to right: Hakob Panossian, Sam Samuelian,
"There is some sort of magnet here. I believe
it is the 3,000 year old history that continues
to draw us to Armenia. No matter what reason brought
you here, you end up discovering your roots."
This history watches you as you walk down the
streets to your job, your internship, or to your
For 27 year old Sam Samuelian from Lebanon, moving
to Armenia was a natural choice. He didn't give
a second thought to leaving everything at home,
and suddenly moving here.
Sam is one of the many young Armenians from the
Diaspora who choose to come to Armenia to either
start a business, do their internship or even
establish their own families in an Armenian environment.
They come to re-claim ethnic roots, or maybe
to find out if today's Armenia is the one they've
heard about over family dinners and in Diaspora
Each has personal reasons, unified in a constant
"It is a country getting its own identity,
and so are the people. They are trying to build
a country for themselves and as an Armenian I
feel inspired to contribute and help in this process".
"There is no logical reason why I left
everything and came here. It just made sense to
me," Sam says.
For Sam, there was nothing connecting him to
Lebanon. "I didn't want to start a business
in Lebanon and I couldn't find my place there.
In Armenia, everything is attractive and you give
your maximum effort because you like the country.
Only in Armenia, you can find your inner energy
and therefore, you can work from your heart".
Sam sees business opportunities in Armenia for
anyone that is willing to search for it here.
After extensive research, he selected the service
industry because he believes that it is easy to
be competitive in it for those coming from abroad.
"The primary industries are secured by the
locals, leaving the service sector open for development
and success," he says.
Sam came to Armenia two and a half years ago
and is opening a diner. And while it provides
Sam a reason for being in Armenia, he also finds
satisfaction in creating jobs for the locals.
He works and speaks with confidence because he
believes that "the best decisions are the
ones that I have made by listening to my heart
and I have never gone wrong doing so. For me,
coming to Armenia has been one of those decisions."
At work is where you get your personal experiences.
Whether working as an entrepreneur or as an intern
in Armenia, you have the opportunity to interact
with the people on a deeper level.
"They see us working for them and they feel
good that you are Diaspora helping people. As
opposed to the tourists, we leave our names behind
as those who helped and added something",
says Karine Palandjian, an 18 year old intern
from Rhode Island, USA who works in a local orphanage.
As an intern working at an institution for the
poor, 19 year old Angela Deese from Virginia,
USA, believes that her internship gives her the
opportunity to help preserve her homeland.
"No matter what you do in the Diaspora,
it is important to let the locals know that Armenians
around the world care about them. For me, making
one child happy is sending them this message."
Ani Jerikian, a 19-year old intern at Armenian
International Magazine believes that she would
not have had the opportunity for personal growth
if she had only come as a tourist.
"Last year as a tourist, I wanted to move
here. This year being here as an intern, I don't
think I want to do that because of the different
life style I have experienced. However, living
in Armenia has given me more confidence and a
chance to develop my independence".
What motivates her to work to better Armenia
either from abroad or from here is the inspiration
she gets from watching the development and progress
of her homeland.
Like Ani on her first visit to Armenia, Krikor
Yeremian, a 19 year old from Pennsylvania, USA,
has similar feelings while touring the country.
to right, interns: Karine Palandjian, Angela
Deese, Ani Jerikian.
"I like to go to visit the churches, the
monuments and the sights. But, I would want to
live here some day. Visiting the country makes
you want to do more to help it."
As compared to those living and working here,
the tourist coming to Armenia for discovery and
relaxation sees another kind of lifestyle reflected.
Shant Aghajanian, a 19 year old tourist from
Pennsylvania, USA, finds life in Armenia exciting.
"You experience a different environment
than abroad. There are lots of things to do during
the day such as visiting museums, churches, monuments,
and enjoying the Kebab. I see the night life as
livelier than at home, and feel safe walking down
the streets at any time of day".
For Shant and Krikor, the most interesting characteristic
of the Armenian people is their hospitality, friendliness
and generosity. They find it interesting that
people invite you to their homes and present you
all they have, taxi drivers offer you Armenian
food and tour guides join you during lunch while
interacting with you.
Maida Kaderian a 32 year old graphic designer
from Massachusetts, USA, says that there are many
things for her to take back home after her tour
"First of all, I am inspired to be more
active for our Cause. I believe that this inspiration
came from the discovery of my connection to the
land, my experience with the people and the process
of sharing stories with them".
Before her touring experience in Armenia, Maida
had an abstract idea about her homeland through
the stories that she had been told about it. Now
they have become real for her because of her first
hand experience. This has inspired her to continue
her relationship with Armenia from home, even
through her work.
Similarly, for Hakop Panossian, a 30 year old
architect from Cyprus, coming to Armenia was something
that he always wanted to do in order to form his
own impression about the country.
"When you are living in the Diaspora, people
try to show you their impressions of Armenia,
but I wanted to create my own opinion. That is
my reason for being here."
Besides forming his own view of his homeland,
Hakop's ties to Armenia are in the form of helping
friends with their business venture. This duel
role provides him the unique opportunity to interrelate
ideas about tourism and life in Armenia.
Experiencing the struggle to remain Armenian
in the Diaspora as well as the attachment to one's
roots seems to underlie the motivations for all
of these travelers to Armenia. These stimuli are
so strong that they give some the strength to
permanently move here.
"The main reason that I am here is that
I have always wanted to have a family. I didn't
want to think of raising children in the Diaspora
and have them experience the same struggles that
I did until now" says Stepan Panossian, a
27 year old businessman from Cyprus.
The reasons for coming are varied. At heart,
however is a common theme: the magnet of one's
ancestry is too strong to resist.