Students’ Experiences: Incoming

Anahit Shababyan-University of Murcia, Spain

                   Being Armenian, it has always been exciting for me to try back home experience, to study, and to be surrounded by Armenians. I was even more excited when I was granted the opportunity of studying exactly at AUA, knowing its reputation in Armenia. I was coming with high expectations as we had several classes with AUA professors in my home university, and the latter has been even more than fulfilled. I learned a lot during this semester, and the gained knowledge was not only thanks to professors but to the students as well. The main differences from my university that I can mention are the course structure and the way classes are conducted. I really enjoyed that the classes were very interactive and full of examples from the real world; professors encouraged participation and valued every opinion. I want to emphasize the professionalism of the instructors. They are really interested in motivating the students, and what is very important personally for me is that in AUA, it’s not only about the knowledge that you are gaining, but it’s also about the values that you are taking with you from the University. I like the culture here; the people are very welcoming and friendly. The food is delicious. The fact that Armenia is an old country, it has a lot of history and there is a lot of stuff to learn, so the tours were very educational and I enjoyed them a lot, especially the part of eating afterward.

Maxime Rodrigus-University of Mons, Belgium

                   Armenia is unknown to most of us in Europe. Personally, I had never heard of it. When I decided to come to Armenia, I didn’t even know where it was on the map. When I told my friends that I was going to Armenia, they thought it was a Muslim country kinda like Iran. I chose Armenia because it’s a hidden treasure and it should be known. Another reason is that AUA has a great infrastructure, great programs and I knew I was going to have the best experience of my life.

Dynamism, quality, and professionalism; those are the words I remember from AUA. I enjoyed my time in AUA more than ever. I had friends, a wonderful girlfriend; my time in AUA was more than interesting. AUA has the best study abroad program for in-bounds because the people in charge of it are devoted and always ready to help. I can say that they beat all their colleagues in other universities! 

Armenia is a hidden treasure unknown for most Europeans. People are hospitable, the weather is 300 days of sun per year, everything is cheap. What else can you dream about? AUA is also a very prestigious university and can be proud of the quality of the services provided to locals and international students. It was for me a new way of teaching which I deeply enjoyed. I probably learned a lot more in AUA than in my local university where they focus on theoretical concepts instead of practical like in AUA. Instructors listen to us and try to teach us something not always common in other universities.

People in Armenia have more values, everything has more sense. It was hard for me to understand that. I learned a lot thanks to Armenians. Today I have a lot more values. Something I think isn’t right in Armenia compared to my country is the freedom of women. I feel like sometimes women lose their freedom when they get into a relationship in Armenia. However, I love the Armenian culture!!!

I had previous experience in the US. However, Armenians helped me, as I mentioned above, to explore a new version of myself with a lot more values. I loved a girl for the first time while I was in Armenia. I discovered new feelings.

I had the most wonderful girlfriend. It’s funny but she helped me discover the culture, the food, places, … It was amazing! I also really enjoyed the pubs and food!

 

Jaime Ramos-Fresno State University, USA

                  I like the culture here; the people are very welcoming and friendly. The food is delicious. The fact that Armenia is an old country, it has a lot of history and there is a lot of stuff to learn, so the tours were very educational and I enjoyed them a lot, especially the part of eating afterward.

The academic part was much tougher than I expected, they were very challenging, especially the math, I showed love with mechanics, but it was very tough.

Honestly, the best part was the friends I made, and as I said the people are very welcoming here, and I will try to keep the friendship I made with them, hopefully forever, for the rest of my life. I have told them whenever they come to the US, they are more than welcome to call me, so we can meet and when I come here, I will make sure to call them as well.

There is one thing I would like to change in AUA. In my university in California, there are more extra-curricular activities, so I would suggest expanding the out-of-class activities that students can be part of. Also, I would like to mention that here the professors are more focused on, for example, they do more office hours and more group office hours. In the US, at least in my university that’s not the case, if you want to go and get more help, you should go by yourself to the professor.

