“The best camp ever”: what Fellows are saying about JUST DILIJAN IT!

It is very important to the organisers of JUST DILIJAN IT! that as many children as possible from all corners of the world are immersed into the atmosphere of our summer programmes – including, of course, kids from Armenia.

In 2018, a number of children from Armenia were awarded scholarships after a rigorous selection process, which involved writing an essay answering lots of different questions, and also undergoing an interview in English. The standard quota allocated for scholarships is usually twenty, but this year there were twenty-one: two candidates had absolutely identical results, and the commission decided to accept both of them! Kids from many different regions of Armenia were chosen to participate in the JUST DILIJAN IT! 2018 programmes, including from Armavir, Vayots Dzor, Kotayk, Lori, Tavush, Shirak – and also from Artsakh.

We met with some of the Fellows on the UWC Dilijan campus to ask them about their expectations of the camp and the impressions they had after two jam-packed weeks in Dilijan.

Gayaneh, who saw posts about the JDI programmes on social networks, decided to apply with her sister, and they were both accepted. Gaya planned on improving her English skills, which she successfully managed to do. She loves to draw, and she especially liked the classes given by Lada Shapovalova, the main expert in the Visual Arts group. At JUST DILIJAN IT!, Gayaneh learned some new interesting drawing techniques, and made some new friends: Nare, Yesenia, Masha, and Irina. In free time, Gayaneh and her pals did some sport, chatted, and played together.

The most unforgettable moments of camp for her were the Holi festival of colours, the water fight on Vardavar, and the first painting class, where the kids learned to paint portraits.

Gayaneh’s sister Anahit came along with her. Her plans were to meet kids from different countries, improve her English skills, and just have a great time. Anahit dreams of attending the UWC Dilijan school, and JUST DILIJAN IT! was an excellent opportunity to get her closer to that goal.

She fell in love with the sculpture classes in the Visual Arts group. Anahit is now putting together a book, A Point for Every Season of the Year, featuring poems by Armenian authors about the seasons together with her own illustrations. She has made some new friends as well: Nare, Sofi, and Nane. The most memorable day for her was the time they travelled to Apaga Resort and went ziplining.

Before he got here, Vahe thought there would be a lot more kids, volunteers, and counsellors, and the rooms would be smaller, but everything turned out better than he expected. Both Vahe and his mother, who works at UWC Dilijan, talked about the camp – as well as his brother and his friends, who were also programme participants and volunteers. In the Nature & Technology classes, he gained a lot of new information about volcanoes, and learned to tell the difference between minerals and rocks.

Vahe is a huge football fan, and in his free time at camp he enjoyed playing with his new friends. They have a lot in common, except that they are Real Madrid fans, while Vahe cheers for Barcelona. An evening around the campfire and watching the World Cup final together – those are the moments he’ll remember for a long time. He hopes to attend UWC Robert Bosch College in Germany.

Nane had been interested in the JUST DILIJAN IT! programmes for a long time and was very excited about the opportunity to take part. She wanted to gain lots of new knowledge and friends, learn more about different cultures, and develop skills. Nane chose the Nature & Technology theme, where she did some interesting chemistry experiments, studied water, different types of stones, and much more. She also really enjoyed the evening activities at camp, where she learned a plenty of new stuff.

Over these two weeks, Nane became more open-minded when socialising with campers from other countries and more welcoming. She made friends with kids from Russia, America and France, and plans to keep in touch with them after the programme finishes. She plans to attend the American University of Armenia, and participation in the JUST DILIJAN IT! summer programmes was really helpful for her.

For Ilya, JUST DILIJAN IT! is the best summer camp in Armenia or any of the countries nearby. He mentioned that there are lots of classes offered here, as well as many opportunities for personal growth and acquiring new skills. In classes led by the main expert in the Nature & Technology theme, the kids did lots of out-of-the-ordinary chemistry experiments and studied the environment.

Ilya was excited to play his favourite sports, tennis and basketball, for which the UWC Dilijan campus is ideally suited. Ilya learned new things not just during classes and educational excursions, but also in his free time getting to know his new friends at camp. He especially enjoyed playing with colours at the Holi festival. Ilya likes physics and natural sciences, and plans to attend the famous MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At JUST DILIJAN IT!, Hayk was expecting to meet new friends from different countries, learn something, and, of course, have the time of his life. He learned of the summer programmes from his friends, who had already been on the camp, and decided he wanted to take part as well. He really enjoyed classes with the Healthy Lifestyle & Sports main expert and talking with the guest experts, evening activities, and free time, when celebrations like Holi and Vardavar took place.

He came with his best friend David, whom he has been friends with for 12 whole years, and made even more acquaintances with other campers. An evening around the campfire, the excursion to Lori Berd, and chatting with his group – those were the best moments that he’ll remember for a long time. Hayk wants to attend Ayb high school in Yerevan and apply to one of the United World Colleges.

Anna wanted to demonstrate her knowledge and develop it further, learn something new, and make many new friends at JUST DILIJAN IT!, and all her expectations were met. Her favourite part of the daily camp classes was the evening activities, which were always interesting and completely different each time. She especially liked how they could interact with the guest experts, not just learning from their main expert, but also discovering unique aspects of all the other groups.

Anna prepared a water analysis project in the Nature & Technology group, and not only enriched her knowledge of chemistry and ecology while she was working on it, but also learned how to correctly launch and carry out a project, make presentations, and present the results like a pro. She is glad that she made new friends from Armenia, Russia, and France, who she will stay in touch with even after the end of the summer programme, and who she will always have something to talk about with or learn from.

Anna is sure that some of her camp friends will become her classmates in the future, as they will also attend Yerevan State Medical University. Her time at JDI gave her a lot of strength and motivation, she became more confident in herself and her goals, and the experts and counsellors, always ready to help with anything, really inspired her. As each day in Dilijan was interesting in its own way and there were many memorable moments, Anna tried to take as many pictures as possible and write everything down in her journal.