One of the worries everyone has before embarking on the Birthright Armenia journey is about the host family. What will they be like? Will they like me? Will I like them? What if I have no privacy? What if they make me do things I don’t want to? What if they ask me for money? What if they complain about me? What if I hate the house? What if we cannot communicate? What if.. What if… What if…?
There are a lot of “what if” questions that one can ask and it’s really all right to be worried. Except, from what I have found, there is actually very little to worry about. I landed in an amazing family. My host father was extremely kind and intelligent, a reader just like me. He was also working on an Armenian/Turkish dictionary, apparently the first of its kind! My host mother cooked amazingly and spending my nights chattering with her while we watched Armenian soap operas was awesome. Even better was singing along to the patriotic songs that would be sung on different Armenian programs. She was a mother figure in every manner. My host sister was lovely! Though both my host siblings were much older than me, we got along famously. Gayane made me feel comfortable, Yervant brought his work internet stick so I could work on my own mini laptop ad his wife, Susanna, made delicious pastries! I loved coming home and rarely wanted to spend time on my own, opting instead to sit around in the family room and chatter, eat, drink, and watch television. I enjoyed bringing home things that would make them happy, that we can all share in and gobble up and definitely loved debating on all sorts of Armenian subjects. I miss them terribly and can’t wait to visit Gyumri again!
Going in, I was shy and nervous and wondering what awaited me. I got myself an amazing family. My host father even got up early (@5 am) one morning, grabbed a bat and flashlight and walked me safely to the rest of our group, making sure I neither got lost nor attacked by any beast.
I can’t say what kind of family others will be given to, but from the group I was with, no one had any problems and all enjoyed being with their host families.
- Expect to become a member of the family
- Do ask for advise and help where you need it
- Expect to learn all the soap operas by heart
- Do treat them as part of your family
- Expect to face different mindsets and delve into the horrors many have faced
- Do help out around the house and don’t be shy to do or give anything you feel is right (other than money, which you’re not allowed)
The families are great. You do get your own room, you do get a hot shower, and you do get food on the table. For a small extra fee, you also get dinner and laundry. It’s like renting you’re own place, expect more like renting a family
<3 Don’t be worried about the host families. You’ll love them!