Deadlines Fast Approaching for AGBU’s 2013 Summer Internship Program

AGBU is now accepting applications for its 2013 Summer

Internship Program, putting the amazing opportunity to live and work in the world’s most exciting cities within reach for Armenian college students.

Each internship program destination – Moscow, New York and Yerevan – offers participants something different, but equally rewarding. In Yerevan, students meet with government officials who are leading the country into the future, while tours of Armenia’s historical landmarks and a four-day journey to Karabakh bring them closer to their past. In Moscow, participants attend seminars with executives at global companies and look forward to a mid-summer trip to St. Petersburg,
a favorite annual tradition. In New York, a series of social events and networking activities give meaning to the phrase “the city that never sleeps.”

No matter what city they’re in, AGBU interns are always among their diasporan peers, who quickly become lifelong friends. They’re also positioning themselves for careers – in recent years, AGBU proudly congratulated many interns who were offered jobs at their host institutions. Wherever their internships take them, every student leaves the program with the resources, skills, and strong resumes they need to succeed.

For more information on the AGBU Summer Internship Program, please visit: http://agbu-internship.org/ or call (212) 319-6383.

The competitive selective process is already underway. All interested students are urged to apply now. Scholarships are awarded based on need and academic merit.

Application deadlines and contact information for each program are listed in the ad here..

An LA Armenian Becomes a Moscow Armenian… just for the Summer

As our Moscow Summer Intern Program wraps up this weekend, one participant, Garo Yaghsezian, takes a look back at what made his time as a temporary Muscovite so wonderful:

My name is Garo Yaghsezian, and I am from Los Angeles, California. I attend Loyola Marymount University where I study Political Science and International Relations with an emphasis on the Middle East. I study different political and cultural aspects of diverse countries, people, and cultures that inhabit this world. So what can I say about Moscow?

Well, once you look past the mess and dirt that is expected of a city with this large of a magnitude, you truly start to see…well, more mess and dirt. I guess you are waiting for a “just kidding,” right? Well, I’m serious and I’m even trying to maintain some decorum on the issue. The only thing that is making my summer in Moscow not only enjoyable but also rewarding is the fact that I am here through MSIP.

Personally,

I am not fond of the city; what I am fond of, however, is the amazing Armenian youth and program volunteers who reside in it. In the past 4 weeks, I have not only met fellow Armenians participating in the internship, but I have also met a strong knit and active group of local Armenians who have shown me a different side to the same culture. They are always willing to join and participate in our events, sometimes with even more enthusiasm than some of our interns. We laugh, we joke, we dance (not so well I might add). But most importantly, we realize that there is nothing more important than forming a strong bond with our fellow Armenians.

In the beginning, the internship was the main reason I came to Moscow. I wanted to experience life in the working world. I was so interested and eager to work in an international company that I thought anything else I got out of the program was just an added bonus. I didn’t realize that my internship would fall second to an even greater reward. Being able to experience living in a different country with fellow Armenians from around the world is an amazing opportunity. We are different, but at the same time we understand each other on a deeper level. We realize that, although we might come from the US, Canada, France, Bulgaria, or London, we are first and foremost Armenian.

During these six weeks, we have a jam-packed schedule. Our week usually starts off with Armenian dance class. Although our looks say otherwise, if you were to judge us on our dancing skills, we are the farthest thing from being Armenian. I guess that trait skipped a generation. Apart from being rhythmically challenged, we still enjoy learning Kochari and dancing to traditional Armenian music. Russian Language class is our second activity and is that a trip. I thought learning French was a challenge. Nevertheless, we always put our best foot forward and try our best.

Our voyage to St. Petersburg was amazing. It was our time to unwind, relax, and experience Russia’s “Northern Capital.” It was an interesting and educational trip, filled with sightseeing at Peterhof and Hermitage, boat rides along the Neva River, and Vartavar with locals at the Armenian church.

All in all, I’d like to thank the special people I have met through this program, interns and volunteers alike. You guys made it possible for me to look past this city and truly enjoy Moscow. A special thanks to our coordinators, Lusine and Lilit, who have put in an absurd amount of time and effort into making this program an unforgettable experience. We are eternally grateful for all your hard work..

