their challenges with money and work and everything else in between. I experienced starkly different situations like students comfortably going to university while other families, not too far from the city, lacked the basic necessities to sustain themselves. However, even with all that considered, the positive conditions instilled a sense of hope for the progress in this young country and the negative a sense of how much work lies ahead for her.  

Although 6 months may seem like a lot of time, I left feeling my hand needed to be extended even further for even longer. However, I can safely say I had a very well rounded experience with the guidance of AVC. They offer a chance to immerse into this politically passionate yet calmly warm pool of people who will humble you at almost every turn. Armenia's conditions, societal values and cultural norms prove either to be blessings for some or hurdles for others. In my opinion, AVC gives you the chance to decide for yourself while you are ultimately in control of your own experience.

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