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Thankful in Armenia

Building skills to open new worlds
Emilia Simonian is one of 12 students from all over the world invited to study veterinary science at Cambridge University. With a little help from her neighbors in Chesapeake Country, she’s on her way.
       There is much to be thankful for on my second Thanksgiving in Armenia.     Emilia is studying at Cambridge University, sent on her way with support from Chesapeake Country. One of Armenia’s brightest and best, she is one of only 12 students from all over the world offered the chance to study veterinary medicine at the world’s oldest university this year.
      Her scholarships left her $10,000 short of her tuition fees, so some of my Shady Side neighbors chipped in to help make up the difference. I am so grateful to Peggy and Judy, and so glad that my time in the Peace Corps is forging bonds between animal lovers by the Bay and a young woman who, after six years of study, can come home to advance animal welfare in Armenia. 
      Emilia is just one of the young people I have spent time with in the last few months. Anahit will become a doctor. Robert fancies computer 
programming. Martin wants to be a tour guide. Narek dreams of a future on the stage. Varduhi designs her own clothes. Tatev plans to run a ­business.
       All of them know that speaking English is the key to a golden future. So all of them came to our Creative English camp last summer for five days speaking in their third language. (All kids learn Russian at school, a hangover from the old Soviet days.) 
      Our students left camp with a new sense of everything that’s possible, and a fresh determination to build the language skills that will open new worlds to them. 
      I plan to celebrate Thanksgiving 2019 at my own table, with my own family. This year I am raising a glass to all of you in Chesapeake Country. Next year I will be raising a glass to the South Caucasus. 
—Liz Barron: 
Barron is serving her second year with the U.S. Peace Corps in Armenia.