I’ve never written articles about any of my personal life experiences. I have been writing, erasing and rewriting all over again.

But I would really like to share my experience of last summer’s trip to Armenia.

I also always let my emotional side take over, which you will of course notice. 

I spent four months in Yerevan, doing an internship with the “Birthright Armenia” organization, and let me say that it has been an absolute pleasure.

In a sense of self-discovery, the entire trip was very freeing.

In Lebanon, I live with a family of five. They make me feel like I can always depend on them, and I am very grateful for that. But starting from the moment I arrived at Yerevan, I felt in control of myself. I learned to rely on myself completely, which is an amazing novelty!

Armenia, you kept me so happily busy. I have no idea how four months just flew by.

Starting from my internships at two amazing job sites, to the countless cultural events and concerts, trips to the loveliest villages, breezy nights in the streets of Yerevan, visits to Armenian households to make “Gata”, drink wine or homemade Armenian “oghi” that burns your throat in the most pleasant of unpleasant ways… this trip has been full of lovely memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life; the kind that actually makes you see, in the back of your mind, the bright lovely smiles planted on the faces of the warmhearted people in every one of those villages and households.

I usually travel to Armenia for not longer than two to three weeks, which always makes me feel like a tourist on vacation.

But this time, I discovered Armenia from a very different perspective, that of a citizen.

From paying house rent, to having a job, always walking around the city to get to places, having medical insurance, knowing every street name by heart… It felt like I was home, which was the best part of it all. Feeling like I was home, came from the fact that I always felt accepted, even when I spoke in the western Armenian dialect. I had all of my basic needs to get by, and Armenia accepted me.

Being there just felt right. This whole experience erased all of my doubts about moving to Armenia one day. I can definitely see myself living there very soon.

To every one of my friends in diaspora, if you are thinking about moving to Armenia, please don’t fear change. 

Is it going to be easy? At first, of course not. But is it worth the struggle? Definitely. 

A lot of us have already moved and overcame a lot of challenges. They still overcome challenges every day.

But in the end, the mere satisfaction of knowing that you have made Armenia your home is more than enough.

The sense of belonging will bring you more joy and freedom than anything else.

Thank you Armenia, for this unforgettable experience. Thank you for giving me the privilege to grow as a person.

Nayira Baghdassarian