Monica Shakhbanaryan: “Participating in the “Ari Tun” Program helped me learn to speak Armenian”

In an interview with Hayern Aysor, participant of the 2013 “Ari Tun” Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora, Moscow-Armenian Monica Shakhbandaryan, who participated in the reunion with participants of the program of previous years, opened up and said she would get bored of visits to her relatives’ homes and receptions when she would visit Armenia with her parents.

During a regular visit, what saved Monica from boredom was a commercial about the “Ari Tun” Program that she saw on television. After watching the commercial, she got very excited and decided to participate in the program.

“I have the greatest memories of the “Ari Tun” Program. Those two weeks were enough for me to make friends and go sightseeing in Armenia. I still keep in touch with my peers from Spain, Lebanon, France, England and Russia. For the past four years since the program ended, my friends and I have been visiting Armenia to spend our summer vacations, and even our parents and grandparents know each other,” Monica said.

Monica also said that Yerevan is becoming the place for her and the other youth to gather, take walks on the streets and visit places of leisure and historic and cultural sites.

They have agreed to participate in the “Diaspora” Summer School Program of the RA Ministry of Diaspora together as well.

Monica says the “Ari Tun” Program helped her learn to speak Armenian and considers this one of the major achievements in her life. She said the following about this with excitement: “When I first came to Armenia, I didn’t know Armenian very well. I only knew the words “barev” (hello) and “tstesutyun” (goodbye). To learn Armenian, I attended the “Hayordats Tun” Armenian Sunday school in Moscow, but I didn’t achieve high results. It is safe to say that the “Ari Tun” Program helped me learn to speak Armenian because I was constantly communicating with people in Armenian. Now I feel fully Armenian.”

Another thing that makes the “Ari Tun” Program a success is the fact that the young Diaspora Armenians don’t forget their roots and visit Armenia again with the call of the soul.

It should be stated that this pro-national program also helps young Diaspora Armenians speak Armenian with each other. Living in different countries, interacting in different languages and being under the influence of different cultures, they stay true to the native language, and it is the Armenian language that helps unite them around Armenia.

Gevorg Chichyan

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