most facets of life in Armenia, information about
its universities is spread mostly by word of mouth
rather than investigation.
The American University of Armenia has taken
a different approach to attract students. For
the past decade, AUA has "Open Doors",
an annual day to give prospective students and
family members a chance to see for themselves
what the university offers. The most recent came
"It is a day when we differ from other educational
institutions of Armenia," says public relations
coordinator Elmira Danelyan. "Unlike the
usual Armenian manner when students obtain information
concerning different departments from their relatives
and friends and only then make a decision, which
usually turns out to be wrong, we organize open
doors day when anyone can get full and exhaustive
answers to his or her questions."
In order to get those answers a few hundred students
(already graduates of other universities) gathered
in the AUA auditorium last Saturday. Part of them
had come to the university to satisfy their curiosity
while others were there seeking a more qualified
"In order to enter the American University
one should know English well, and as I know should
have patience and a will to study," says
economist Lusine Harutyunyan. "As the education
is strict here, so the expectations are high.
However, for the sake of stable knowledge it is
possible to do everything. That is why I am here."
Arsen Stepanyan, a 2001 graduate of AUA who works
for the US Development Agency, was on hand to
share his post-graduate experience.
"Before hiring someone an employer first
of all takes into account the skills and knowledge
of the specialist, and not the certificate or
diploma," Stepanyan says. "And if such
an opinion has been formed, it means that our
university has worthy graduates."
There is another reason why some current students
of the American University are on this side of
"Though many people think that after graduating
the American University they will find a well-paid
job, what brought me here is first of all knowledge,"
says first-year student Armine Antonyan. "I
have graduated Yerevan State University Journalism
Department and I feel a great difference. Here
the student is in a very active atmosphere, there
isn't much formality. And perhaps the most important
thing is that there is a very serious attitude
towards students and the students are also required
to be in earnest about what they do."