My Way Home

Armenian by Birth
Dzovag Soghomonian
Dzovag Soghomonian
Dzovag Soghomonian moved to Armenia in 2014 from Damascus, Syria. She is a 25 year old student in the French University in Armenia and works as a coordinator of “’’, a repatriate business promotion project at Repat Armenia Foundation. She works to persuade Armenian youth from Diaspora to come see how real and amazing life in Armenia can be.
Dzovag, every Armenian from the Diaspora has a story behind their arrival here. What was your, and your family’s, story?
I was born in Damascus, but I’m originally from Kessab. Kessab was, and is, a part of my identity. We always used to spend our summers at my grandparents’ place in Kessab, so I remember how excited I was every time visiting them. Kessab was like heaven for me; I was surrounded only with Armenians, Kessab’s dialect, amazing nature and felt the spirit of the Cilicia Kingdom’s history.

Kessab gave me my spiritual strength and pride of being Armenian. That’s why if someone asks where I came from, my proud answer is always Kessab. Preservation of Armenian identity is a hard challenge to overcome for every Armenian parent from the Diaspora. You work really hard to preserve Armenian identity in the Diaspora, but the problem is that the life of Armenians in any country outside of Armenia is not everlasting and the war in Syria is another example of that.

You live in Armenia without your family. how did this happen?
Yes, my family still lives in Damascus. My decision to move to Armenia has a dramatic backstory. I received a Technical Diploma in Business Administration and studied Small Project Management in Damascus University. During my studies I trained in Qatar National bank and got valuable experience in Human Recourse Management. Then I worked in the Central Bank of Syria as a Deliberation Coordinator. Long story short, everything was planned and I was very excited about my future. Things changed and I completely shifted my life’s direction in 2013, when I was hurt from an explosion during my work day in the Central Bank. I had to undergo medical treatments, I was stressed and didn’t want to continue my life in Syria anymore.

After rain comes sun, so that’s what happened to me. One of my cousins invited me to her wedding in Armenia. I have never been to Armenia, so this was a dream come true. I came to the wedding and visited places that I had only dreamed of, so, I just fell in love with Armenia. From that moment on I knew that I would come back again. I moved to Armenia to continue my studies. My aunt’s friends from Armenia, a beautiful couple, hosted me and treated me as their family member. They introduced me to many locals and helped me to integrate into the society here. Even now I can’t find the appropriate words of appreciation for this amazing family. So this is basically how it happened.

Dzovag, you work at Repat Armenia Foundation as a project coordinator. Was it easy for you to find a job in Armenia?
My life in general is full of surprises and working at Repat Armenia Foundation is not an exception. I was introduced and invited to events of the Repat Armenia Foundation, but as I was busy with my university, I couldn’t participate. Those busy days ended and I started volunteering there. I was more than happy to work for  Repat Armenia. I just need to stress that Repat Armenia Foundation is an amazing place and being a volunteer for them was such an honor for me.

Then I started my work on ‘’’’ repatriate business promotion project. It is a great platform for showing people that there are so many repat businesses in Armenia and you can definitely succeed if  you have an idea, work ethic and passion for what you do. I can’t say if it is easy or not, but passion, motivation and good qualifications work really well in Armenia and impact your future as they would everywhere else in the world.

What do you like most in Armenia? What keeps you here?
The best thing here is the people. You can’t even imagine how supportive they are but I can tell you from my personal experience. As I mentioned, first I lived with a family for 3 months, which was completely unfamiliar to me. When I started my independent life here, my roommate became my best friend. She was from Gyumri, so she took me to her home, introduced me to her family and to the beautiful city of Gyumri which amazed me so much.

My friends/colleagues from Repat Armenia Foundation are always there when I need them. There are so many great people in my life and I can state with 100% certainty that Armenia is sacred for me not only for being my homeland, but for the people who live here and give me strength and the determination to move forward.

Dzovag, how do you see Armenia in the future?
First of all, I would like to mention that we can’t preserve our identity anywhere else except Armenia. Yes, there are many difficulties and obstacles, but our willpower and endurance will help us to overcome them. My dream is to see Armenia as a powerful, developed country, with a sustainable human resource, motivated and enthusiastic youth who persist in making their vision of the future become a reality.

We always consider Armenia to be a fantastical place from what we have learned about it in our history books or from the stories told by our music and dance, but Armenia is much more than this. It is a reality, and when we dream of Armenia it should only be about its future, but even then we should act to make that dream a reality as well. I’m 25, I repatriated 2 years ago to Armenia but had other options to move to places like Canada or Europe, I work really hard for what I have now and want to have in the future. I believe that we can be successful young repatriates in Armenia and I would like to show this by being a living example of it.

Interviewed by Rima Yeghiazarian
Edited by Ardag Kosian

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