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 2020 was evacuated in March 2020 along with 7,300 other Peace Corps Volunteer as a result of COVID-19*. I worked as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) volunteer in the Ararat Valley where I helped in 3rd through 6th form. Peace Corps has been in Armenia since 1992, and you can visit the official Peace Corps Armenia homepage here for more information.
Note: Neither Peace Corps worldwide nor the PC Armenia post has closed: I am still optimistic that I, and other a27 volunteers, will be able to return to service in a few months.
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 Peace Corps 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.
PC Armenia Table of Contents:
Peace Corps Armenia: Pre-departure
Peace Corps Armenia: raw garlic is spicy
Pre-Service Training Choose Your Own Adventure
Peace Corps Armenia: with dust in my hair
Peace Corps Armenia: lingua humins
Peace Corps Armenia: dancing and lights
Peace Corps Armenia: narrative arc
Peace Corps Armenia: special everywhere
Peace Corps Armenia: GLOW meghri
Peace Corps Armenia: blink and you’ll miss it
Peace Corps Armenia: andzrev galis e
Peace Corps Armenia: for example
Peace Corps Armenia: like it is
Peace Corps Armenia: how should i say?
Peace Corps Armenia: already winter
Peace Corps Armenia: berlin, dresden, home
Peace Corps Armenia: stories to keep you warm
Peace Corps Armenia: things i thought i knew
Peace Corps Armenia: the bees came back, and we’re waiting
Peace Corps Armenia: Evacuation
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!)