Welcome to my homepage for my Peace Corps Armenia Blog! I have been in Armenia since March 2019, and will likely COS (close of service) in June 2019. I work as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) volunteer in the Ararat Valley.
Armenia is a landlocked country in the South Caucuses. It’s largely rocky and mountainous, but has exceptionally diverse biology and ecology. For example, while I live in a climate described as “semi-desert”, other volunteers live in sub-alpine regions.
Armenia is bordered by Georgia to the North, Azerbaijan to the East, Iran to the South, and Turkey to the West. Armenia has its own language and alphabet, both distinct from other Indo-European languages.
I’m not a historian, but the history of Armenia is interesting and important. I’d recommended reading here for more.
What do I do?
As a TEFL volunteer, I co-teach English with my counterpart. I run extracurricular activities including an English club, and tutor students. I work to improve my Armenian regularly (have yet to see any progress), and I am currently involved in several Peace Corps projects. You can read about the week I spent at GLOW girl’s leadership camp here.
I also update my blog, sweat a lot, run, and sweat even more.
What to Read:
Looking to start reading about Peace Corps Armenia, but noticed I’ve written an unreasonable amount of posts?
Looking for packing advice? Here’s the link.
Maybe you want to read about the pre-departure process, and the feelings and preparation associated with that. Click here.
Maybe you’re looking for some light-hearted content, and some clarity into what Pre-Service Training (PST) might actually look like. Click here.
Or you want to read about the heat, and what daily life looked like for me this summer. Click here.
Maybe you’re looking for something short and sweet, but something honest. Click here.
Want to browse the full archive by title? Click here.
If you’ve made it this far, you might be a future Peace Corps Volunteer. I remember where you were. I remember sitting on the couch at my parents’ house, scrolling through volunteer blogs and wondering if that’s what my life is going to look like in a year. It wasn’t.
Here’s what I wish I would’ve read then:
- Everyone’s experience is going to look very different. Everyone is facing different challenges, and there’s no point in comparing or judging other volunteers. Everyone is doing their best; including you.
- No one is going to give you good advice. But you’ll be able to figure it all out on your own.
- Don’t overthink packing. You can get almost anything you need here, a lot of the time for cheaper.
- Except do bring clothes you like and that will last, and American coffee.
- The problems you have at home, the things you don’t like about yourself there, are still going to be problems and things you struggle with here. A new place or experience can’t fix things for you.
- “Be where you are”. An RPCV from Uganda told me this when I met her before I left, and it resonates. It’s so easy to be physically here, but already planning the next thing, or invested in life at home online, or live for phone calls to friends here and back home. I’m definitely guilty of leaning on that. But I’m here to be in Armenia, and I need to remember to enjoy the place that I am.
- Your best is plenty. You don’t have to be perfect. You’re allowed to struggle with things.
- Laugh it off. When you lock yourself in a bathroom, when you boldly insist that your mom is a shower teacher, when you accidently ask for a condom instead of ice cream. That stuff is funny.
- Remember that people everywhere are people, and we’ve got so much more in common than we don’t.
- Don’t criticize your host country AT ALL, but especially on social media. They are hosting you, and critiquing things you don’t understand is a bad look.
- For the sake of irony: Don’t give unsolicited advice to the incoming cohort. They won’t like it.
Please keep in mind I can only speak for my experiences; yours will be different. No matter what you do, or prepare for, or stress about, ամեն ինչ լավ կլինի/”amen inch lav kilni“/Everything will be fine.
Peace Corps Armenia has looked like a lot of things to me. This is some of them.
(All views expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the views of the Peace Corps, the US government or the Armenian government!)