It was this time last year, that I was contemplating what to do with my summer. I had the opportunity to go on a service trip with my college friends to few countries in Africa. But, I always wanted to participate in a service trip in Armenia. So I started looking at my options, and I came across AYF Youth corps. The opportunity I was able to have last summer became the best experience of my life. I had two things different from the 29 people I traveled to Armenia with. First, I am from the east coast, and most were coming from the west coast, and knew each other. Second, I am half Irish and half Armenian, and I am not fluent in Armenian – not even close. I could barely understand it; and what they speak there is not even the same “Armenian” that my mother speaks (Eastern vs Western). This made me nervous as I got ready to leave for Armenia in July. Spending six weeks in another country where I cannot understand what they were saying can seem a bit frightening. The amount of knowledge, memories, and friends I gained from that experience is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. Anytime we went somewhere, there was always a friend who would come stand next to me and translate what was being said. Anytime we had free time or we had a long bus ride, someone would make sure they sat down next to me and gave me a history lesson. Everyone was so eager to teach and include me in everything that took place on the trip. The deghatzi’s (locals in that area) were also very eager to teach me anything that they could. I developed special relationships with them, and I still keep in touch with them despite the language barrier. One deghatzi in particular learned a bit of English each day from me, as I learned a bit of Armenian each day from her. I urge everyone to consider doing this trip with AYF. If you don’t speak Armenian, don’t worry. Because at the end of the first day there, they will make you feel that you have always belonged there. There is no better feeling than to be able to call home and have a simple conversation with my Metzmama or my Mother and understand what is being said. Thank you AYF for making this possible, thank you deghatzis for making us part of your family, and a special thanks to my group for the memories. You will always be in my heart.