My Way Home

Repat Story
Artur Khachaturyan
Artur Khachaturyan
| From Pyatigorsk, Russia | Moved in 2011

Hundreds of Armenians (and not only they!) come to Armenia from the countries of CIS to study in Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University. Arthur and his brother are one of them. They came to study in Armenia in 2011.
"My parents moved to Pyatigorsk in 1993.My brother was born in Yerevan and I was born in Pyatigorsk. I studied at school № 5 after A.M. Dubinin where one of the best teachers of Stavropol region are teaching. Since the seventh grade I studied in physical and mathematical class. After I left school I moved to Armenia for the following reasons.
There are two good physical and mathematical universities. First is Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology State University and the second is Taganrog State Radio Technical University. But living in Moscow is very expensive even studying on budgetary basis wouldn’t have saved the situation. There is no graded education (undergraduate and graduate) in Taganrog. If I studied there I wouldn’t be able to finish bachelor and then think of other specialization for Master’s degree."
For repatriate students is very important to have relatives in Armenia but not everyone is so lucky.
Many students come and live alone. But Arthur had luck.
My brother came to Yerevan before me, entered the same university, the same faculty where I’m studying now. I have close relatives here with whom I have some time lived with. Sometime after my arrival I and my brother moved to live in another flat. It is easier for me as I step into his shoes.
I live here 3 years already. The first year in Armenia was very hard to me, as first I went to new school and got acquainted with new people. From the one hand everything was fine but I was missing my friends. Second I was preparing to enter the university, I was working hard and didn’t have time for anything else. Generally I communicated with his brother’s classmates. They are good guys, we became friends easily.
Arthur, like all repatriates, had some difficulties at first.
“When I moved here I didn’t know Armenian, that’s why it was difficult for me to remember the names. Armenian has become my second foreign language. Therefore when I want to say something in Armenian, unintentionally I put some Russian or English words. But I’m sure that this problem will be solved during the time.
Since the second year of my stay in Armenia interesting things happened when I went to university and met my classmates. I liked them very much. And also (as it appeared to be one of the most important events!) I started to attend Wing Chun workouts.
In summer, when I knew I entered the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, I left for Pyatigorsk. My brother stayed here. His lessons at the university were over and he wanted to do something useful during his spare time. In the search of perfect and, as he says, all-absorbing studies he found Wing Chun. In August my brother was already attending the workouts. When I returned he showed me a few techniques and I understood immediately I wanted to study it, too. It seemed to me that Wing Chun has an idea which I wanted to comprehend.
My first lesson was on September 1 (then I didn’t know I was attending one of the best Wing Chun schools in the world which is officially recognized both in the East and West).From that moment my life in Armenia was getting better very quickly. I went to trainings three times a week for two hours a day. That was the best time. The thought that that day I would have workout, made it special.
”Well, today I’ll go to the sport club and gain knowledge, happiness, bruises!”- He was thinking. Now I train few hours a day. Not only training but also people are very kind there. Everyone is talkative, interesting in his own way, the atmosphere is very friendly, and we are as one family. I like that it is easy to communicate with the guys, they are positive, despite many of them have already achieved success in their lives, others are doing the first steps of their career yet. It is difficult to remember that someone had entered with sad face, though many angry faces can be found in the streets. I can’t imagine my life without training. That is probably the most important thing that makes me stay.”
It was difficult for Arthur to accept the fact of leaving everything and moving to Armenia. But then his views changed to the better.
It was difficult for me to accept the fact of studying in Armenia. I knew that I’ll leave, but didn’t understand what my life would be like there. I hadn’t imagined that I would miss my friends so much. And also, my I left my dog in Pyatigorsk…I miss her very much. When I talk with my parents my dad shows her on the camera and it is so funny when she reacts on my voice, she recognizes me but doesn’t know where I am. And starts searching me all over the house.
The purpose of my coming to Armenia was to enter the university in order to satisfy my parents. But the university turned out to be very nice. The atmosphere during lessons is always positive. I can say that both at the university and during the trainings I feel comfortable unlike everyday life in Armenia.
My opinion about local Armenians was negative till I came here. Pyatigorsk’s half population is Armenians. Almost all, including my parents, are from Kirovabad. And they don’t like Armenians from Yerevan. I shared their opinion. I could recognize them from the crowd. As a rule they are non-independent, talk very much, are arrogant, shallow persons at first sight. Their mentality differed from ours very much. They kept saying that Armenian history is full of dark parts and that burdened them. I think we should remember the history and move on. But when I moved here I found out that local people are not like those in Russia. Absolutely not! They are always kind and friendly. Armenia is unique due to the people. I have never felt such kindness and tenderness from surrounding people. Even a usual thing like going to the shop rouse positive astonishment in me, kind staff, polite consultants and there is smile on everyone’s face. When I first arrived and wasn’t used to the public conveyances well, I used to ask people in the streets. They were not just saying the number of the bus but also were stopping the needed one saying “this bus goes to the place you need.
”This can be rarely seen in Russia. There is quite different attitude towards people.
Arthur’s views for the future
Now the most important thing in my life is to get education. My lecturers of physics are one of the best physicists in Armenia. I know for sure they will give me qualitative knowledge. In Russian universities many things are solved by money but here, in my university, everything is different. Bribes are not taken and so you know that you should study and take the exams on your own. Now I think of taking my Master’s degree.
Armenians are bound up with the history. No matter who I ask everyone starts telling about Armenian Genocide, about Great Armenia in details that makes a piece of themselves. I like it very much, but they haven’t departed from the past that’s why they can’t move on. Future is in our hands, we can’t live with the past. We live here and now, we need to change to the better, to help the country that needs us.
Interview by Mariam Avagyan
Translated by Milena Voskanyan

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