To volunteer with Birthright Armenia, the applicant has to be:
1) Of Armenian heritage (at least one grandparent must be fully Armenian).
2) Between the ages of 21 and 32 years, and must have graduated from high school (secondary school).
3) Born outside of Armenia or, if born in Armenia, prove by official documentation that they left Armenia before the age of 15 and must have lived abroad at least 10 years.
4) Applicants who have primarily resided in Armenia for longer than the last 3 years are not eligible.
Exceptions are not made to our age criteria since we offer a very broad 11-year window. Older volunteers, even of non-Armenian descent, can come to Armenia and volunteer with our sister organization, the Armenian Volunteer Corps
In some instances, it’s possible to volunteer with another partner organization either before or after volunteering with Birthright Armenia, while receiving credit for the weeks volunteered with our partner. Such organizations are the Youth Corps Programs (AYF Youth Corps), the Diaspora-Armenia Connexion (DAC) and others. Please contact us to see if your organization qualifies.
You will receive a stamp in your passport upon arrival, which allows you to stay in Armenia for 180 days. Contact us for longer term stays.
No, a high school diploma is sufficient.
Of course! While being able to speak Armenian is certainly a plus, it is not a requirement for participation.
Preferably, you need to have a completed application package at least two months prior to your intended start date. Since summer months are busier, we encourage even earlier applications. Here is the application and pre-arrival timeline.
One attractive aspect of the program is that we make the entire experience as affordable as possible. The travel reimbursement policy section describes how you can qualify for an airfare reimbursement; we have no application or enrollment fees; we pay the basic costs of living with a host family which includes a daily breakfast; the only mandatory cost is 5900 AMD per month for medical insurance. Participation in an excursion costs 4000 AMD per day and includes the transportation, guide, lodging and food. Volunteers have to plan on paying for basic expenses such as food, mobile phone usage, local transportation and lodging rental (if not staying with a host family). A typical volunteer monthly expenses can range between 200-700 USD.
For more details, click here.
A - Birthright Lite is an option for full-time working professionals, regardless the age, who have valuable skills to share but who have limited time away from their job. They are invited to apply and volunteer for 4-9 weeks in-country, and still experience Armenia as a non-tourist. Birthright Lite participants pay for their own travel, lodging/host family costs. However, Birthright Lite participants may choose to do a second and final participation later for a minimum 9 weeks.
Please, click here to check whether or not you need a visa. Candidates born in Armenia should inquire with the nearest Armenia Embassy or Consulate on military service requirements.
A vast majority of volunteers get to learn through their cultural and professional experiences, grow as individuals, form a network of international peers and establish a long term connection with the country. At the same time some volunteers may struggle with cultural shock, the distance from relatives, the language barrier, etc. But all challenges are surmountable and all of the volunteers are fully supported by staff and fellow participants.
Yes, you can reach out to the staff via visit, phone or e-mail.
Yes, of course. You can email our alumni coordinator, Ani Gharabaghtsyan, who will gladly connect you to an alum from your city: [email protected]
You can see all of our videos on our YouTube channel, and you can subscribe to our channel. Also, we have a very active Facebook page, as well as a blog written by our former participants.
Yes, our driver will pick you up at Zvartnots airport in Yerevan.
Yes, we organize various cultural events, such as museum visits, group attendance to different concerts, dance performances, etc. Also, we encourage volunteers to plan their own cultural program.
After the 18th week of participation, Birthright Armenia starts paying volunteers a monthly allowance to help cover basic living expenses. The monthly stipends start at 20,000 AMD and increase up to 60,0000 AMD.
Birthright Armenia participants are not allowed to travel outside Armenia during the first four months of their service. After four months of volunteering, participants get two weeks of vacation. After eight months of volunteering, they get another two weeks of vacation. Participants can leave the country during vacation.
Yes, we can provide you with references upon request.
Yes. Birthright Armenia has a collaboration with the American University of Armenia for a Study Abroad option, as well as a Summer Study program with Southwestern Law School. These option combine formal university studies with some volunteering
There are several ways our short-term volunteers transfer/access money in Armenia. The first option is ATMs, which could be easily found in every corner in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor. ATMs in Armenia function in accordance with the Plus Global Access Network, Visa, and MasterCard systems. Keep in mind that ATMs charge you a fee for each transaction. The second option to carry cash with you directly. Another option is wire transfers. The money can be picked up at a bank with a passport. The fee for the transfer is often less than ATM charges. For long term volunteers, opening a personal bank account here in Armenia is definitely another option. Opening an account in Armenia’s banks can be done within 20 minutes and with the use of a passport.
