Moscow Summer Intern Program Participant Raffi Babikian Reflects on his Summer in Moscow

Raffi Babikian (center in blue shirt) with some of the other male participants in the 2010 Moscow Summer Intern Program.

I have not done much traveling outside of the United States at this point; only France and Israel. Those are the only ones I can remember. I have also been to Australia when I was young. In my opinion life gets boring when you are in same city, or even the same country, for a long period of time.

The Moscow Summer Internship Program seemed like a very necessary step in my life. After the essential paperwork was dealt with, it was time. It was hard to believe, but I was in Moscow. My feeling about the city is like a roller coaster that has yet to drop. I feel very comfortable here in the city of Moscow. The city has a great fusion of the modern and historical.

Raffi Babikian enjoying the sights and sounds of Moscow.

I received an offer to intern for the Association of Russian Banks, which is run by Garegin A. Tosunyan. I am working as an analyst, specializing in the real estate market. I was working under Serge Grigoryan, chief analyst. He alone helped me a great deal in adapting to such a different work environment. It was a pleasure to work here and alongside my fellow co-workers.

Outside of work there were another group of people who none of us interns could have been without: the AGBU volunteers. Since most of the city has nothing written in English and most people here did not speak English, we were reliant on these volunteers. They accepted the challenge with open arms. We were escorted for the first week to our workplace so we would feel comfortable on our daily commute — it was smooth sailing from then on.

During the summer, we were scheduled to take Russian-language courses twice a week for four weeks. While it may not have been an ideal time to learn a language, I was able to learn how to read and write in Russian. This was quite helpful as it allowed us tour the city without any trouble.

When all’s said and done I have no regrets in applying and accepting the invitation to the 2010 Moscow Summer Internship Program. It was a wonderful experience and I would do it again if I could. Consequently I feel more cultured and more knowledgeable than before I arrived in Moscow.

Thank you AGBU for this experience.

For all the young Armenians questioning this program, go for it as it is a chance of a lifetime.

— Raffi Babikian of New York, Senior in Real Estate Development at Baruch College, CUNY

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