YSIP 2013 participant Aris Agdere writes about his first journey to the homeland:
I am proud to say that my first trip to Armenia is as a participant of the AGBU Yerevan Summer Internship Program. YSIP is allowing me to discover my country and true heritage while making amazing friends and experiencing life in the workforce. I was astounded when I found such diversity amongst my fellow interns. They come from the United States, Lebanon, Russia, England, and even Australia. Born and raised in the suburbs of Long Island, New York, I have not had many opportunities to meet fellow Armenians from abroad. This trip has allowed me to broaden my horizons and learn about Armenian culture and traditions as they are practiced in other countries. The cultural similarities between my new international friends and myself amaze me. Although their families have had to spread throughout the world, they have managed to persevere through hardships and preserve their culture. I am building friendships and enjoying my time exploring Armenia with other first-timers.
I particularly enjoyed visiting the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, gasping in awe of its surreal beauty which has been preserved for over 1500 years. Being exposed to such significant landmarks of Armenian history has given me a newfound sense of comfort and purpose which I have not experienced before. Aside from sightseeing and socializing, I am also learning about working life in Armenia as I intern at a tech company called Sourcio, where I am gaining further knowledge in computer science. Technical jargon aside, I am excited to hone my programming skills, which will leave me better prepared for future internships and careers. Ultimately, my experience as an intern for AGBU YSIP has been life-changing. I will not forget the good it has done for me and how it has inspired me to return to my homeland in the future..