Outside of Yerevan, homestay living is mandatory. In Yerevan, homestay living is not mandatory but is encouraged. When a volunteer is accepted into the Birthright Armenia program, they can choose to be placed with a local host family during all or part of their stay. A volunteer can choose to stay at another place as long as the volunteer arranges it and pays for it. Birthright Armenia cannot provide rental assistance.
Birthright Armenia strongly encourages and offers incentives to volunteers who choose to live with host families, as it allows volunteers to interact with locals on a more personal level. Families usually have at least one member of the family who is within age range of the volunteer allowing for youth-to-youth contact at home.
About 2/3 of our volunteers choose to live with host families
Yes, you can. We offer flexibility when it comes to your accommodation. In fact, some volunteers split their time between staying with a host family and doing their own living arrangements.
Birthright Armenia (BR) pays host family living basic expenses as follows:
- For volunteers serving outside Yerevan (any time of year), and those serving in Yerevan (September-May), BR pays for the basic expenses
- From June - August, BR pays for 50% of basic expenses of Yerevan based volunteers, and the volunteer pays the remaining 50% (which equals 50,000 AMD)․
- From June-August, BR pays for 100% of basic expenses of Yerevan based volunteers if the service is a continuation of a minimum 14 weeks of service in the non-summer months.
- BR Lite participants pay for the entire cost of living with the host family at 100,000 AMD per month.
- For winter months (November 15 – March 15), the family is compensated with the amount of 113,000 drams per month.
At their option, volunteers may choose to have dinner with their host families, as well as do their laundry at the home. The dinner plan costs 30,000 AMD per month, and the laundry plan costs 10,000 AMD. Both of these optional expenses are paid by the volunteer.
We do our best to ensure that living with host families is very safe, and we have a network of families throughout Armenia. Each host family is pre-selected and pre-screened by Birthright Armenia.
Birthright Armenia reserves the right to place volunteers with families at its own discretion. All locations are within walking distance to public transportation.
Certainly. In the pre-arrival package, you will have the chance to mention any specifics that you want us to take into consideration. We will alert the host family of your specific case prior to your arrival.
Yes, as a rule we place one volunteer in one host family at the same time
Absolutely. For participants who do not speak Armenian, generally but not always, at least one host family member will have some knowledge of a language spoken by the participant. However, a lot of our volunteers ask to be placed with a family that only speaks Armenian, as that helps them to learn Armenian really quickly.
We do our best to ensure that at least one host family member speaks your language. You will be asked to fill out a separate host family application, where you can mention your language preferences.
Internet/WiFi is available in most homes. Moreover, 3G/4G coverage is extensive throughout the country and smart devices can almost always be connected to the internet.
It is up to the host family to decide whether or not a key will be provided, however, volunteers will have a constant access to the house.
We understand that on rare occasions participants may be staying outside their homestays. Our policy allows spending one night per month outside for personal reasons. For additional nights, the participants will have to compensate BR at a rate of 3,500 AMD/night. Exception to this policy is during Birthright Armenia organized excursions, weekends for out-of-Yerevan participants, work assignments, pre-approved vacations and the long New Year holidays (usually from Dec 31 to January 7).
Yes. In order not to inconvenience the families, we ask that volunteers return home by midnight. Twice a week you can come home later by giving the family prior notice. If you prefer to have more freedom, you should consider apartment rental options.
Yes, we will provide you the host family’s contact information prior to your arrival, so you can contact them and get to know them
Bringing a gift for your host family is not mandatory, but it’s a great gesture of gratitude for a family that will be your host and family for many weeks/months ahead.
Here are some gift ideas for your host family:
- Souvenir coffee cup/mug from your home city/state/country.
- Toys, board games or puzzles for your host siblings.
- A small make up or lotion/ perfume set for your host mother/sister.
- A box of chocolates, candy or cookies.
- Fashion accessories/ jewelry (earrings, necklace, and bracelet) for your host mother/sister.
