Testimonial by Simona Reseková
Graduate Student, Department of General History and Department of Romance Studies at Charles University, Prague
3 weeks 2018 Armenian studies summer school
Armenian studies summer school was the experience which made my dream about visiting Armenia and speaking Armenian come true. I´ve been interested in Armenia and its culture and history for years, but, unfortunately, at my home university it wasn´t possible to study Armenian studies as an independent course. My turning point came this spring when my teacher proposed me to participate in the ASPIRANTUM Summer School and to apply for a scholarship from Gulbenkian Foundation. And I succeeded!
I didn´t know what to expect but now I can say it turned out to be one of the best experiences in my academic life. Weeks before my arrival I was in touch with organizator Khachik and my future teacher Sona (as well as with my three future colleagues) and I really appreciated the perfect organization and willingness of both of them!
I was a little bit preoccupied how Sona will manage to coordinate us as we all were at different levels of language and if it won´t be only a repetition of basis because I´ve already been studying Armenian on my own, but I was pleasantly surpised that even when we started from alphabet and basic vocabulary and phrases, we were moving on really fast from basics to complex grammar. I loved the schedule of our lessons as there were equally represented exercises for all the language skills – we started with grammar, then did some exercises and for reviving lessons and keeping our attention Sona then skipped to games, speaking or listening exercises with songs. In the mornings we were watching some classical Armenian movies trying to catch words we had already learned. I admire how she´s been always well prepared, inventive and patient all the time.
These three weeks really gave me a lot – finally after years of individual studying I started to speak and keep simple conversations in Armenian with various people in the streets and everyone appreciated my effort. I can say I´ve improved a lot!
However the course was not only about intensive language lessons but few times we had a specialized lectures on various topics on Armenian literature (like presentation of Armenian classical novel, Abovjan´s Wounds of Armenia by Dr. Danielyan or Persian influences in medieval Armenian poetry by Polina Ivanova) or on Armenian history (excellent focus on Armenian identity by Prof. Abrahamian), and we took trips to some interesting places in Armenia as well as in Yerevan (personally I appreciated the guided visit in brandy factory with degustation) :).
The last, but not least highlight of Summer School was splendid farewell party with tasty Armenian food, great amount of Armenian vodka and live Armenian music organized by our director Khachik and his team, a splendid proof they are not only experienced professionals but also a kind-hearted humans who know how to party in a big style!
In the end, not only I can say I´ve improved my Armenian, but I´ve also met really inspirational people from all around the world, young scholars interested in the same fields as me. I´ve met in person old penfriends and had a lot of random meetings with inspirational people of my dear Yerevan and, actually, I´ve met my new co-worker and we´ve agreed to cooperate on our future project. The only thing I really regret is the fact I was not able to participate in 6-week course because of my responsibilities at my home university. But I already know I will return for sure as I´ve found new inspirations and ideas for my research and now I have even bigger motivation to develop my language skills – maybe in the Winter School this time. Thanks a lot! :)
PhD student, Ohio State University, USA
“The ASPIRANTUM Armenian Language Summer School greatly enhanced my Eastern Armenian speaking, reading, and writing skills. We had an excellent group of students in our class from different countries, all of whom balanced their serious academic interest with good wit and humor.”View
MA student, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy
“I arrived with no knowledge of modern Armenian and at the end of only three weeks I felt able to have some basic conversations and to read fluently a text. I highly suggest to participate in one of these Summer Schools to have a totally new view of what learning a language can be.”View