Anush’s semester in Italy’s vibrant, historical region of Sicily

by Nane Vardanyan

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy” — Giuseppe Verdi.

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience. Studying abroad in a country of unparalleled beauty, great passions, and hidden gems like Italy is something extraterrestrial.

Ask COAF alumna and scholarship-holder Anush Mkrtchyan about her semester in Italy’s southernmost region, Sicily, and she will tell you about the warmth, hospitality, and friendliness she was used to in her hometown Shenik village, and surprisingly found again in Sicily.

Believed to be home to the Sicilian mafia, or Cosa Nostra, much of the island’s former reality has remained in the old pages of its history and some of the all-time top-rated movies, such as The Godfather. As Anush has observed, located between Italy and Africa, the island has various features from both cultures.

Messina: home for four months

Anush, a 20-year-old student at Yerevan State University, spent a semester studying Political Science at the University of Messina in the namesake seaside town which went underwater in the 19th century and was therefore reestablished.

The multinational environment she has been in and the in-depth studies of multiple political theories helped her grow both as an individual and professional.

Yet, not everything comes easy — being on your own in a new country is full of challenges. The major one is the language barrier in a mainly bilingual country.

An old dream come true

Turning over the pages of his teenage-time diary, Anush recently found 14 dreams she took note of before her 15th birthday. One of the notes says: “To travel to Italy, France, and Spain.” Though she could hardly recall this dream in her adulthood, Italy, France, and Spain are the precise three counties she’s traveled to during her Schengen journey. They say be careful with your dreams — they might come true even if they’ve slipped your memory.

The collective power of small steps

Good things aren’t given — they’re earned. Anush is someone who goes the extra mile for herself and her community. Her well-earned achievements are due to the hard work she’s put into her education since childhood, the love and dedication she’s invested in her community through active participation in community happenings, and the dignified representation of Armenia on international platforms.

Your support has its humble share in all of the achievements of Anush and many other COAF students.

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Children of Armenia Fund

Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is a non-profit organization that employs community-led approaches aimed at improving the quality of life in rural Armenia.