Gifts that are not appropriate in Armenian culture include used clothes, or personal hygiene products.
We are in constant search for new families, thus there are always some new families to the program. However, typically our host families are experienced and have hosted at least one volunteer before you.
Near the end of your time in Armenia, you can choose to live in a village with a family to experience village life. There will be no volunteering, you will simply live with the family, participate in their day-to-day life, and improve your Armenian language skills.
Internships and Volunteering
Birthright Armenia maintains an extensive, current database of potential job placements for volunteers within Yerevan and the regions. These placements include positions in non-profit and international organizations, as well as in the private business sector and state institutions. We offer volunteer and internship positions in a wide variety of fields, a small sampling listed below to give you an idea of some possibilities. Actual job placements get filled on a first come first served basis, and take into consideration a volunteer’s previous experience, qualifications/skill set, and of course the current needs of the job site at any given time. Click here to learn more about specific volunteer and internship sites not only in Yerevan, but also in other cities where we have a fully-supported program.
We usually start the jobsite placement process after we receive the volunteer’s itinerary. On case by case basis, we may send the volunteer preliminary jobsite options, before the ticket is purchased.
Our internships are designed for different stages of your education and careers. We match the interests and skills of the volunteer and the needs of local organizations to find an enjoyable and rewarding job placement experience.
We can contact the organization, where you would like to volunteer, to assess their needs and make a decision whether your skills and knowledge would be useful in the given organization.
Your Birthright Armenia application will give us guidance as to what type of internship/volunteerism you wish to carry out while in Armenia. Furthermore, the application interview will give each applicant an opportunity to discuss individual interests and hear about the available options in Armenia. Accepted applicants, who have finalized and purchased itineraries, will be contacted by our staff 1-2 months prior to their arrival date, to receive various volunteerism options and plan collaboratively the final volunteer worksites.
Yes, you can have multiple placements at a time.
You must complete a minimum of nine weeks (30 hours per week) of volunteer work at your place of internship, and periodically participate in joint community service projects. Travel reimbursement eligibility can be found here.
Knowledge of Armenian is not a must, but is taken into consideration when choosing your internship placement.
Yes, absolutely, and they are encouraged to do so. In the city of Gyumri, we offer a fully-supported, year-round program to our participants, and a fully-supported Vanadzor program from May till October. Besides these options, we also support our longer term volunteers with jobsite and homestay arrangements across the country.
Volunteers are not allowed to earn money while in the program. However, volunteers, who face financial difficulties can apply and be granted a permission to work outside of volunteering hours. They are responsible for finding their own paid job.
Language knowledge, relevant job skills, interpersonal relations are all important factors like at any jobsite, and volunteers are expected to be pro-active and initiative takers in order to increase jobsite satisfaction. Staff makes quick adjustments in case of issues.
Our Pathway to Armenia program is intended to provide leads, guidance and networking, plus other benefits. But you’ll need to put in a serious effort as well.
Yes, we’re flexible in terms of adjustments and long term volunteers can have different phases.
Excursions are held weekly throughout the year, and we visit all regions of Armenia and Artsakh. We visit both commonplace sites and remote destinations. Hikes, harvests, nature, village lunches, games, community service projects and adventure are found throughout our excursion series. Learn what’s to come on our calendar.
Not at all, but you don’t want to miss out on the fun!
Participants pay 4000 AMD per excursion day – this deposit covers the transportation, guide, lunch and other fees associated with an excursion.
Excursions are organized specifically for our participants, however, on a space available basis, a participant may invite another person to take part for a fee.
The language classes are NOT mandatory but we offer them to help volunteers achieve basic conversational proficiency, a requirement for the travel reimbursement. A person with basic conversational proficiency is described as the following:
- Able to understand basic questions and speech, conversations in daily life occurrences;
- Has a vocabulary large enough to communicate the basic needs, simple stories and daily experiences with an accent that is understandable to native speakers.
No. While being able to speak Armenian is certainly a plus, it is not a requirement for participation.
We have classes every Tuesday and Thursday, 2 hours per day, for a total of 4 hours per week.
Yes. The language classes are organized specifically for our participants, and free of charge.
Our language classes are held at the Birthright Armenia Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor offices depending on where you are volunteering.
Yes, we have language classes in all outside of Yerevan locations, where we have an official program running.
