By Haig Megerdichian
AYF Greater Boston “Nejdeh” Chapter
The summer of 2019 was my first time visiting Armenia, and I couldn’t have been more blown away. Every individual I encountered had to be the most friendly and kind-hearted person, and they each brought a smile to my face. Throughout my entire stay, the conversations that I had with local people I just met, and even those visiting from the United States, usually included them asking, “Are you happy to be here?” YES! Each day I either learned something new or saw something that earlier I had learned about and imagined I would someday see. My two-month stay in Armenia was amazing. The country was so breathtaking, and each day I was reminded that I was actually in the motherland from which my ancestors came.
Apart from the country itself, I was fortunate enough to take part in two internships. The first month-and-a-half (up until our departure to Javahkh) I interned at the Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF) on Parpetsi Street. HDIF taught me a lot about what it takes to run a small business, the problems that a company faces daily, and most importantly what steps need to be taken to start a business from the ground up. Some of my daily tasks involved updating and reorganizing the product website, working in the retail shop, and doing errands such as making trips to the local post office. I also researched and wrote a proposal to submit to the Armenian government presenting the country’s struggles with domestic and international shipping and making recommendations on how to fix the issues. This was a great project to work on as I learned a lot about legal and legislative aspects of real-world companies.
My second internship was at the Zvartnots Airport where I worked in the office at Karas Winery. Karas was my favorite internship mainly because it was more in line with my career goals, was more hands-on and involved taking on larger responsibilities. Even though my stay was much shorter than at HDIF, I worked with the Karas marketing team on an exciting project studying competitor wine companies. This included researching advertising techniques, pricing, selling locations, restaurant recommendations, and design strategies all over Yerevan. My first few days of work involved traveling to each store and restaurant in Yerevan that carries Karas wine, gathering data from the staff members, and noting organizational differences. Aside from my research, I lent a helping hand with whatever needed to be done at the airport office, as well as remotely assisting the Karas office in the Armavir Valley where the winery is located. I was fortunate enough to visit the winery a couple of times where I was able to further expand my knowledge and skills while working with their team on a few different projects. This opportunity was extremely beneficial as I made a connection using my education in the U.S. to the real business world.
Unlike the other AYF interns, I was fortunate to participate in two internships where I was able to take a broader look at various sides of the business world. I have changed my college major since my internship this past summer and value the business experience I gained; it will go with me as I pursue my new focus on finance. Each internship provided me an opportunity to gain real-world experience that will contribute tremendously to my success.