MSIP Intern Reflects on a Trip of Beauty

Moscow Summer Internship Program (MSIP) student Tatevik Sargsyan took a moment to remember the stunning city she encountered during her group’s trip to St. Petersburg in July.

From Russia with Love
Growing up in Armenia and having had my share of Russian history, I was excited to see St. Petersburg, Russia’s famous “Window to the West.” Since childhood I’ve been told that the city dazzles with its rich culture, striking architecture, enormous museums, and of course, the Kirov (now Mariinsky) ballet. The prospect of being able to share this amazing experience with my newly found Armenian friends made me anticipate it that much more.

Our journey to St. Petersburg started in the morning and on a very interesting note, a downpour. However, nothing could break our spirits. The trip to St. Petersburg traditionally made overnight on the “sleeping train,” was upgraded to a ride on the new high speed train Sapsan, with the maximum speed of 250km/h, which cut our journey to as little as four hours. Having arrived in the afternoon we were all a little bit tired. As we stepped out from the train station, we found ourselves immediately on the famous Nevsky Prospekt that cuts through the historical center of the city.

The ride to the hotel was really short as it was situated in the courtyard of St. Catherine’s Armenian church, one of the two Armenian churches positioned perfectly on Nevsky Prospekt. The façade of the church combines elements of both baroque architecture and traditional Armenian details. So as not to lose time, we decided to start our quest immediately. As we strolled down the streets, I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful architecture: every building we passed was like a monument. The first stop was the famous Dom Knigi bookstore located in one of the most beautiful buildings in St. Petersburg. Directly opposite it was the monumental Kazansky Cathedral.

The city was founded by one of Russia’s great emperors, Peter the Great. When he built this city on a swamp his subjects simply laughed at him but when it was declared the new capital, they were dissatisfied. Unlike Moscow’s red bricks, golden domes and strict demeanor, St. Petersburg’s network of canals and baroque architecture give the city a kind of a warm and somewhat Italian flavor. No doubt it is often called the Venice of the East. I was a little bit sad that we had missed the peak of the legendary White Nights (in June)—Beliye Nochi as the Russians call them. Still the first few days the sky stayed bright till 11 o’clock at night. We spent that night on a boat cruise through the heart of the midnight city, watching the spectacle of the Neva River bridges opening.

The following morning promised to be highly productive. We were able to visit Peterhof—the Russian Versailles, a reminder of the beauty that a man can create. I found myself in a kingdom of fountains. The view to the Baltic Sea was highly appreciated. The amazing pictures we took will always remind me of the magical hours spent there.

The other highlights of our trip were the enormous and impressive Palace Square with the Winter Palace, the old residence of Russian tsars—nowadays mostly known as the main building of Hermitage Museum; St Isaac’s Cathedral—an architectural marvel; and the enthralling Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. The pictures taken in the rain from the observation walkway at the base of the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral were both chilling and breathtaking. Another stop was the first structure to be built in Peter the Great’s Petersburg: the Peter and Paul Fortress—an emblem of the current city.
At noon we were hugely surprised to hear the loud cannon that is shot daily—a tradition started in the 19th century.

A whole day spent at the state Hermitage Museum was not enough to see even one percent of the whole collection. Three million artifacts of world culture can be admired by anyone interested in history and art. Experts say that if you were to spend a minute at every exhibit it would still take seven years before you will have seen them all.
All of these incredible experiences wouldn’t have been the same without the most adventurous, fun-loving group of people I have ever known. During this internship program, I have found true friends, who have encouraged me to try new and interesting things, who share the same passions as me and who have showed me the importance of being an Armenian and of being proud of it every minute. I can’t wait for the next few weeks..

Dispatches from Moscow — Michelle Deherian Writes About MSIP 2012

Zdrastvouyte!

