Bonding With My Family Through Learning Armenian 05/04/2023

Laura Blanco, an enthusiastic AVC e-learner from Argentina, comes from an Armenian family of Genocide survivors who fled to Latin America in search of new beginnings and opportunities.

Laura’s grandmother had three daughters, and although being raised in an Armenian-speaking family, only one of those daughters had the opportunity to attend an Armenian school and be able to properly read and write in the language. The other two, including Laura’s mother, only spoke colloquial Armenian.

When Laura’s mother married an Argentine, Armenian became even less used in their household. 

This led Laura to not speaking Armenian, except when her grandmother took care of her and spoke to her in Armenian. “As a child, then, my ear was used to hearing Armenian, but I was never able to speak it.”

Years passed, and Laura’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and little by little she stopped speaking Spanish.

“I recently found myself not being able to have a conversation with her as she spoke everything in Armenian. So, I needed to constantly translate what she said, and vice versa. I was very frustrated.”

That’s when Laura decided to learn Armenian and soon found out about AGBU Armenian Virtual College launching an Armenian Language course at the University of Rosario (NRU) as part of the Hybrid Education Program.

“I did not hesitate. I got in touch with the university and started learning,” remembers Laura.

“7 months after studying, last weekend, I went to visit my grandmother, and for the first time in many years I was able to speak some phrases in Armenian. I was able to understand more of what she was saying without depending on my mom to translate for me all the time.

It was exciting! Not only for me, but also for my mother to hear me speak the language and to be able to communicate with my grandmother without her intervention.”

A generation later, Laura was able to reconnect to her Armenian roots through learning the language.

“I am deeply grateful to each and every one who helped this happen. From the person who received and answered my first email to the leaders and directors. A special mention to Elena Achdjian (NRU local teacher, AVC hybrid teacher) and Dr. Yervant Zorian (AGBU AVC Founding President) for making this possible. Thank you for giving me the tool to be able to communicate with my family and honor my roots.”

The National University of Rosario, Argentina (UNR) was the first university in Latin America to incorporate AVC’s courses into its curriculum in 2021. In addition to the language lessons, students learn about Armenia, its history and culture through AVC’s e-books, social events and other educational opportunities offered by AGBU AVC Hybrid Education program.