Contributor- Gagik Movsisyan
I was born in a village called Aghin in Armenia in 1994 and I lived in Sarakap. I moved to the US in 2000 and visited once in 2007 -- it has been ten years since the last time I was here.
I tried to plan a trip during the past two summers, but both times didn't work out. I was finally able to make plans to go to Armenia a few weeks after graduating in December, then that date changed to March. I bought my ticket and "finalized" my plans to lead a workshop at TUMO from March to May. A few weeks later, I had to cancel my flight and my trip. It had been about four months since I had graduated and I started wondering if I should keep trying to make this trip happen. "Maybe I should just stay, get a job, and help my parents."
People asked me why I wanted to go and I couldn't answer them -- I didn't know how to translate that inner desire to words. I wondered if I was being a fool. Putting my college degree and career goals on hold to... "go teach kids in Armenia about technology"? I was discouraged and in limbo.
It was around then that I found out HRI camp was happening in June and I was accepted to help teach a computer class. This was when things started to fall into place.
My plans had failed, but what this failure led to was something better and more exciting than what I had tried to plan. I was now set to spend three months in Armenia: teach coding in Shvanidzor, kindergarten construction in Jrashen, then lead technical workshops in Gyumri and Yerevan.
Around this time, a good friend of mine reminded me about the last line of my UC Personal Statement (college application essay) that I wrote back in 2012:
"I intend to use my successes to go back to Armenia, build schools, and create opportunities for children who have not been as fortunate as I have been as a naturalized American citizen"
It is now my second week in Shvanidzor teaching coding to the kids here, and I feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do.