My Birthright Armenia Experience

Ani Ishkhanian
Northridge, CA, USA

After spending a good ten minutes staring at a blank document trying to figure out what to write, it dawned on me that it is impossible to pick one thing to write about that truly encompasses the essence of my experience with Birthright Armenia. Everywhere I went and all the people I met will no doubt have a lifelong effect on me. To me, Birthright Armenia has been one of those experiences that will forever keep me motivated. It’s incredible how you put your life aside for a couple of months and travel to the other side of the world and try and expect nothing. Not everybody can do it and the outcome has been rewarding on so many levels. I went to Armenia and Armenia changed me, Armenia made me better. The country has so much character and so much room to grow. When I was there it got me to impulsively do things I never thought I would do. I was inevitably under the impression that I would go and change things for the better, but little did I know that Armenia changed me for the better. The country definitely has its own way of revealing itself to you no matter where you are, that was my favorite part.

I was in Armenia for a total of three months and I wanted to stay longer. The connections I built and the relationships I developed throughout my stay was incredibly close and happened very quick. That is all part of the Birthright experience, it’s great how I got the best of both worlds with the locals and fellow volunteers. The special bonds I made on this trip will last forever. 

In closing I want to also mention the absolute beauty of Armenia. My camera was attached to me like an extra limb the entire time. Everywhere I went, whether in Yerevan or on excursions outside of the city, there was always something to photograph. However, taking photos of anything didn’t truly capture the essence of my subject. One has to be there in order to feel it. I believe this tiny article of mine has the same effect. I can go on and on incessantly about Birthright Armenia and I won’t be able to fully capture the true essence of my experience there. It’s quite frustrating, yet incredibly fulfilling.

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