30-year-old Julien Lecouturier is one of those young people, who, being born and raised far from their ancestral land, at some point in their life start seeking their Armenian roots.
Julien grew up in France and is currently living near Versailles, Paris. “Even though my Armenian roots remained in a distant past, I always had a great interest in Armenia, its culture and history,” he says.
Julien knows very little about the family of his grandmother, whose parents were survivors of the Armenian genocide, originally from the village of Mandjelekh in Sebastia.
“I have never been to the land of my ancestors (in Anatolia). It is one of my dreams,” Julien admits. “My grandmother no longer speaks Armenian, although it was the first language she learned.”
Julien himself decided to learn Armenian at the age of fifteen. He attended Western Armenian classes at a community organization near Paris and later continued his studies at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO).
Julien first came to Armenia in 2015, where he spent a year as a member of the European Voluntary Service. “It was a memorable and fruitful experience. I will always remember the peaceful and quiet town of Ijevan, its soothing atmosphere, and the dedicated students of the Ijevan University's French department,” he says.
During his time in Armenia Julien focused on learning Eastern Armenian. He had already heard about the AGBU Armenian College (AVC) from an Armenian from Lebanon. After meeting AVC representatives at a Digitech exhibition in Yerevan, the young man decided to register for a beginner’s course for French speakers. Since then, he has been learning Eastern Armenian and has already reached the pre-advanced level.
Julien is determined to continue his studies at AVC until he has full command of the language.
“I would highly recommend anyone who wishes to learn or improve their Armenian to take AVC courses,” says Julien. “I think their program is particularly useful for busy people working on a tight schedule, and for those who live far from traditional educational centers, schools, and universities. In addition, their "slow" mode is ideal for working people, who cannot spend too much time on studying every day,” he adds.
Julien likes the AVC interactive online courses and especially enjoys their short texts in Armenian that are full of interesting facts, beautiful descriptions, and good humor.
Julien does not have many Armenian-speaking friends or acquaintances at home, so he tries to practice as much as he can with his online instructor Ovsanna Tsorokhyan.
“I must emphasize the professionalism and kindness of my teacher, Ms. Ovsanna Tsorokhyan. I have known her for six years, and she has always supported me in learning Armenian despite all the difficulties. I would like to thank the entire AVC team for their wonderful and very important work,” he says.