[bootstrap_tab_header id=”common”]Common Q&As[/bootstrap_tab_header]
The AYF ER began the Internship in Armenia program in 1992 to encourage Armenians in the Diaspora to visit and volunteer in Armenia. Over the past 23 years, the AYF has sent over 165 participants to the Homeland. Until an Armenian sets foot in Armenia, Armenia will only remain an idea. The Internship in Armenia program turns the Homeland into a reality by exposing interns to the people and culture of present day Armenia. Prior to 1991, an independent state for the Armenian people was inconceivable. But today, Armenia is a free and independent country, eager to grow and prosper. Although the country still faces extreme poverty and government corruption, its youth is optimistic and wants change. The Internship in Armenia program allows Diasporan Armenians to be a part of that change, while familiarizing them to all that Armenia has to offer.
The program seeks motivated people who are willing to devote their summer, from mid-June to mid-August, to volunteer in Armenia. The Diaspora serves as a valuable resource in the growth and stability of Armenia, and as an intern, you can contribute to Armenia’s progress. Volunteers are placed in government agencies, private companies, and NGOs relating to their career/interests, and internships are available in almost every field. During the week, interns volunteer at their assigned internship. On the weekends, interns embark on tours outside of Yerevan, including overnight trips to Artsakh and Javakhk. The Internship Director will also provide opportunities for you to take Armenian language lessons, attend weekly lecture series, cultural events, and any other activities in which the interns may show interest.
So if you are interested in a two month summer internship program in Yerevan… where you will climb the mountains and hills of Armenia, swim in the waters of Lake Sevan, interact with the villagers of Datev and explore the churches of every corner of Armenia… where you will teach an Armenian English, care for an orphan, take part in the culture and witness its beauty… it’s time to apply now! This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Take advantage of it while you can!
All interns are required to volunteer for a minimum of 30 hours per week (6 hours a day), Monday through Friday, at their respective job sites throughout the entire duration of the Internship program. Interns are not allowed to take days off unless they fall ill or are directed to do so by the Internship Director for excursions that may take place during weekdays. Interns should be proactive in their work environment and not wait for coworkers to assign tasks. Business in Yerevan tends to slow in the summer, so interns should be ready and willing to carry out any tasks they are assigned or capable of doing on their own.
Forums & Educationals
Interns will be required to attend one forum/educational per week, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday evenings. These topics will enlighten interns about Armenia’s current day issues, allow them to establish connections with resourceful others, and give them time to reflect on their experiences.
Interns may be directed to leave work earlier than usual on specified days to take part in community service projects implemented by the Internship Director. The Internship Director will schedule tentative service projects throughout the city of Yerevan, including, but not limited to; cleanup projects, visiting orphanages, etc.
The Internship program has a strong online presence via social media to allow interns to share their experiences with others who can follow the program daily. The Internship Director will be responsible for updating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the blog, but the interns are responsible for providing the content. All interns are expected to write blurbs about their experiences throughout the summer, which will be submitted to the Internship Director for posting. In instances during excursions or planned activities, interns may be asked to speak in a video on behalf of the program about what they are currently taking part in.
Excursions outside the city will take place on weekends, with some exceptions, the dates of which will be provided in advance. All interns MUST attend all planned excursions throughout the duration of the program. Over the next two months, interns will be exposed to an exceptional excursion experience, from visiting the usual tourist attractions, to finding themselves in a unique place they’ve never even heard of before.
How to Apply:
Armenian Youth Federation
Attn: Armenia Internship
80 Bigelow Ave.
Watertown, MA 02472
Program Dates: June 19, 2017 – August 18, 2017**
Application Deadline: January 8, 2017
Application Fee: $1,000
By April 1**, you will be informed of your acceptance status. Upon acceptance you will have until April 15 to submit a check covering the remaining fee of $500 for the program. Failure to submit appropriate fees will forfeit your application. This fee covers lodging for your time in Armenia, (June 19 – August 18) and weekend sightseeing trips to historical landmarks. The excursions are arranged by the program’s on-site directors and include meals, lodging, and transportation. Participants are responsible for the cost of airfare and other travel related costs, food, and weekday transportation in Yerevan. Further information will become available upon acceptance.
All applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and AYF membership is not necessary.
