As both a former AYF-YOARF Intern and Director, I can say without hesitation that the internship program is one of the best things an Armenian can experience. I had been to Armenia four times prior to being an intern in 2017, and I did not think my fifth summer there would be much different. However, at the end of that summer, I realized that the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Internship program offers much more than just two months in Armenia. This program gives a real, firsthand experience into the daily life of the place we should be calling home.
Here are my top five reasons why you should consider the AYF Internship in Armenia this summer.
- It is an unparalleled introduction to our motherland.
If you have not been to Armenia yet, then there is no excuse not to do the internship. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the tears streaming down the faces of my fellow interns when they saw Mount Ararat for the first time in person. Also, being around other interns and directors who have been in the country before will help your immersion into the lifestyle, the language, and above all the rich and important history.
- You will further advance your career by gaining international work experience.
I recently graduated college in May of 2018, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t have my current job if it weren’t for the AYF Internship. Your work placement is tailored to you based on what you want to gain from your internship experience. During the interview stages, my internship separated me from the competition. Potential employers respected and admired my relevant international experience in my field of study. Also, there is a variety of internship opportunities available, which will allow you to work at multiple placements throughout the summer, if desired.
- You will explore Armenia during unmatched weekend excursions.
Having gone on the excursions as both intern and director, I can tell you that the AYF Internship offers the most extensive excursion schedule. As an intern, not only will you see Echmiadzin and Sardarabad, but you will also spend time with your fellow AYF ungers in both Yerevan and Artsakh. You will climb the tallest mountain in Armenia, Mount Aragats, and you’ll get back down to ground level in time to celebrate the ancient holiday tradition of Vartivar with the children in the streets. These personal interactions with the locals in Armenia is what sets the AYF Internship apart from other programs.
- You will take part in a hallmark period for our nation.
Given the recent Velvet Revolution and the extreme optimism throughout the country, I envy those who will spend their next summer on the Internship. The hope that Armenia is headed in the right direction is more palpable than ever. Although there’s been a considerable amount of change within the past year, the effects of these changes will be ever present by the summer of 2019. The history of our second independence may only go back 28 years, but you will witness developments that will impact the nation for many years to come.
- It will show you Armenia for what it truly is: a country with opportunity and growth.
This is by far the most important takeaway from the AYF Internship. More and more internship alumni are repatriating to Armenia. As a Diasporan Armenian, you will better understand how you can contribute in developing and improving this already beautiful country. The AYF Internship ignites a rare flame—one that serves as the guiding light to bring young Armenian leaders back home.