PH International

Cross-regional Networking and Training Event for 60 ACCESS Armenian Students from Nor Hachn, Chambarak and Dilijan

Armenia | English Access Microscholarship Program | 14 Oct 2012

The students and the teachers were excited to receive sets of new books and educational resources from PH International and the U.S. Embassy, and then the agenda proceeded with interesting activities that offered the students a lot of new information about the exchange programs implemented by the U.S. government in and for Armenia, and the U.S. culture. The students had a lot of fun, learning a new song with Sean O’Hara and Hasmik Mikaelyan, the guests from the Embassy. Then they heard the stories of the invited 3 guest speakers - Aya , an alumnae of U.S.G. funded (IVLP) International Visitors’ Leadership Program of 2000 and DOTCOM (Developing Online Tools for Community Outreach and Mobilization) Program of 2010-11, Arman Ayvazyan, an alumnus of Armenia-Turkey-USA YouthLAB (Leadership Across Borders) Program, Mr. Ara Aramyan, Director of Dilijan High School and an alumnus of USAID-funded Community Connections program of 2011 who shared their impressions of American host families, the U.S. culture, how participation in the exchange program impacted their mentality and influenced their educational and professional careers, how important English was for interacting with participants from other countries.

Then Mariam Martirosyan of PH led a session on the elements of culture, high-context and low-context cultures, stereotypes and gaffes during cross-cultural communication. The students really enjoyed working in mixed cross-regional teams to define culture and present to other groups the products of their team brainstorming. In friendly atmosphere they provided feedback to one another, and discussed the common elements and differences in their definitions. The students watched an interesting clip (“Silent Beats”) on stereotypes and discussed the importance of being open and non-judgmental when being exposed to unfamiliar aspects of the culture the language of which they are learning.

After discussing the importance of building vocabulary while learning a foreign language and creative approach to expressing ideas, the students and the teachers watched a video on the power of words, which became the highlight of the day.