Before going to Armenia, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had seen a few pictures of the country and listened to a lot of people talk about it, but I never thought I would actually go there. As soon as we arrived in Armenia, I realized that the country I had imagined was very different from the place we had landed.
When I saw Mt. Ararat for the first time, I knew I had arrived in a very different, but special place. There was much more to see in Armenia than I thought there would be. Many parts of the country are absolutely beautiful with all the old churches, hidden valleys, and rivers.
I still feel that we didn’t get to see all there is to see in the country, even though the group was there for two weeks. Overall, Armenia is a great place. The group, the scenery, and the people there made the trip a great experience. I loved every minute I spent there, and I will never forget any part of it.
Traveling to Armenia this summer, with 13 other students, was an experience of a lifetime. I was pretty anxious the whole plane ride to Armenia. But looking back, I would recommend this trip for any student interested in traveling and learning about the history of Armenia.
My favorite parts of the trip were visiting the churches of St. Hripsime and Holy Etchmiadzin. St. Hripsime was special for me because it was where my parents were married 30 years ago. And once you step into Etchmiadzin, you didn’t want to leave. The choir singing hymns, the smell of incense, the beautifully decorated altar, and the exquisite biblical paintings on the walls of the church were amazingly beautiful and breathtaking, especially on Sunday.
Seeing the sights we learned about in our Armenian Studies 20 class was very interesting. Since we had already learned about the history and style we were able to easily identify the churches. I also enjoyed the chance we had to descend into Khor Virab, the pit where St. Gregory was imprisoned, especially since we had read and learned about it in class.
I will definitely visit Armenia in the future, but this time with my sister! I would especially like to go back to the Armenian Genocide Monument forest, and go to the site where we planted our tree.
My trip to Armenia was definitely the highlight of my year. It didn’t really hit me that I was in Armenia until I saw Mt. Ararat beckoning me home from my plane window. At that moment I fell in love with the country. Going with Professor Barlow was the perfect opportunity for a first time traveler to Armenia; we really got to know the country.
I enjoyed visiting the museums, exploring Yerevan, taking a boat ride on Lake Sevan, but my favorite part about the trip was definitely just the people. They were all very friendly and hospitable towards us. I remember on one of our long drives we stopped at Professor Barlow’s friend’s house and he had a whole table set up for us outside under a canopy overflowing with food. That spirit of Armenian hospitality throughout the trip made us all feel at home.
It was a powerful experience to stand in one of Christianity’s earliest churches that has endured through so many invasions and turmoil. Holy Etchmiadzin reminded me of how strong and enduring the Armenian people are and it made me proud to be Armenian. The trip was an eye opening experience that I thoroughly enjoyed, from sightseeing to interacting with the people. This summer was just the beginning of my experiences in Armenia, as I’ve already made plans to go back for the next two summers and hopefully many more.