Testimonial by Avanti Divan

BA student, Princeton University, USA

3 weeks 2019 Persian Language Summer School

I feel very grateful to have attended ASPIRANTUM’s 3 week Persian Language Summer School in Yerevan, July 2019. The program gave me an unforgettable experience of Armenia and memories that I will always cherish. I am very grateful to Khachik, along with the entire ASPIRANTUM team — Milena, Tigran, Professors Vardan Voskanian and Ani Beyt-Movsess, and the photographers— for all their hard work in putting together this memorable experience.

Daily Persian classes expanded my vocabulary, improved my speaking abilities and introduced me to some lovely classical poetry. Professor Vardan Voskanian was a great teacher and I found his deep knowledge of etymology and linguistics extremely impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed his readings of poems such as Turk e Shirazi (Hafez) and Vartan (Shamlou) and only wish we could have studied more poetry in class. Role playing exercises were particularly beneficial in improving students’ speaking abilities. Watching Persian news channels and listening to Persian music offered a great insight into Persian culture. I also really enjoyed the visit to the Yerevan State University’s Department of Iranian Studies, where I got to speak to a Persian Professor exclusively in Farsi for almost half an hour. For future programs, I would recommend a greater focus on Persian literature and a reduced focus on basic grammar concepts during class time. I would also suggest practicing the learned vocabulary, screening Iranian movies and organizing more lectures on Persian history and culture in Persian. Moreover, I think that a compilation of recommended Persian prose and poetry would be highly appreciated by program attendees. I would strongly recommend the program to any student keen to learn Persian at the intermediate or upper intermediate level.

I must also complement ASPIRANTUM for structuring the program the way they did and for all the excursions that were organized. Yerevan is a fantastic, charming, incredibly exciting city to spend three weeks in. It is not only safe, but easy to move around in — I took a taxi only once in three weeks, walking almost everywhere. The city has an energy that is really infectious, and its people are always spilling out onto the streets — talking and laughing in parks, by fountains and in outdoor cafes. Yerevan was a great city to explore along with my peers who came from a range of backgrounds, both personal and academic. I really enjoyed various sites, but particularly the Saryan and Parajanov museums. Among my most cherished memories of Yerevan is the time I spent talking to Iranian tourists who were visiting the city over their summer holidays. I had countless conversations with Iranians in Yerevan’s parks, cafes, and shops and I’m sure my Persian improved as a result of this practice. Armenia’s geographical location, adjacent to Iran, as well as its historic connection with it makes it a really exciting place to learn Persian in. The immersion into Armenian culture is an added and very welcome bonus. On the weekends, visits to monasteries and churches in the Armenian countryside, to the Garni Temple and to Lake Sevan provided a great addition to the exploration of Yerevan. These excursions were very memorable and provided me with a fascinating insight into the history of Armenia. Altogether Shnorhakalutyun! Thank you for giving me a summer with a great group of people that I will always remember, Persian I hope to remember (!) and most of all for introducing me to your beautiful country and culture — I am certain that I will return very soon!

Interested? Check Upcoming Persian Language Courses!

Our Persian language courses are open to anyone with upper elementary or intermediate knowledge of the Persian language. The lectures are organized with the academic interests of our participants in mind. Students as well as researchers working in Iranian Studies and relevant fields will benefit the most from our courses.

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Gwennan Higham

Faculty Member, Swansea University, UK

“The course met and exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I’m so happy to able to have gone from a very basic Persian knowledge to be able to communicate fluidly in many situations and to have a much better reading and writing competence.”

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Atussa Mohtasham

PhD student, Princeton University, USA

“I was able to improve my Persian in a country that borders Iran and shares many cultural similarities and a lot of history. I recommend the program to any student looking to experience both Persian language learning and adventure.”

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