The summer of 2017 was much expected for 28 students from Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States who joined the AGBU Yerevan Summer Internship Program (YSIP) and spent meaningful six weeks in the homeland as they gained hands-on professional experience and discovered Armenia.

This year as well, YSIP continued offering students top-level placements and access to great expertise in Armenia’s leading organizations and companies, including American University of Armenia, Arabkir Medical Center, Archangel Architectural Studios, Deem Communications, Europe in Law Association, Grant Thornton Armenia, International Child Development Center, Izmirlian Medical Center, Heratsi Hospital N 1, Malayan Eye Center, Microsoft Armenia, National Instruments, Storaket, Synopsys Armenia, Vardanants Medical Center and Orran NGO.

Each year, YSIP expands its scope, involving new industries and partner organizations. For the second year in a row, thanks to the AGBU Dikran Knadjian medical scholarship, YSIP hosted a non-Armenian student from Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, who pursued a fully-funded internship in the neurology department of Heratsi Hospital.

YSIP was an exceptional opportunity for George Tarabelsi, a student at the University of Massachusetts. “This internship has been educational and has exposed me to various types of operations. As an aspiring physician, shadowing doctors in different departments has allowed me to gain a better understanding of what specifically I would like to pursue in medicine,” said George.

Interns not only had fulfilling professional experiences, but were captivated by rich culture. Every day, they discovered something new about life in Armenia and its history through the wide array of activities ranging from hiking, lectures, classes in Armenian language and folk dance to meetings with His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians, and Karen Mirzoyan, minister of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh. Visits to Artsakh and Gyumri were particularly memorable for them. While in Artsakh, interns went to an orphanage, presenting children with gifts and giving presentations on a healthy lifestyle. In Gyumri, they joined efforts with the team of Tuff Armenia—who design housing for people living in makeshift homes—to purchase a traditional musical instrument for a local teenager.

Lucine Boloyan, student at University of Massachusetts Amherst, admits that YSIP helped her a lot immerse in Armenian culture. "The diverse array of opportunities provided by the Yerevan Summer Internship Program helped me grow in empathy and cultural awareness. In just six weeks, I experienced Armenia from various angles, as a tourist, as a student, and as a worker," said Lucine.

Since its inception in 2007, the program has had an impact on the lives of over 230 young people across the globe.