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AUA Open Education Organizes Summer Schools in Five Regions

4 min read

As the summer of 2023 draws to an end, the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Open Education (OE) is wrapping up this week the vigorous and educative summer schools organized by OE regional centers in Lori, Syunik, Vayots Dzor, and Shirak in Armenia and Stepanakert in Artsakh. All five summer schools were greatly successful, leaving a lasting impact on all 108 participants.

Summer School in Vanadzor

In the heart of Vanadzor, AUA OE in Lori spearheaded an educative summer school aimed at nurturing leadership qualities in teenagers. The morning sessions were dedicated to unpacking the essence of leadership, exploring its diverse styles, and unveiling the factors and processes of transforming from a mere group into a unified team. Purposive group activities and engaging games kindled the spark of leadership within each participant. The last morning session was devoted to English language class. The highlight of the day was the leadership course with Mher Santoyan. His extensive experience in leadership roles include Vanadzor YMCA camp coordinator and shift leader, coordinator of various projects at the NGO Center and Birthright Armenia, as well as leadership training lead at Orran. Santoyan invigorated the whole class, sharing his rich experiences with the students.

As the course drew to a close, these budding leaders emerged with a comprehensive grasp of leadership principles and newfound leadership skills. A felicitous closing ceremony rounded out the program, featuring invigorating games and presentation of awards. Adding an emotional moment to the closing event, participants took center stage to share reflections on their individual favorite leaders.

Summer School in Goris

The OE Syunik Center in Goris organized a summer immersion course for the participants in the city and nearby communities. The summer school was particularly focused on nurturing leadership acumen among students aged 13-15. This endeavor sought to unleash the potential for interpersonal and leadership skills. The specialized curriculum centered on honing communication skills, including the nuances of voice projection, body language, and persuasive speech. Through interactive activities and hands-on exercises, students discovered the power of eloquently expressing themselves in various contexts, from presentations to debates and interviews. Vital tenets of leadership, including effective communication, teamwork, and problem-solving — essential skills that transcend all disciplines — were instilled in the participants.

Mornings began with invigorating exercises at the nearby park, fostering not only mental acuity, but also a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the rest of each day, the participants were engaged in cultural expeditions, team-bonding activities, and sports, forging unforgettable summer memories. Ultimately, this transformative journey developed the students to be the best version of themselves, equipped with the ultimate skills for success. 

Summer School in Yeghegnadzor

The OE Vayots Dzor Center in Yeghegnadzor organized an innovative summer school tailored to young entrepreneurs aged 12-14, particularly focused on promoting entrepreneurial thinking among them. Participants were immersed in a dynamic curriculum that explored the core tenets of entrepreneurship. The program’s participatory approach, marked by student-centered games, prompted introspective reflection of personal strengths, weaknesses, talents, and ambitions. From risk analysis to formulating specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely (SMART) goals and making effective decisions, students delved into the multifaceted world of entrepreneurship. 

Excursions to prominent local businesses, screenings of relevant movies, and various topical discussions assured the program’s vibrancy throughout. Participants harnessed their creativity to draw up new business ideas, mastering the intricacies of cost-benefit analysis and embracing 4H life skills, such as self-motivation, leadership, teamwork, communication, and others. Through meetings with the high school group Volunteer Vayots Dzor, the students implemented small-scale projects in real-world situations, augmenting their practical knowhow. English vocabulary sessions taught simultaneously also enhanced their language skills.The summer school culminated in a fair where participants showcased products they had created from their innovative business ideas. The entrepreneurial component of the program, devised in collaboration with American Councils, was delivered by one of its volunteers.

Summer School in Gyumri

OE Shirak Center in Gyumri organized an educational summer school for children aged 12-14 to embark on a captivating journey of exploration. Divided into two segments, the summer school first exposed students to art and soft skills. Following a short break, participants regrouped to take virtual voyages to various countries, unearthing cultural treasures, culinary traditions, and unique customs. The participants were imbued with a rich vocabulary that covered local customs, cuisine, and other aspects of cultural life.

The program culminated in an art exhibition where students depicted and shared with fellow participants creations of their beloved landmarks. The cultural exchange continued as each group from a different adopted country presented its unique attributes, inviting their peers to guess its identity. As the weeks progressed, participants explored topics ranging from museology and sightseeing to cooking and cinema, all anchored in artistic and cultural appreciation. A park quest added an adventurous twist, requiring participants to decode the clues revealing the featured country in each case. The program was comprehensive and also incorporated sessions in Armenian for art and soft skills, duly fostering team dynamics and self-discovery. The English language lessons enriched participants’ vocabulary, specifically in travel, cuisine, architecture, and art. Occasional guest speakers added more depth to the program’s enriching experience. 

Summer School in Stepanakert

Again this year, OE Stepanakert organized an engaging summer school specifically designed for children aged 10-12. The primary aim was to enhance their English language skills through a series of interactive exercises. This comprehensive program incorporated all the components akin to tailored language teaching, including interactive learning activities, blended with games and team challenges, and immersive cultural exploration, combined with reading and writing to unleash participants’ creativity.

Despite challenges posed by Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of the Republic of Artsakh, OE’s unwavering commitment to educate the young generation in Stepanakert resulted in the organization of two highly productive summer schools. Read more about the first here. The initiative produced positive results with respect to realizing the students’ language fluency and confidence to engage in conversational  English.

In essence, OE’s summer schools across the regions of Armenia and Republic of Artsakh were a celebration of learning, collaboration, and personal growth. Through each unique program’s content and tapestry, participants leave with a trove of new skills, lifelong memories, and a stronger sense of empowerment of their own potential.

Open Education (OE) is the non-degree educational program of the American University of Armenia (AUA), with programs especially geared to meeting the educational needs of individuals from diverse backgrounds and occupations, as well as governments and corporate organizations. OE offers a comprehensive range of courses and certificate programs, including language classes, test preparation courses, and a wide range of professional development training. Through its regional centers around Armenia, OE expands opportunities for locals to thrive and contribute to the development of their communities. Additionally, OE provides testing services on behalf of various standardized tests for college admission and exams for international professional certification.