Language Immersion Courses in Armenia

About Language Immersion Courses in Armenia

Due to the historical phenomenon of the Armenian diaspora, a large number of ethnic Armenians are living outside their ancestral homeland in various countries around the world. Due to the pressures of living in a foreign country, these ethnic Armenians (or their parents or grandparents) can sometimes begin to lose touch with their linguistic and cultural roots, and it is these “heritage learners” who are the primary target of language schools and language immersion courses in Armenia.
Heritage learning is wholeheartedly supported by the colleges, universities, and private entities who offer language courses of various kinds. In Armenia, a unique cultural heritage and fierce spirit of independence combine to produce a commitment to cultural, historical, and linguistic education, and institutions of higher learning take it as one of their most central duties to ensure that their country’s ancient culture survives and thrives through coming centuries. Thus, considerable resources are invested in language-education projects and there are far more programs than one might expect given the small size and population of Armenia itself.
Nonetheless, the Armenian school system is still not comprehensively developed, so there are only a handful of locations that are available for in-class learning experiences. About 30% of Armenia’s population, and the bulk of its schools, colleges, and universities, are concentrated in Yerevan, the national capital. This is by far the most common destination for prospective language students. Certainly those students who seek a language course attached to a traditional bricks-and-mortar institution of higher learning have few options other than Yerevan for their studies.
That is not to say that prospective students should not look elsewhere for different options. Major cities outside Yerevan, such as Gyumri, Vanadzor, and Gavar, have small independent language schools as well as private tutors, and of course immersion experiences are available no matter where you are in the country. More adventurous students or those who already have a strong foundation in the Armenian language may opt for a more rustic experience in the rural areas of Armenia. No matter where you go, your neighbors will be happy to see outsiders taking the time to study their ancient language, and will most likely be willing to assist you in your process of learning, practicing, and developing fluency and confidence.
Additionally, a large number of language courses in Armenia are web-based, meaning you can participate from anywhere at all. Learning a language online is rarely as effective as hearing it spoken in person, but if you are already located in Armenia then your day-to-day interactions will constitute a valuable immersion experience in themselves. In this case, the online classes serve as opportunities for explicit learning and for asking questions, but the bulk of language learning takes place on the street, in the market, and throughout the student’s daily life.

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