My name is Michelle Deherian and I am a proud Armenian from Canada. I am a 5th year psychology student studying at York University in Toronto and by nature I am fascinated with learning about and observing human inter action. Some important questions arise in everyday life; what defines an individual’s self-concept? How does one differ from those in their environment? And most importantly, how do they interact with and live in a society which thrives on social acceptance?

Well, here I am, living and breathing Moscow, Russia — the beautiful architecture, the most complicated subway system I have ever experienced and the fashionistas who grace the streets of Moscow with their presence. To be honest, upon my arrival to take part in the AGBU Moscow Summer Internship Program (MSIP) I was extremely nervous. I had no idea what I was getting myself into as far as what I was going to see, especially with the potential culture shock I was anticipating. Now, the greatest unsettled argument in the field of Psychology is the nature versus nurture debate. Are we who we are based on genetics or does the environment we live in shape our personal characteristics? Through simple observation since my arrival here in Moscow, I can proudly say that being Armenian comes with a universal feeling of greatness.

Whether you live in Russia, Armenia, Canada, America, France or Bulgaria you have the same caring, hardworking, and fun-loving mentality. My fellow interns are amazing; I could not have selected better people to represent their respective countries. It’s only been a week, and we’ve already grown as a family, and I feel as though I have known them my entire life. We could not be where we are without our nurturing caregivers, Lilit and Lusiné, who have helped us with a comfortable transition to Moscow life. Last but not least, the SIVAM Volunteers have been very helpful from day one. They have gone well out of their way to make sure we are having fun and learning as much as we can about this great country. It has only been a week since we have been here, but we have been so busy with the welcome dinner, Armenian dance classes, Russian language classes, meeting with entrepreneurs, and of course enjoying the night life that time has flown.

This first week has been a great introduction for what I’m sure will be a more eventful five weeks to come. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Da svidanya!.

MSIP Concludes, Attracting More Participants than Ever Before


From June 26 – August 5, 2011, 13 Armenian university students participated in the Moscow Summer Internship Program (MSIP). Following the success of similar programs in New York and Yerevan, MSIP was launched last year, and it has quickly grown, almost doubling the number of its participants this year, while establishing its place among AGBU’s summer youth program offerings. Arriving from four countries – Armenia, Canada, France, and the United States – this year’s Armenian college students spent six weeks in the Russian capital, which is home to the world’s largest Armenian diasporan community. Program participants were immersed in Moscow’s entrepreneurial culture and were exposed to the hustle and bustle of this global hub of trade, commerce, diplomacy, and innovation.

Before the AGBU interns arrived, students were interviewed by MSIP staff about their educational interests and future ambitions and then matched up with full-time, unpaid internships in English-language work environments that would help them reach their career goals. Secured through AGBU’s network of Moscow-based institutions, host companies, and organizations, this year the following organizations welcomed MSIP participants: the Association of Russian Banks, Central Partnership Digital, Cigar Clan Magazine, Henderson and Hayas, Russian Research Center of Surgery, SKOLKOVO School of Management, Star Expo Exhibition Company/Gostiny Dvor, The Moscow Times newspaper, and Troika Dialogue Investment Bank. A few of the interns, seeking to gain greater exposure to various fields of interest, chose to participate in internships at two different companies simultaneously.

Exploring All that Moscow Has to Offer
MSIP participants were housed in the dormitories of the Higher School of Economics, which is one of Russia’s leading universities. SIVAM, an Armenian young professionals group in Moscow, worked tirelessly with AGBU to organize the MSIP program, while acting as mentors to the interns, and organizing various cultural and social activities for the students. The AGBU program was staffed by coordinator Angela Sarkysian and activities coordinator Anahit Khadjabekian.

Evenings and weekends were filled with several cultural and educational seminars, including introductory Russian language courses, Armenian dance classes, meetings with leaders of the local Russian Armenian community, and sightseeing tours to the many historic sites throughout the city, including the Kremlin, Red Square, Tretyakov Gallery, Pushkin Museum, St. Basil and Christ the Savior Churches, and Sergiyev Posad, a historic city outside of Moscow. Students had the opportunity to meet with Bishop Yezras Nersissian, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Diocese of New Nakhichevan and Russia.

