Dates: February 14 – May 6, 2022
Total hours of instruction: 300
Location: Tumanyan, Lori Province, Armenia
Program fee: $3,500 (including tuition and full board)
This course is designed to offer students an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the study of Persian for a period of twelve weeks, developing a firm foundation in Persian grammar, becoming comfortable in spoken language, and gaining a deeper understanding of the culture of Iran through literature and film. Classes will be held five days per week, four hours every day. A typical day of instruction will include two hours devoted to grammar and written composition, one hour devoted to reading and one hour to aural comprehension/conversational practice. The reading program will include a selection of works by Iran’s twentieth-century writers and poets as well as Classical Persian poetry. Students interested in working on particular materials or historical genres may get additional individual help with their readings outside of class time. The aural comprehension/conversation class will use recorded interviews and other audio materials to introduce students to different registers of live speech and help them learn to understand idiomatic expressions, slang, and regional dialects. By the end of the course, students should expect to be able to perceive and appreciate linguistic subtleties and humor and know how to adjust their own use of language in accordance with different social situations. The course will also place a special emphasis on vocabulary, and students can expect to have mastered 1500-2000 new words.
The immersive aspect of this preprogram means that students will not only study the language but also become closely familiar with Iran’s historical and contemporary cultures. Every week there will be two afternoon film screenings, which will introduce students to a wide range of cultural and social issues (politics and the regime, gender and sexuality, family, migration, tradition and modernity, educational systems, arts and censorship etc.) that shape life in Iran. Every screening will be followed by a discussion of the film curated by special guests joining the discussion remotely from Iran. Since the time of the program will coincide with Nowruz or the Iranian New Year, the students will also have an opportunity to take part in traditional festive activities and learn to prepare holiday meals.
Why study Persian in Armenia? Historically, Armenia has been at the crossroads of different cultures and languages, and for centuries it was a part of the Persian-speaking world. Today, Armenia retains close ties with Iran and remains a popular destination for students and tourists from Iran.
The program will take place at Mejlis Institute’s new location in the scenic small town of Tumanyan situated in a mountenous setting in the heart of Armenia's Lori Province, half-way between Yerevan and Tbilisi. In the safe and tranquil environment of Tumanyan, students will not only be able to focus fully on their studies but also to take advantage of the location to explore Armenia’s beautiful nature and historical sites. Several hiking trails full of breathtaking views link Tumanyan to medieval monasteries such as Kobayr and Bardzrakash, and a short distance away lie UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sanahin and Haghpat. Those who are more adventurous can also enjoy rafting and horseback riding. A dedicated staff member will help program participants organize these activities and offer any other support they may require.
Transportation to and from Tumanyan at the beginning and end of the program will be provided.
The program fee includes accommodation and meals provided by the newly opened Tumanyan Bathhouse Hostel. Depending on the number of participants, students will be offered accommodation either in individual rooms or rooms shared by two people. Students will also have access to the hostel common area and a study room at the local community center to use for studying and relaxing in the afternoons. Breakfasts will include local village products, such as dairy, eggs, honey, and nuts. For lunches and dinners, delicious and healthy homemade Armenian and Persian food will be served.
Mejlis Institute’s relocation to Tumanyan is part of a larger development initiative spearheaded by the Tumanyan Foundation. The goal of this initiative is to invigorate cultural life in Armenia’s provinces, in this case the beautiful town of Tumanyan, and to create new economic opportunities for the local population. Would you like to help create change by teaching English to local youth, planting trees, assisting with fundraising campaigns for new projects or helping set up Tumanyan’s first beer garden? Please be sure to indicate it in the application form. We will be very happy to get you involved.
Prerequisites, Application Process, and Fees
There are no formal prerequisites for participation in this program, however, this course is geared to intermediate-level students. For the assessment of their levels, all applicants will be invited to a Zoom-interview.
The deadline to apply is December 31, 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the course capacity is filled, and we encourage students to apply as early as possible.
The course fees of $3,500 are to be paid as a donation made through a bank transfer by January 15, 2022.
Maryam Torabi, MA, is a scholar of Medieval Armenian and Persian literary traditions. Having studied Armenian and Persian literature in Isfahan, Ms. Torabi came to Armenia to work on her doctoral dissertation, which she is currently completing in the Department of Linguistics at Yerevan State University. She focuses on the language of the eighteenth-century poet Sayat-Nova exploring his engagement with Persian poetry. Apart from teaching Armenian to Iranians and Persian to Armenians she has formerly served as the librarian of the Blue Mosque in Yerevan.
Mejlis Institute is a non-profit organization. The funds collected will be used to cover the operational costs and pay the salary of the instructor, and any surplus will be invested in the development of our future programs. A portion of the proceeds will also be used to support the Tumanyan development initiative. A report on the usage of the funds collected through the course will be presented to course participants upon request. The applicants who wish to attend the course but cannot afford to pay the course fees may be issued a partial or full fee waiver. To request a waiver, please send us an e-mail separately after filling the application form and arrange for a reference letter to be sent from your academic supervisor or another mentor who can attest to your merit and the situation of financial need. Since students’ donations constitute our main source of funding, we encourage applicants to consider applying for scholarships offered by their universities or seek other forms of external funding prior to applying for tuition waivers.
How do we calculate our course fees? Why are our courses cheaper than some but more expensive than other language programs? Read more about our financial policy to find out.