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Mihail Mnasakanyan

Mihail Mnasakanyan (MAIRD ’25): Reflecting on my First Semester at AUA

2 min read

I sincerely appreciate the incredible academic experience I have had during my first semester at the American University of Armenia (AUA). As an international student with a background in international relations, I welcomed the extensive knowledge and perspectives to which I was exposed by looking at things I had studied back at university in Russia from a different angle here at AUA. All of my professors, Dr. Asbed Kotchikian, Dr. Stephan H. Astourian, and Dr. Hovhannes Nikoghosyan, as well as former Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, have been incredible. Though the semester is over, I find myself still reflecting on the fascinating concepts and ideas discussed in our classes. The level of support from my instructors has been outstanding; it’s not just about discussing theoretical frameworks, but also delving into ideas and concepts that make the learning experience truly incredible.

I was particularly impressed by the inclusiveness of the academic community at the University. This warm embrace has made my transition as an international student smoother, and the sense of belonging is palpable. What I have found even more fascinating is the diversity of perspectives that is promoted in the American university system and commitment to listening to each other, whether student or professor. AUA faculty foster an academic environment that actively encourages students to engage in meaningful dialogue. All of this sparks intellectual curiosity and significantly contributes to the development of critical thinking skills among students.

As I began my studies at the University, I quickly realized that, in contrast to the post-Soviet educational system where one major perspective on international relations may prevail, the opposite is true for its American counterpart. AUA actively encourages a wide array of perspectives on the topic, thus fostering spirited discourse that enhances our collective understanding of these complex issues. Indeed, what has stood out to me the most is the inspiring belief, here at the University, in the transformative power of education to make meaningful change in Armenia and beyond. 

I want to reiterate my gratitude for the enriching academic experience and opportunities for growth and learning that AUA has provided me during my first semester here. I wish the entire University community a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead.

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