Yes, we have specially designed classes for volunteers, who speak Armenia, and want to concentrate on reading and writing.
Yes, there is. It is a specially designed book for those who are just starting Armenian courses. It was written by one of our teachers!
Typically the classes will consist of 2 to 5 volunteers of similar language skills. On rare occasions volunteers will have one-on-one classes.
Yes! Birthright Armenia is running a week-long, intensive language course quarterly. If you have a flexible schedule and a strong desire to learn the language, you can plan your arrival within 4 (exactly 4!) days prior to quarterly intensive language course running in the first week of March, June, September, or November. Classes run Monday to Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM with an hour-long lunch break and two 10-minute breaks. The intensive language course is reserved for absolute beginners and is limited to a class size of five students each quarter. Enrolling in the course would not require a longer stay, as the course counts toward your volunteering hours.
If interested, please send an email to [email protected] to sign up for the intensive language training.
Forum sessions are presentations at our office and visits to other venues. We invite guest specialists in various areas including: Armenia's economic and cultural development, the business sector, the environment, healthcare, politics, education, arts, etc.
Havaks are informal gatherings, sometimes with the participation of local youth, during which Birthright Armenia participants share experiences, discuss their emotions, learn to prepare Armenian dishes, practice authentic Armenian folk dances, and much more.
Volunteers who meet our travel reimbursement policy eligibility are required to attend a minimum of 50% of the organized forums and a minimum of 50% of the organized havaks. Non-eligible volunteers are encouraged to participate in as many as they can.
Yes, there will be a lot of other volunteers from different parts of the world. You will have a chance to interact with them during various program components and outside of the program too.
1.1. Complete 9-14 weeks of volunteer service in Armenia to be reimbursed 50% of the agreed travel cost.
1.2. Complete 14+ weeks of volunteer service in Armenia to be reimbursed 100% of the agreed travel cost.
1.3. Volunteer service is eligible for Travel Reimbursement if performed between September 1 to May 31 in any city including Yerevan, if performed between June 1 to August 31 outside of Yerevan only.
2. Perform a minimum of 30 hours of volunteerism per week,
3. Attend a minimum of 50% of the forums, and a minimum of 50% of the havaks,
4. Acquire basic conversational fluency in Armenian,
5. Complete end-of-volunteering surveys and paperwork within 90 days.
Exception to the above:
Participants over the age of 25, and with a minimum two years of experience in the IT sector in a scientific/technology position, can do their service during the summer months in Yerevan in the IT sector (scientific/technology position) and have travel reimbursement eligibility according to the above criteria but homestay is covered at 50%.
Participants who are already in-country when accepted into the program will be eligible for only half the applicable airfare.
The ticket price may include fare mandatory fees, taxes, and one checked baggage. It does not include additional costs for itineraries with extended, optional and additional stopovers, flight insurance or excess baggage costs.
Upon official acceptance into Birthright Armenia, all participants must obtain airline ticket price quotes from momondo.com. Quotes should be for roundtrip travel and also one-way travel if planning on staying 4+months. Participants may also submit additional quotes from other sources. After reviewing the quotes, Birthright Armenia will set an agreed price and approval to make the final ticket purchase. Tickets bought without prior approval or by other means may be reimbursed at lower amounts. Upon official acceptance into Birthright Armenia, all participants must obtain airline ticket price quotes from momondo.com. Quotes should be for roundtrip travel and also one-way travel if planning on staying 4+ months. Participants may also submit additional quotes from other sources. After reviewing the quotes, Birthright Armenia will set an agreed price and approval to make the final ticket purchase. Tickets bought without prior approval or by other means may be reimbursed at lower amounts.
At the end of the volunteerism period, upon completion of all terms and requirements including all the exit paperwork, Birthright Armenia will reimburse the participant within 8 weeks via wire transfer to a bank account of their choice.
BR Lite participants are not eligible for travel reimbursement due to their short volunteer period (4-9 weeks).
Ticket extensions of 2+ months may be eligible for up to 200 USD in ticket change costs.
For more details, click here.
To support longtime volunteering, after the 18th week of participation, Birthright Armenia starts paying volunteers a monthly allowance to help cover basic living expenses. The monthly stipends starts at 20,000 AMD and increase up to 60,000AMD.