Participants also attended a joint event with the Higher School of Economics and AGBU Academics. AGBU Academics is an international network of Armenian students and was founded by Camilio Azzouz-Kiwanian of France, who was also among this year’s MSIP participants. During an educational meeting with Karen Mikayelian, executive director of the International Organizing Committee for the Preparation of the Western Armenian National Congress, interns participated in a discussion about the Armenian Genocide and Armenia’s foreign policy.

During the course of the summer, students also had the opportunity to visit St. Petersburg, where they spent a few days exploring the monuments of czarist Russia, including the world-renowned Hermitage Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and the historic St. Catherine’s Armenian Apostolic Church, which dates to the 18th C. They also attended live performances of “Spartacus” and “Swan Lake” at the Mariinsky and Alexandrovsky theaters, and had a meeting with local Armenian youth at the St. Petersburg Armenian Sunday School.

Before the 2011 season came to an end, participants attended a Supervisor’s Reception to honor the gracious professional hosts who made the summer intern experience unforgettable.

Christine Haroutounian, a 2011 MSIP participant from the United States, reflects on the summer as a valuable learning experience. “It reaffirmed the importance of being open to everything in life and always remaining curious. Whether you’re out of your comfort zone exploring the multifaceted, rough city of Moscow or carrying out familiar Armenian traditions and holidays, something to learn that will enrich your perspective and challenge you to grow,” she said.

Fellow intern Nare Tevanyan, also of the United States, added that the summer helped her appreciate her heritage in a whole new way. “Being Armenian is a gift. You can either put the gift under your bed and let it collect dust, or you can use that gift to guide you through the different chapters of your life.”

As with all AGBU summer intern programs, the cultural awakening participants experience during the summer was coupled with the benefit of hands-on practical work experience that will serve them well in the future. “Working at The Moscow Times was a pleasure. Each day I was excited at the prospect of going to work. My colleagues there were friendly, interesting, and patient. My duties didn’t relegate me to copy and coffee machines; instead I spent time out in the field conducting interviews and ultimately writing articles that were actually published in the paper. It was rewarding to see my hard work actually put into black and white and printed for people to see,” said Nick Burdman of the United States.

Preparations are already underway for the 2012 MSIP program and applications will be available on AGBU’s flagship website, agbu.org, by November 2011.

To view the press release in Armenian please click here..

MSIP Participant Raffi Babikian Reflects on his Summer in Moscow

MSIP 2010 participant Raffi Babikian shares his summer experience in Moscow.

I have not done much traveling outside of the United States at this point; only France and Israel. Those are the only ones I can remember. I have also been to Australia when I was young. In my opinion, life gets boring when you are in the same city, or even the same country, for a long period of time.

The Moscow Summer Internship Program seemed like a very necessary step in my life. After the essential paperwork was dealt with, it was time. It was hard to believe, but there I was in Moscow. My feeling about the city is like a roller coaster that has yet to drop. I feel very comfortable here. The city has a great fusion of the modern and historical.

I received an offer to intern for the Association of Russian Banks, which is run by Garegin A. Tosunyan. I am working as an analyst, specializing in the real estate market. I was working under Serge Grigoryan, Chief Analyst. He alone helped me a great deal in adapting to such a different work environment. It was a pleasure to work here.

Outside of work there was another group of people that none of us interns could have done without: the AGBU SIVAM volunteers. Since most of the city signs were in Russian and most people there did not speak English, we were reliant on these volunteers. They accepted the challenge with open arms. We were escorted to our workplaces for the first week until we would feel comfortable on our daily commute and it was smooth sailing from then on.

During the summer, we were scheduled to take Russian-language courses twice a week. We were able to learn how to read and write in Russian. This was quite helpful as it allowed us to tour the city without any trouble.

The Moscow Summer Internship Program  was a wonderful experience and I would do it all over again if I could. I certainly feel more cultured and more knowledgeable than before I arrived in Moscow.

Thank you AGBU for this experience. For all the young Armenians considering this program, go for it as it is a chance of a lifetime.

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