Doing an internship program in Armenia is one of the best ways to get to know the country, communicate with locals, travel and live in different cities. In this blogpost I’ll present several organizations offering internships for the youth of Armenian descent, and not only for them. You will learn about each of the programs, its requirements and pick the best one for you.
Birthright Armenia program
Every Armenian has the birthright to explore their homeland through hands-on experience! This is the main notion of Birthright Armenia (BA), which has been operating for almost twenty years now. This organization has helped many young Diasporan-Armenians connect to their roots, grow professionally and enlarge their network.
Internship program overview
In the scope of BA’s internship program in Armenia, you will work with a company in the field of your interest. Whether you study medicine, business, filmmaking, communications or anything else, BA is aiming at matching you with a relevant organization for your internship.
As far as I understand, the organizations where BA makes internship placements range from nonprofit to private businesses or even international organizations in Armenia. Once you’re placed to any organization as an intern you will be required to dedicate at least 30 hours/week to work. Now coming to the fun part of the program, you will also engage in weekly trips around Armenia, networking events and Armenian language classes.
The internship program lasts for 9 weeks, during which the volunteers can choose to stay with a pre-screened host family or find alternative accommodations themselves. I think staying with a host family will make it easier to make new connections. At the end of the day, you will have the people around you, with whom you can share your daily experiences around a warm cup of tea.
One of the testimonials from the volunteers that caught my eye was given from an Armenian-French girl, who worked an internship at Terracota Studio. This is an arts and crafts studio in Yerevan, that provides master classes in pottery and painting. The reason it grabbed my attention was that I’ve been to this studio recently and thought to myself, how nice it would have been if I also had a chance to meet her and learn more about her experience.
Eligibility to the internship program
- Applicants to the program must be of age 21-32
- If the applicant was born in Armenia, they must provide official documentation that they left the country before the age of 15 and must have lived abroad for at least 10 years
- If the applicant’s surname doesn’t end with Ian or Yan, they must provide a proof of Armenian Heritage (this may be parents’ birth certificates where the last name with Ian or Yan is shown)
- Volunteers should get a valid visa before their arrival
But in case volunteers don’t have a visa, they receive a stamp in their passport upon arrival, which allows them to stay in Armenia for 180 days. For your information, there are many countries with which Armenia has a visa-free regime. I have a separate post about Armenia’s visa policy, so check it out if you want to learn more.
Side note. If you are older than 32 but you still want to participate in an internship program in Armenia, or to volunteer, you have options! Consider looking through programs of BA’s sister organization called Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC). They provide internships and volunteer placements for people above that age limit. With AVC, also people of non-Armenian descent can come to Armenia and volunteer here.
- The basic living costs with a host family (which also includes daily breakfast) are covered by the Birthright Armenia
- Volunteers can also choose to have dinner and a laundry plan at their host family’s house. In this respect, the dinner plan will cost you 30,000 AMD/month (around 63 USD) and the laundry plan will cost 10,000 AMD (roughly 17 USD).
- Getting a medical insurance is mandatory for the participant, and the cost for it is 5,900 AMD/month (or approximately 12 USD)
- Trips are optional and will cost volunteers 4000 AMD/day (8 USD) which includes transportation, guide, lodging and food
- Volunteers are advised to think of their daily expenses in Armenia beforehand. Keep in mind your internship work isn’t paid. My post about how cheap Armenia actually is might help you get an idea of how much you’ll be spending here.
AGBU Global Leadership Program
Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is another famous organization with a mission of upholding Armenian heritage. AGBU does really make a difference by connecting Armenia & Artsakh with the Diaspora. So, if you’re thinking about taking an internship in Armenia, consider them seriously.
Internship program overview
This particular program is implemented not only in Armenia, but also in other cities of the world, like Boston, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and others. The participants will experience very similar events and activities, regardless of their location. You can pick Yerevan as the host city, if you want to complete their internship program in Armenia.
The goal of this program is not to primarily provide authentic experience in Armenia, but to strengthen the global Armenian community through leadership training, Armenian language classes, heritage awareness and trips. The program lasts for 6-8 weeks with supervisors from various industries conducting those training sessions.
But this is not all you’ll experience in this program. As AGBU aims to nurture tomorrow’s leaders, you will also get involved in local service projects by volunteering for NGOs. I’m sure you’ll get to know some amazing people from these organizations and make new connections with them.
As for the housing, AGBU offers a well-furnished house for a selected group, with a shared kitchen, TV room and basic amenities. Hence, participants will be placed in rooms with two roommates of the same gender. And don’t you worry about the security, as AGBU provides 24/7 security for the house.
