Many people did it before us and many more are yet to repatriate to Armenia in the near future. We've been flooded with cheering messages after this video from the local Government media agency today. Thank you all for your warm and heartfelt messages.
Now if I may, let me try to be inspirational for those of you thinking about it, and it's really mind-blowing to see how many are on the verge of moving, the past 3 weeks alone I can count 15 people... well, let me make this straight: nowadays I don't think moving to Armenia require much guts anymore, it's the opposite, as parents you'll quickly realize the pros & cons, and it's actually a no-brainer:
- Despite the geopolitical scene Armenia is one of the safest country to reside in. Can you think of many US/EU capital where you'd feel safe to know your wife walking alone at night or your kids playing with homeless people?
- The education level is clearly on top. From math, languages to science I can tell the curriculum for primary and middle school is by far higher than US/EU cities that I frequented. Three languages and a vast general knowledge is the minimum baggage youths graduate with.
- The quality of life - brought together in a town-size city where the farthest meeting is 15mn drive, where everyone greet each other, with a lot of European cultural influence, full of cafes, bistros and nightlife, rich in food variety and cultural entertainment - is absolutely amazing.
- The warmth of people: from the elderly grandma hugging you for moving back, all the way to the villagers opening their doors there are few places mimicking the Armenian hospitality, even the taxi driver cursing at the honker is... #duxov!
- The talent-pool: for people born in a land with no natural resources whatsoever there is no choice than solely relying on the power of their own brain to do something. Some may never do anything with it, but others are exploiting it to the fullest, in 5 months I met so many young dudes and dudettes under 20 with not only ideas but also working prototypes and sometimes revenue! I thought being an entrepreneur at 19 was huge, well, for many here it's a norm.
- The cost of living: that is obviously a major point that can be seen from both angles depending on whether you are an employer or employee but salaries are about 1/7th of West coast and 1/4th of EU. So buying day to day stuff like groceries, gas, tickets, cleaning etc. feels comparatively much cheaper partly due to limited households purchasing power.
- Health system: not the free perks of the French now-ineffective healthcare system, not the outrageous all-is-liability-related US healthcare system, no, just down-to-Earth qualified docs or emergency nurses, who check you for free at most places.
- Investment: nope, no stock market in Armenia, but not many places have a +20% y-to-y return on real estate or nearly 10% interest rate when saving your money in AMD at your local bank!
- Tax regime: there are preferred tax regime for IT companies which have been an amazing incentive for us.
- The beauty of Armenian female. Whether you are a single padawan or a loyal hubby let's face it, being surrounded by beautiful people is simply awesome!
Check, check and check.
This checklist is my young vision of living in Armenia without even completing one calendar year. No, Armenia is far from being perfect, we still have a lot of soviet mentality among people, out-of-the-box thinking issues, reliability, protocol stuff, garbage, recycling etc... so my vision is obviously biased by a lot of emotions and is surely arguable. However you see it, a one-way ticket is never a definite no-return, you could give it a year try and head back to better horizons later but the experience you'll gain here and at the same time the vision you can bring back make it a great win-win deal.
Need a job, where to start? Polish your linkedin page and see what openings are available. Making $2k is great, 3k is a lot, 5k and more is elitist; but most importantly I don't see how your boss can't assign you with greater responsibilities: keep your foreign salary, live here and build a branch for your company into the fields you are strong (IT development team, marketing team, customer support center, telemarketing sales-force...).
Have a startup, where to start? Polish your suitcase, just come check it out, I can provide you with the full starter-set we went through.
Regardless if you are born in Armenia and moved overseas recently, after your study, when you were a little kid, or generations ago keeping ties with Armenia is rationally interesting.
From our side it took us 100 years to realize that we could realize this dream, our great grand parents from Turkey, Russia, Greece, Nakhitchevan and Iran would have been so proud to see our kiddos enjoying their life in their homeland some 5 generations later. Come and write history with us, Armenia is - on its very own scale - in its prime-time, this country needs half a million people like us, which is less than 10% of Armenians from the diaspora, then we'll probably have some people starting to setup venture capital funds where 9 out of 10 investments fall apart but the 10th one is a unicorn-size return.
To my friends from other horizons: Armenian patriotism understandably won't resonate as much but just take a trip, business or vacation, come visit us anytime, I'm looking very much forward to showing you this jewel deep down in the Caucasian mountains.
Banner photo: #MherVahaknPhoto