Sona Karapetyan ‘05
Kapan, Armenia/Colorado Springs, CO
sona [dot] richardson [at] gmail [dot] com

Two years. That is the amount of time it took for my dreams to come true. It’s not a fairy tale.  Or… why not.
It all began while I was dreaming about my future and first found the FLEX program.  I was intrigued and decided to pursue the opportunity.  As this was my first attempt, I failed.  However while I was mourning this failure, I got my first issue of The Bradley Herald.  I was obviously quite taken by the articles, as I soon found myself among the next group of FLEX applicants.  This time, good planning proved beneficial.

Becoming a FLEX student was the first year of my two years of successfully planned achievements.  An eleven-month unique experience followed.  You all know the changes I went through and the great things I acquired, because you all went through it as well.

While in the States I studied Spanish and as a result, I began dreaming about Spain! Believe me, it’s completely fine to dream beyond the normal range of possibilities.

When I returned to Armenia, my home country, I directed my energy and inspiration towards participating in my community.  I soon got acquainted with Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in my town and together with four other experienced young women, created an NGO called Women’s Business Society of Kapan.  I thus became an NGO founder and began to perform the NGO’s administrative duties.

Later I found work at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe  (OSCE) in my town where I worked as an assistant to the staff and an OSCE special summer camp correspondent.  One day my boss casually asked me if I’d like to go to Spain!  I immediately agreed.  So I began to prepare the proper application materials: essays, interviews and articles.  Luckily, I was later chosen as OSCE’s youth representative of my country.  You see, two years had passed since I had dreamt of Spain and now I was actually going.

Similarly, it took me two whole years to get into the University that I wanted, and today I am a proud graduate of Yerevan State University(YSU). Moreover, I am continuing my studies in an M.A. program at YSU.

During my first year at the university, I realized that although I am a student of English Philology, I don’t know much about England. I didn’t have a plan for going to Great Britain, so I followed my inner voice and took up everything that could draw me closer to my target. And then one day in 2009  rather unexpectedly, my English professor suggested that I participate in a public speaking competition. Two winners would get to go to Great Britain.

To make this long story short, I’ll just say that I went to the country of my professional dreams.

Two years had passed since I was able to work with my organization to implement projects as I had been residing in the capital city and not my home town.  However, last year I received a letter from the Eurasia Foundation suggesting that I write an Alumni Grant Project.  To be honest, this project had actually been implemented before by another FLEX alumna, Anna Minasyan.  However, I was to write a proposal and carry it out in her footsteps. Luckily, I had the support and guidance of an amazing PCV, April West. Though I was responsible for the project director and trainer duties, the smooth and tactful progress of my seminars was secured by April.

In my second year of enrollment in university I fell in love with an amazing person from my home town and was challenged by space and family. Again, planning came in handy.

Believe it or not, yet another dream has come true in these two years. Today I am the proud mother of an amazing baby girl.

Ever since I read my first issue of Bradley, I wanted to write an article for the newsletter. Now, here I am.  I decided to write an article that I hope would inspire those alumni who might need encouragement, because I had been inspired in a similar way.  The two year fairy tale is an ongoing process, for those who find the pattern, and for those, above all, who need a push. The result is the key to endless possibilities.

I truly hope that this inspires some of you, fellow alumni. Just don’t plan for two years. That’s already mine!

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Trish Richardson
Trish Richardson
12 years ago

Sona, I had forgotten all of your amazing accomplishments, which you have achieved through your unflappable determination. I applaud all that you have done and all that you will do through that zest for life you so have!!