A short guideline

What new challenges were waiting those young people, who decided to make one of the important steps in their lives – to come to Armenia and build their future here. We asked a few young repatriates to provide with a short guideline for those, who are preparing to move to Armenia for the first time.

Text : Armen Mouradian /  illustration : Mukuch Chanchanyan


Adrineh Grigoryan
Documentary diretor
Moved to Armenia from USA in 2008
I can give 15 advices I didn’t know when I was moving to Armenia: 1) Forget about everything and be ready to survive in a whole new system; 2) You can either like or dislike the system, but you have to understand that you can’t control it – you only can become a particle of the stream; 3) Be tolerant with those who say that you don’t speak Armenian very well; 4) Take a chance to walk everywhere; 5) Use every single chance to visit live concerts; 6) Buy vegetables and fruits in near markets, not supermarkets; 7) Feed cats and dogs in your yard; 8) Try buffalo matsun, it’s magic; 9) Use only taxis with a counter and don’t complain, when taxi drivers try to cheat you on money – it’s everywhere; 10) Yerevan is one of the safest cities. You can go home alone at any time. Though, I’m trying to avoid going home alone at late nights, when streets are empty; 11) Get Fuxwell knife, it can save your life; 12) Go to movie screenings at a place called the Club every Tuesday at 20:00; 13) If you need medical examination, you can ask your friend for an advice or ask at any repatriate groups in Facebook; 14) Always keep change equal to 600 AMD; 15) Visit Dalan art-cafe at Abovyan, 12.
Enough for free advices. The rest you should learn at the spot and by yourself. And remember – the real fun is discovering by yourself.

Karine Vann
Journalist, Editor
Moved to Armenia from USA in 2014
If you decide to move to Armenia, you should understand, that it’s your decision, not others’. There could be a lot of people, who would put their hand on your shoulder and say, that “Your Homeland needs you.” If my decisions were based on their advice, I would have left the country the first day, when I met the guys who were thinking that I’m crazy to leave United States and move to Armenia. You also don’t have to listen to those, who are sure that you can’t find job in Armenia. You don’t have to listen to both positive and negative people. It’s your decision, and you have to be responsible for that and never blame anyone.

Maria Aghisyan
Moved to Armenia from Ukraine in 2014
If you’re looking for some action and crazy fun, Yerevan can hardly suit you. But on the other hand Armenia is a great place for those, who are sick of clubs and looking for a place, where they can rethink their lives, take a deep breath and find new ways to continue. No, life isn’t stopped here, it’s just different. Many things here are based on old traditions, but you should never consider Armenia as an archeological museum or some beautiful nature reserve. Things become more interesting when we talk about art and culture. It’s not very right to stay in Yerevan, you should go to mountains, and if you’re lucky, to stay there for a while. Even roads that go through mountains are awesome. You should remember, that people sometimes are too concerned with your personal life, be that your successes or failures. People here are closer to each other, sometimes feels that there are no boundaries between them. Introverts, just take this part into consideration.

Vrezh Harutyunyan
Landscape architect
Moved to Armenia from USA in 2012
The biggest disappointment you can experience here, is that people are afraid to be unique, and also they don’t believe in themselves and their better future. One should consider, that very many people here are not so serious about their jobs. I know hod-dog makers from Aleppo, who put their soul into their job, but I’ve rarely seen such kind of approach even in good restaurants. They only want to earn some money. I would strongly advice to anybody willing to visit Armenia to study their rights and be prepared even for confrontations. First, you have to do some research, figure out how you’re going to maintain yourself, and whether your skills are needed there. You should be prepared to become either small or big part of one small world, where everything looks bigger. Also you should never consider yourself as a hero. You should understand, that this country lives its life without you not so bad, though I have to admit, that also not so good. Remember, here you have to do what you can do best, and everything will be ok.

Kazar Akopyan
Founder of Street Workout Armenia
Moved to Armenia from Russia in 2014
You should never listen to local taxi-drivers and relatives, who will make you believe, that everything is bad here. Such kind of rumors are not good source of information. And be prepared for a famous phrase “it’s not a good place to live in.” Also be prepared for a situation, where you are considered some crazy man, who came to Armenia only because he had no other place to go. Actually, there are a lot of good things here. Only the fact, that you live in your Homeland, surrounded by “hommies”, can give you an additional source of energy. I really feel it. One should assume, that there is much need in him in Armenia. It’s a big illusion. In reality, there is a huge competition between specialists in every sphere. Be prepared for it and know your strength and weaknesses.