My Way Home
Armen Mardirossian - Repat Story
Armen Mardirossian’s Journey Back Home: “The greater the risk, the greater the reward”
A keen Customer Support Advocate at Service Titan (ST) who is determined to leave his mark on the world; Armen Mardirossian is an Armenian from the ‘Jewel City’ of Glendale, Los Angeles (LA) who returned back to what he considers his treasure, Armenia.
Armen was born on September 23rd, 1992 in the United States; a year and day after the official independence of Armenia. Hence the reason why his parents named him Armen, as it would be both an easy name to pronounce in America and would be easy to recognize as Armenian.
Despite being born in the US, Armen considers himself a Parskahay/Barsgahay (Persian-Armenian), albeit he refers to himself as just proud Armenian. His parents moved to America as children in the early seventies and married after meeting in LA.
During his childhood years, Armen attended Vahan & Anoush Chamlian Armenian School until the 5th grade. At this point, the family decided to transfer the kids to public American school, a move that pushed him to grow up more American and less connected from his local Armenian community. He only had ‘American’ friends and would rarely attend Armenian events albeit the annual April 24th march. His only connection to his Armenian roots were at his home, where they only spoke Armenian, and at his occasional family gatherings. In university, he studied Economics at California State University, Northridge. There was a sizable Armenian community here, but he was not involved in any communal activities or events with them.
Childhood notion of Armenia
Growing up, Armenia was the ancient land of Ararat with mentions of the old Julfa. It was surrounded by a certain mysticism brimming with stories of the Masis, old family stories, and fairytales. The concept of a contemporary Armenia was rather vague with a sense of ambiguity surrounding it. Given that he did not graduate from an Armenian school, he never had the likelihood of travelling to Armenia at a younger age save for a month-long trip during in 2013 which he vaguely memorable.
His volunteering in Armenia
The first time he was truly in-touch with the Armenian maturity was with Birthright Armenia. 3 days after graduating university in May 2016, he began his journey to Armenia. The inspiration for his semi-spontaneous volunteering originated through a certain lecture in one of his anthropology classes at university; where a group from Peace Corps had discussed their volunteering experiences in Nicaragua working with local peoples.
Armen though, wanted to volunteer for a shorter time and considered Armenia as a better option, since it is his ancestral homeland. Searching for internships in Armenia he discovered Birthright Armenia and signed up. His initial stay was for 3 months at Vanadzor, and after having a few days to himself touring in Yerevan before his orientation and volunteering would begin on June 1st, his first question to the Birthright staff was: “Can I stay longer?”
Overall, he stayed for around 9 months in Armenia before having to return to LA. It was a reluctant decision, for he found for himself a community here, including his distant relatives, and he loved everything about it; particularly the friendliness and safety he saw in the traditional community atmosphere all around. In retrospect though, he is glad he was born outside of Armenia, in that way, he could contribute to it with experiences and a mindset he fostered abroad.