Story of a foreigner in Armenia Vol. 1

Armenia had been a very mysterious country for me before I visited there for the first time. Even after I arrived in the country, I had a lot of experiences which I would have had otherwise. For me, Armenia is a nation of fantasy which shows a lot of features that people would imagine in the world of fantasy…

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Hi guys! from today, I will keep writing about my experiences, opinions and thoughts about Armenia as a foreigner who did not have any connections or relation with both Armenians and Armenia. But before starting writing about them, let me introduce myself.

I am a Japanese guy who was born in Japan and raised until 18 years old when I went to the other countries for studying and living for the first time.  I spent quite sometime in the US and Australia as well as some months in Armenia. So, I am kind of different from those Japanese who do not have the sense of global citizenship and my perspectives / views can be very different from other Japanese. Yet, as a foreigner to Armenia, probably I have some thoughts which would be common among these foreigners who have never been to Armenia and do not have any connections with Armenian and its people. Ok, that is quite enough for my introduction.

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From here ok, let me write about my story related to Armenia.

<Why I got connected to Armenia>

In 2009, I had a chance to go to Armenia to stay there for some months. It was my first time to visit Armenia.  At that time, I was studying international social development at an Australian university in Australia. The course aims at teaching students about how to develop the society especially in developing countries from bottom up (bottom-up approach) which entails the idea that in order to develop society, it is the most important that outside who comes to the local society needs to “work with” rather than “work for” the local people because it is believed that we need to apply the experiences and brilliant ways of living which would be otherwise ignored and would help accelerate developing the society with the external knowledge together. They believe that the locally elaborated wisdom should have some importance embedded in it. Anyway, I think I should stop talking too much about the subject.

During the course, the students were required to select one developing country which they will visit and be involved in a project of social development. Actually, I was interested in Russian culture at that time and was interested in vising Russia. But, Russia, according to my professor, was already a developed country and I could not choose it as my destination.

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So, I found Ukraine and Armenia would be interesting for me because they used to be a part of Soviet Union where they share some kind of Russian influence among the countries. Then, I asked my Ukrainian friend to find me a place/project to be involved and at the same time started listing up some NGOs in Armenia. My Ukrainian friend was slow to help me find a NGO and because of my short temper (lol), I decided to approach some NGOs in Armenia by myself via email. Then, one NGO among them quickly replied to me one day after the email (Actually, I think it was a very rare case after  I know about Armenians! sorry! lol) and got good impression about Armenians as a result.

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Then, the president of the NGO asked me to meet one Armenian guy who was teaching some classes in a famous university in Australia then. So, I decided to meet the guy anyway and see how I would feel in order to decide whether or not I want to go to Armenia for the project or not.

This is the first point where I got a connection with Armenia.

Ok, today, I will stop writing about my story. I will write more about it later!

To be continued…