–PASSPORT/VISA: You should immediately apply for a passport if you do not already possess one. You will then receive further instructions from the Internship Director on obtaining visas. There will be an additional fee for a Tourist Visa.
–PHONE/SKYPE INTERVIEW: Once all your application materials are received, we will contact you for phone and Skype interviews to discuss your goals, experience, and skills.
Q: Who is responsible for the interns during their stay in Armenia?
A: The Internship Director, who is appointed by the AYF’s Central Executive, is responsible for the interns during their stay in Armenia. It is the Internship Director’s responsibility to secure an internship placement for the participants, find housing, ensure the safety of the interns in Armenia, and to organize excursions and other activities the group will participate in.
Q: Where do the interns stay?
A: Depending on the group’s size, the interns will stay at a house or apartment in downtown Yerevan, along with the Internship Director. The house/apartment will have all the basic necessities (hot water, laundry, etc.).
Q: What do the interns do?
A: During the week, interns report to work for six to seven hours a day, Monday through Friday. Interns are encouraged to roam Yerevan during their free time, as the city has so much to offer. On the weekends, interns embark on tours throughout Armenia, organized by the Internship Director.
Q: I don’t speak any Armenian. Is this going to be an issue?
A: No. Although interns fluent in Armenian will have an advantage communicating in the country, this should not discourage anybody from applying to the program. Most locals understand basic English. Moreover, the interns are always together; one can always translate if needed. In fact, our sister organization, Birthright Armenia, offers Armenian language classes, which interns are encouraged to attend if they want to strengthen their Armenian.
Q: How much money do I need to bring with me to Armenia?
A: Living in Armenia is relatively inexpensive. Interns should be prepared to bring a minimum of $1200 with them to last comfortably throughout the entire duration of the program. There are plenty of currency exchange kiosks throughout Yerevan, so cash is preferred.
Q: Do I need to make my own travel arrangements?
A: Yes. All interns are required to provide their own travel arrangements to Armenia. The Internship Director will pick up/drop off and provide transportation to/from Zvartnots International Airport upon the arrival and departure of the interns.
“I went on the Internship twice. There is just something about Armenia I can’t get enough of. I’m addicted to its people, its language, its culture… In a sense, I feel fulfilled when I’m there. And to this day, I thank the AYF Internship for allowing me to feel fulfilled, because there is no other feeling in the world like it. I hope to move there soon.”
-Arpa Vartanian, 2010 Intern with the Tufenkian Foundation, assisting in teaching children English, & 2012 Intern with the Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation, assisting in economic & developmental research.
“I had always known I had a strong passion for nursing, but it was the moment a worried mother thanked me for the way I cared for her newborn son that I realized how rewarding this profession was. Not only was I doing what I love to do by helping people, I was helping the people of my homeland. Working in Hayastan allowed me to grow as an Armenian and taught me so much about our rich culture. The AYF Internship gave me the opportunity to combine my passion for nursing with my Armenian culture.”
-Audrey Mardoian, 2012 Intern with the Arabkir Medical Center, assisting in nursing and patient care.
“You’ll take the marshutka as your form of transportation, buy matnakash from the corner market, learn the slang, and make friends with your neighbors. You’re going to be immersed in your culture. What more could you want?”
-Lori Boghigian, 2012 Intern with the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, assisting in activity planning.
“Making life-long friendships with locals has made me realize that different dialects & lifestyles mean nothing. We are all one and the same… We are all Armenian. There is nothing more fulfilling than feeling right at home in the Motherland. The sense of belonging… It’s amazing.”
-Shogheeg Apkarian, 2012 Intern with the Center of Medical Genetics (CMG), assisting in laboratory research.
“Seeing one of my kids walk out of a convenient store with an apple instead of a bag of chips or soda… That was when I realized the smallest action can make the biggest difference. This is something I will never forget.”
-Narineh Abrahamian, 2012 Intern with the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), educating children about nutrition.
“Today, almost two years after the Internship, I still receive calls and messages from the children I worked with, thanking me for just simply being their friend; something more rewarding than words can ever describe. I will never forget these kids…”
-Ava Manokian, 2011 Intern with the Tufenkian Foundation, assisting in activity planning and teaching children English.