There are very obvious cultural differences between Armenia and the US.  I would say, Armenia is much more conservative, but in AUA, the people are so open to talk and get to know one another, but the cultural differences are much more there. But it’s not bad. If you make a friendship with someone, it’s a true one. People here are very trustworthy, at least the people I have met so far.

 

 

Francisco Javier Merello-University of Cadiz, Spain

                  I would like to note that academically, I had a lot better experience here at AUA than in Spain. In four months, I learned more than in four years in Spain.

The life experience here was much different from the one in my country. The people here are very warm, friendly and they treat me very well.

I really liked the tour organized by the Study Abroad & International Student Office here. I liked all of them, but most of all I like Geghard and Khor Virap. I had a great view of Ararat.

The best thing about Armenia is people. They are unique and very warm.

There are a lot of differences between my university and AUA. Here the professors are more precise, strict, and helpful. Also, I have noticed many differences between Spain and Armenia. Here, people are more conservative. Both countries are warm but the way of communication is different.

 

 

 

Manon Deparis- SKEMA Business School, France

                  I am really glad to have this experience to spend a semester in Armenia and in AUA. I really had a great experience. I met beautiful people and really enjoyed my life in the city, also I enjoyed the courses here, the quality was really high, my fellows were really helpful and nice to me, so I really enjoyed that.

I think that Armenia is a country that is moving very fast and I think that AUA has been able to understand this transition and they encourage the students to make the Armenia of tomorrow.

The only thing that is different from my country is the conservatism that Armenia has that is a bit different from my culture but it has also good sides. Armenians really value their history, culture and families, and their nationality. It’s really important.

Traveling in the country was really wonderful. I managed to visit a lot of different places. I enjoyed the countryside and villages. I saw a culture that is so different from mine. I discovered a lot of things about myself. I think I grow up during these travels. I wish I would be able to come back to Armenia.

 

Adrian Garcia Rodriguez-University of Murcia, Spain

                            Armenia is a country far from Europe and Spain, so it is not known or we have little information about it. Before coming to Armenia, I did not know anything about the country. There is one professor from my university that used to be an instructor in AUA, Paco. He told me that I have the possibility to go to an American university in Armenia through the Erasmus + program, something that surprised me a lot, but I decided to give it a try.

The most challenging part was to improve my level of English so that I could communicate with everyone and understand the lessons. The course structure in AUA is much different from Murcia. In my university, final exams have a high weight in the final grades. However, in AUA the daily participation in classes has more value, which is something that I like a lot.

I have noticed not too many differences between the two countries, only people’s schedules. In Spain, we go out late at night, but in Armenia people go out earlier and pubs close early at night in comparison with Spain. I love to communicate and share my culture with other people, as well as meet other cultures and learn from other people, so it helped me a lot because I met people from many different places and cultures.

I would say one of the best things about Armenia is that it’s a really safe country. I visited many places, and I really liked Garni a lot. I also liked the food. It is cheap and tasty.

The time spent with my friends was awesome and really funny.

The only challenge I faced was that I was too far from home, and my family was not able to come and visit me.

        Come to Armenia, you will love it, and you will love AUA even more!

 

Matthieu Van Der Vleugel-University of Mons, Belguim

                   I came to Armenia through the Erasmus+ Program and spent half of the semester. I had to leave Armenia early because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic situation. In Belgium, people know almost nothing about Armenia, so I decided to come and discover the country. So, I came and learned about Armenian people and culture. I noticed that people in Armenia are more conservative than in Belgium.

The most challenging part was having homework and quizzes regularly. In UMONS we do not have daily quizzes and the attendance of the classes is not mandatory. Classrooms are smaller in AUA compared with my university, and there is more proximity to the instructor.  

In Armenia, I felt very safe. I mainly used a taxi as a means of transportation. I don’t remember the cost, but it was very cheap compared with Belgium.

I recommend going to the trips organized by the International Office. They are really interesting. I also spent a beautiful day in Lake Sevan. I liked it a lot.