Student Voices: From AUA to the Army and Back
An eighteen year-old young man was standing in front of the American University of Armenia (AUA). He took one last look at the two brightly lit buildings proudly standing next to one another. He had spent a whole academic year here, taking his first steps as an adult. That last glance gave him flashbacks to all the amazing memories, new but already dear friends, professors who guided him through his first academic year at the university, and of course the staff members who never failed to secure a comfortable environment for his classmates and him to study. He knew he was going to miss student life at AUA, but he also knew for certain that the doors of the University would welcome him again after two years of military service in the Armenian army.
Hayk Hakobyan is a sophomore student who is majoring in Business Administration. In the future, he plans to specialize in the field of finance. He believes AUA can give him a unique opportunity not only to acquire professional knowledge, but also to create an accountable network that will ensure his professional growth and career development. Of course, Hayk is not the only soldier who left AUA for two years to serve his country. Even though the soldiers are not physically present, they are never excluded from AUA’s daily activities. Thanks to the efficient and flexible work of the Registrar’s office, the soldiers are kept informed about updates, policy changes, and exciting events happening on campus. Soldiers are also encouraged to participate in the gatherings, hikes, and concerts organized by the Student Council and student clubs whenever possible.
However, not all students necessarily leave their studies to serve in the army. Some of them are granted a four-year military deferment and receive scholarships covering their full freshman year tuition. The military deferment is hard to receive, as there are only a few spots available every year. To be a candidate students should have received comparably high results on their entry exams and also have excellent academic standing reflected in their previous transcripts.
Erik Arakelyan is a junior student majoring in Computer Science. He is one of the few who were granted a military deferment. Despite his young age, he managed to develop several applications, which are now available for public use. Erik’s success is not only evident through his high academic performance, but through his active role outside AUA as well. He never misses a chance to participate in different training courses, volunteering activities, and seminars. Recently he launched his own applications called “Chess NYC Training”, “ArtName,” and “Draemirs Adventures”. Erik also works as an iOS developer in a competitive international IT company. He appreciates the opportunity provided to him by AUA to delay his two-year military service.
Nonetheless, even for those students who go to serve, leaving does not mean never coming back. After completing their military service, there are many students who came back to AUA and are currently continuing their studies in their chosen field. Those students are neither obliged to repeat the courses that they have already passed, nor work more intensively to keep up with their classmates. Thanks to the course structure at AUA and workshops organized by Center for Student Success, those who leave the University for one reason or another, can come back and continue right from where they left off.
Albert Aproyan is a junior student at AUA, who similarly continued his undergraduate education right after completing his two-year military service. He began his studies as a computer science student, but realizing his passion for humanities, transferred his studies and became an English and Communications major. In the future, he plans to specialize in law. With the assistance of the program chair, he constructed a new schedule that would enable him not to miss any track courses and graduate on time. Ever since he came back from the army, he frequently visits the Center for Student Success to improve his writing skills. Integration as a new student has never been a problem for Albert considering the instructors’ support.
The American University has become a home for many of its students, soldiers and all. With the malleability of projects, the flexible schedules of the instructors and the numerous opportunities provided, the university remains the number one choice of students. Even those who leave their studies to serve in the army never have trouble integrating back into university life.
We wish our soldiers good health and a secure environment.