UWC Dilijan strives to be the integral part of the Dilijan and wider Armenian community. Whether it be through community service projects or joined events, students are in constant interactions. One of the opportunities for this is living with host families during winter and summer breaks. This is the time of the year, when students leave the campus and spend one month with Armenian families, practice Armenian, get to know the traditions and learn from each other’s cultures.
Kelly is a second-year student from Rwanda, who spent the last winter break with an Armenian family in Yerevan. Marine and her family of four decided to host a student over the winter break as an opportunity to experience something new – meeting a student who has never met you, does not speak Armenian and is from a completely different background.
Marina has two kids, a 14-year-old son David and a daughter, Anna, who is 10. Kelly enjoyed spending time with the children of the family, says it was her comfort zone and so it was easy to integrate in the family. Children as well were very excited, they made a poster saying “bari galoost” (welcome, in Armenian), prepared the room for her and were very looking forward to meeting the guest.
Marina: “By hosting Kelly, we learned how to recognise one’s culture, take into consideration their cultural and religious originalities and be able to accept them as they are”.
Marine says it was most surprising to see how they communicate perfectly while speaking completely different languages. Kelly taught a couple of words in her mother tongue and learned some Armenian herself. One of the expressions that she started using on the regular basis was “Anna jan”, the Armenian way of expressing your warm attitude and affection for a person
For Kelly, this month was when she saw these people into her family and the children of the family as her younger sister and brother. Also, she learned how to cook Armenian dishes and taught them how to cook Boulettes, a dish that her family usually cooks back home. Another thing she learned to do during the winter break was ice skating, for the first time ever. She went sightseeing around the city, attended Anna’s school concert as well as a concert by the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Kelly: “I have had good memories and I feel like I have a home in Armenia. Second home outside the school, someone I know in Armenia, apart from school”.
After the holidays, they continued keeping in touch, up till now. Marine and her children saw Kelly off to Rwanda during the summer. After she was back in Armenia, they invited her to Anna’s birthday party.
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.