Testimonial by John Wynter

Australia

3 weeks 2016 Armenian Studies Summer School

In this three week summer school, the language lessons took up most of the first week, morning and afternoons, and the mornings in the second and third week.

Our teacher, gave us a very thorough tour through the rules of the Armenian language, with lots of diversions to supply interesting vocabulary, use of songs and encouragement to get us speaking. She is an excellent teacher and presented the material very well.

As there were four of us at different levels of knowledge, I’m not sure that everyone got the maximum out of the course. I think those who already had a knowledge of grammar and a bit of vocabulary could have spent more time in active conversation and oral exercises to reinforce and make usable what had already been learned, rather than revising what can be read in textbooks. However, Sona happily provided extra conversation time and tried to cater for everyone’s needs.

I think the real gems we received were teacher’s diversions along the way of learning grammar: supplying vocabulary and expressions for whatever topic may have come up, insights into colloquial speech and also learning Armenian grammar in Armenian. My exercise books are packed with things that sometime I hope to find the time to really explore.

This summer school provides a wonderful opportunity to meet people doing the course, each of whom has developed their interests in the country from a different background and for different reasons, and also to meet the Armenians providing the course, and from them to get the first-hand experience of Armenian expertise, friendship and enthusiasm for their country. It provides a solid language course with very good instruction and offers some insights into Armenian culture and history.

The cultural lectures ranged from fascinating, with real insights into aspects of the culture, to lectures from which I gleaned almost nothing. Social historians gave us an opportunity to discuss things such as the hippie movement in a communist country and aspects of women’s roles over the centuries, which gave some fascinating and unexpected insights. Amazing digital resources for historical researchers  were demonstrated, which is perfect for many students attending this course. The lectures on the Armenian identity seemed to be a vague discourse on models of historical research and gave me no insights whatsoever. We were asked what topics we would like to hear about before the course and during it, and again I would suggest Armenian art and music! (As a suggestion find an expert on some of the fantastic Armenian painters, or a lecture on Komitas.)

It was a wonderful idea to do the first week of the language course in the relaxing environment of Aghveran. The second weekend involved a very long and intensive trip, spending short periods in many places. Most of us had seen many of the places before, but the experience of doing it again with the summer school is unique, and certainly the visit to Dadivank, and seeing the old mosques in Sushi were new experiences and real highlights. Once back in Yerevan, the proposed trips and visits to museums etc were flexible, as appropriate.

And how can I finish without saying that the food supplied on the trips and during the course was exceptional. And my appreciation of mulberry vodka, in fact homemade vodka in general has really taken off (at least until the morning after).

 

Other Testimonials.

Chihiro Taguchi

Student, Department of Political Science, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan

“As a multi-language learner, the Armenian language classes were the best of the classes I have taken so far. In class we learned vocabulary and grammar, and practiced each of speaking, listening, writing and reading. The class consisted of both learner at intermediate level of Armenian and learner at elementary level, and everyone realized progress in their Armenian.”

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Nicholas Matheou

PhD Candidate, University of Oxford, UK

“My experience on the Armenian Studies Summer School 2016 was absolutely unforgettable. With a flexible lesson structure, lecture series and timetable I was able to tailor the course around my needs and interests, and came away with a thorough knowledge of the Armenian language as well as a much deeper understanding of the region’s ancient, medieval, and modern history and culture.”

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