Unlike the Birthright Armenia program, where you choose your own housing, AGBU requires all the participants to stay in the provided facilities.
To recap, if you want to get into this program, you need to show that you are an active young student with a desire to build a strong global community. When selecting the participants, AGBU also gives great importance to any type of prior involvement in the Armenian community issues.
Eligibility to the program
- Applicants must be enrolled in a college and can be sophomore, junior, senior or graduate level student
- The acceptable age is between 19-26
- Applicants’ GPA should be no less than 3.0
- If you decide to complete the program in Yerevan, then you need to show some proficiency in the Armenian language, when interviewed by the program coordinators
- Application fee is a one-time payment worth 50 USD
- Yerevan program participation fee is 2,000 USD which covers all of the events & lectures and housing accommodation
- Yet AGBU recommends to also budget for about 200 USD/weekly, as participants are responsible for their daily meals and transportation
There is good news for those who think the program is too costly. AGBU provides full or partial scholarships for those who request it in the application. But keep in mind that scholarship applications are distributed only after the selection of participants is over.
Armenian Youth Federation Internship
Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) is another international non-profit that works for maintaining Armenian culture and values alive. Don’t miss out on AYF’s opportunity if you want to complete an internship program in Armenia in summer months.
Similar to some other programs in this blogpost, AYF will match you with an organization of your study field. Plus, this is a summer program, so it’s a great opportunity to spend summer time wisely for those who currently study in college. Also, I think AYF does a really good job in finding the most suitable options for participants, therefore organizations can be anything from governmental agencies, private companies and NGOs.
The good news is that you will have to work less than full-time. The interns are only required to devote at least 30 hours/week, but also expect that you will engage in community service, like visiting orphanages or organizing clean-ups in the streets and in nature.
AYF provides housing with all the necessary amenities. I should note that the internship always has its director who will stay with you (the group of interns in the program) in the same house throughout the program. Some may feel too much companionship from the program, yet I think this gives AYF’s program competitiveness over others. Likewise, an adult, experienced leader, is a great go-to contact to have in case of any concern or issues you want to raise during your program.
The most exciting thing about this program is the promised trips to Artsakh and Javakhk!
- Applicants must be at least 18 years olds, and there is no maximum age
- Knowledge of the Armenian language is not mandatory but highly desirable
The application fee is 1250 USD which covers lodging, trips, meals and other events.
Armenian Assembly of America Summer Internship Program
Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) brings an alternative great internship program in Armenia to spend your summer time. AAA has been present for more than four decades already and has been promoting awareness of Armenian issues globally.
This Armenian internship program is different in a way that aims to teach interns about the role of Diaspora in the homeland. Thus, most of the interns work in governmental ministries or NGOs, rather than private businesses. Additionally, volunteers have regular meetings with governmental officials to learn more about the country.
AAA recommends interns to stay with their relatives/find accommodations on your own. But if you are having difficulties with it, you can ask the Assembly to help you find shared housing with other interns.
- Applicants must be in undergraduate or graduate studies
- Some knowledge of the Armenian language is not mandatory but preferred
- There is no application or participation fee for this internship program
- It’s interns’ responsibility to take care for all of the costs (transportation, housing, visa fees, attendance to different events and trips)
Which internship program in Armenia is the best for you?
At this point you may feel confused between the options with different offers.
Don’t worry! I made a summary table for you to easily compare the programs and go for the most suitable one for you.
|Internship in Armenia
|Internship in an industry of desire or study field
|– must be of age 21-32have been lived
– abroad for at least 10 yearsbe of Armenian descent
|– basic living costs with the host family are covered
– dinner plan costs 30,000 AMD/month (equivalent to 63 USD)
– laundry plan costs 10,000 AMD/month (17 USD)
|Volunteering and training sessions
|– must be enrolled in a college must be of age 19-26
– GPA of at least 3.0some proficiency in the Armenian language
|– application fee of 50.00 USD
– participation fee of 2,000.00 USD
|Internship in an industry of desire or study field
|– must be at least 18 years olds
– Some proficiency in the Armenian language
|– application fee of 1,250 USD
|Internship in governmental ministries or NGOs
|– Applicants must be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies
– Some proficiency in the Armenian language
|– no application or participation fee for this program
– It’s interns’ responsibility to take care for all of the costs
I hope one of those internship programs in Armenia suits your interests and goals and you’ll make the choice that will bring you here for a fulfilling experience. There are other internship programs available as well, of course. The list cannot be exhaustive. But here I wanted to show you the ones I find most interesting. Which program do you like the most? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips. And by the way, you can also learn about the safety of U.S. citizens in Armenia. And, you will have absolutely no concern before making your decision 😉.
Featured image credits: me! 🙂