The UWC community is far wider than 17 colleges and more than 150 National Committees that select and nominate students around the world. This is a community that knows no languages, no nationalities and no religion: it gathers people who want to be a part of change and do their best to make the world a bit better every day. That's why the UWC community is so big and stretches over continents and oceans.
Every year some of UWC Dilijan stay in Armenia over the winter break. This becomes a good opportunity to learn more about the country outside the campus, and to better understand people living here. While in Armenia, they live in host families, exploring the local culture, cuisine and traditions. Many of them find volunteering opportunities and find it a very rewarding experience; others find internship opportunities and explore new perspectives. For Armenian families who welcome a new member to the family too this is a unique experience of discovering something different.
Mariam is a second-year student at Armenian State Agrarian University, with a major in Agribusiness and Marketing, and in her own words she love interactions with international students and learns a lot from them. Last year she and her family hosted Farah (Palestine, UWCD'18) during the winter break. They live in Yeghegnadzor, a town in one of the southern provinces of Armenia.
"Living in Armenia where almost everyone is Armenian speaking Armenian and being Armenian apostolic Christian the idea to host a student from somewhere else sounded so exciting. We decided to host as we were willing to know about different culture and to learn lots of new-s: new way of leaving, new way of cooking, new way of expressing yourself. It was so interesting to hear about traditions and the way of people live somewhere else in the world. We were so amazed by 16 years old girl who was so passionate about her country and her nation. Hosting her let us feel part of something bigger, to be part of another family somewhere else."
Farah herself thought of this as a great chance to see more of Armenia and to go to places she wouldn't go if not for this occasion. They still keep in touch and even spent some time during summer, which Farah also spent in Armenia. During this one month in Yeghegnadzor they learned how to cook traditional dishes, Mariam says they especially loved Maqluba - a traditional Arab dish with meat, rice and fried vegetables. The name Maqluba when translated from Arabic means "upside-down", as before serving the dish it is flipped. Farah also taught the family a little Arabic and learned some Armenian herself. As Mariam says, for the girls in the family this was very new; they were fascinated by Farah's beautiful hidjabs and the overall tradition of wearing a scarf over your head.
Mariam is convinced - this was a very enriching experience for the entire family, including grandmas, uncles, their families and kids and they would want to become a family for a student again.
You can become a part of our big family by hosting one of our students during the summer/winter breaks. This is going to be an enriching experience and maybe a good opportunity to take up a new language!
Please, write to our Admissions Office | firstname.lastname@example.org | if you feel like becoming a host family.