My Way Home

Repat Story
Tatev Babayan
Tatev Babayan
From Boston, USA | Moved in 2015

The new promotion manager of RepatArmenia Foundation, Tatev Babayan is a good example of a successful repatriation from Boston to Yerevan. Having graduated from Suffolk University with a degree in international relations, Tatev decided to pursue a career in Armenia. For her, the move to Armenia meant getting rid of stereotypes as well as cultural adaptation.
How did you get the idea to move to Armenia?
I was born in Yerevan and lived in Armenia until I was 12, then my family moved to Boston, where my parents and my brother now live. I first got the idea of moving when I was studying at university, as I used to spend my vacations in Armenia. The summer atmosphere, warm family gatherings, and safety, these all made Armenia very attractive.; you want to live, work and make progress here.
What was your family’s and friends’ reaction to your decision to move?
I think they expected it. Armenia has always attracted me. It took me a long time to realize that I wanted to live and work in Armenia. Despite my love for traveling, in my thoughts I always return here, it is where I belong.
Armenians in the Diaspora have a certain stereotype of Armenia. Did you manage to overcome these stereotypes?
Having lived in the USA for more than 10 years, I didn’t become an American, but having lived 1.5 years in Armenia, I don’t fully feel Armenian. I am certainly adapting, but step by step. There are certain aspects which I didn’t like from the very beginning: a different lifestyle, a great dependence on the opinion of others, but during the last year, having built my own circle, I have managed to avoid negative experiences. Everything depends on your attitude: if you want to see the negative, you will find it.

Do you plan to continue your education in Armenia after graduating from university in America? What do you think of local young people?
I am thinking of doing a master’s program at the American University of Armenia (AUA). It is necessary to motivate young people, to change their value system. There is a huge potential which can be and must be realized now. There are all the necessary conditions for that, absolutely.
Many people say that a move to Armenia is a stimulus to creative development. What do you think?
Strange as it sounds, it’s true. I have always been interested in fashion and new ideas. My friend is a designer and we started up a new line of clothes produced in Armenia. I think the aspiration to create products #MadeinArmenia gives me creative energy. Now many of my friends all over the world, from Peru to the USA, have ordered the first collection, so, it is my contribution to familiarization of foreigners with Armenia.
What were your impressions of Armenia before starting to work for RepatArmenia?
There is an opinion that if you don’t feel tired at work, the work you do is close to your heart. That’s how I feel at RepatArmenia. Before that, I managed an online school in Armenia, facing both positive and negative aspects of management. It is not always necessary to act as a “boss”, I found that having a personal approach to each of the employees allowed me to succeed in this role. In Armenia, it’s important to give positive motivation – you manage to do much both at work and after it.
Many people ask who these repatriates are and what their purpose is. Is there an answer?
The aim of RepatArmenia is to help with a “soft landing” and create an environment in all spheres: immersion into the community of repatriates and support of professionals in socialization and adaptation. It is very difficult to define an “all-purpose recipe” for people from Canada, Syria, France, Iran, USA, Russia and other countries. Some people limit their communication to “their own people” out of habit; others are more open to change, to enlarging their circle of contacts and changing their lifestyle.
What mistakes should be avoided if you want to return to Armenia?
First of all, one should learn setting real deadlines and aims. Any move is stressful, but this kind of shakeup enables to find oneself. You must expect support, but the main burden is yours, as it is a world of grown-ups and independent people and you should be ready to overcome many difficulties and hardships by yourself.
Is Armenia a place for all Armenians or are there exceptions?
There is a good principle “to each their own”. You should try. You may be successful in Singapore, USA or France, but it is much more pleasant to be successful in Armenia. Besides, only here can you fully realize and feel your Armenian identity. It is a hard choice. One must be ready. The conditions for such people are already made.
Tatev is not only a new staff member at RepatArmenia but also an active member of Global Shapers Yerevan Hub, the aim of which is to develop social and humanitarian projects aimed at Armenia’s development. Every person can find a place in today’s Armenia. The story of every repatriate is a story of a personal victory and conscious choice to be Armenian in their Motherland.
Interviewed by Elena Kozhemyakina
Edited by William Bairamian

Other articles of the author:
Artsakh Chronicles: David Vardanyan
Chronicles of Artsakh – Artak Beglaryan
Warrior Bee of Armenia - Maria Soboleva 

Read More

See all
  • Repat Story
    Professional repatriation: victories for the Motherland and for yourself
    Professional repatriation: victories for the Motherland and for yourself
  • Armenian by Choice
    London-born Lawyer Carl Ulbricht Revives Armenian Crafts in Garni
    London-born Lawyer Carl Ulbricht Revives Armenian Crafts in Garni
  • Tips
    Discover Summer Programs for Kids and Youth in Armenia 2024
    Discover Summer Programs for Kids and Youth in Armenia 2024
  • Armenian by Choice
    I Always Say "Give Armenia Seven Days"
    I Always Say "Give Armenia Seven Days"