Vanadzor

Armenia

Now Accepting Volunteers for 2019

July 13 - July 27, 2019

Director: Steve Merkel-Hess (contact)

Teach for just two weeks in Vanadzor and you will be hooked!

As soon as the program ends you'll start preparing for the next summer's program, following Armenia in the news, planning new activities, checking airfare, and exchanging updates with your 100 new Facebook friends from Vanadzor. The students in Vanadzor are the most motivated, energetic, and engaged learners you will encounter anywhere!

About Vanadzor

Vanadzor is a small city of about 75,000 people in the mountains of northern Armenia. It can be cool and wet in the summer, but the days can also be sunny and hot. Armenia is an ancient culture that has survived multiple conquests and is still recovering from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

About the Program

Program Dates: July 15 - 26

The students are mostly ages 12 - 17, with intermediate to advanced English skills. Each class has about 15 students.

Each teacher has a homeroom, but also teaches all the classes on a rotating basis. The teaching schedule is well-organized and optimizes spoken and written English through teacher-led classroom lessons, as well as activities such as singing and dancing, observations of American culture, and oral literature.

The local coordinator for the program is an English teacher at this school building. We have local high school and university assistants in each classroom.

The students are highly motivated to learn English and their only complaint is that the WIESCO program is only two weeks. They want more and they are grateful for all the activities. You will be invited into students' homes for snacks and evening meals. Armenians LOVE the United States and you will be welcomed like nowhere else on Earth.

Logistics

Lodging

WIESCO volunteers stay at Lena's Bed & Breakfast. We share bedrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen. Lena prepares a hearty breakfast each morning. Lena, her husband, and their extended family have welcomed us into their family. We have shared meals, toasts, danced together, enjoyed family photo albums, and exchanged presents. Lena's B&B is a 10-minute walk from the B&B to the school where the camp is held.

Getting There

Volunteers must arrive in Yerevan no later than 12pm on Saturday, July 13, 2019. The local coordinator arranges mini-bus transportation from Yerevan to Vanadzor.

Volunteers may plan their departure from Yerevan after 8pm on Saturday, July 27, 2019.

American passport holders do not need a visa prior to landing in Armenia. The visa is free at the airport or land border.

Program Funding

Unlike other WIESCO programs, the Armenian students in this program do not pay tuition. Program Director, Steve Merkel-Hess, has instead established a fundraiser through GoFundMe to gather monetary donations for school supplies, school building rent, transportation within Armenia and room and board for WIESCO volunteers. To learn more about the Vanadzor GoFundMe campaign, please visit gofundme.com.

Program Director

Steve Merkel-Hess

(319) 512-8176

Steve Merkel-Hess has been with the Armenia program since its beginning in 2016. Steve taught elementary and junior high in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Iowa City, Iowa, for 35 years. After retirement he taught junior high and high school for four years at international schools in Egypt, Japan, and Sudan. He joined WIESCO in 2014 as a teacher at our Siauliai, Lithuania program. He enjoys travel and photography.

Get a glimpse into the Armenia program

Opening of the Armenia program in 2016