An Armenian Speaking Portuguese or The Adventures of Tatev Mkrtumyan in Braga 2016

Missing the train from Porto to Braga, getting off at a wrong station, being suggested to take photos by a handsome blond guy, posing for the photos no matter how, Love-ing, Peace-ing and Positive-ing all Braga long, shouting into the microphone during the Final Speech, dancing salsa and bachata in the streets of Braga and getting some hot master-class from native Colombians…

Trying to sum up Tatev’s story to the beautiful land of Portugal, I suggest you going through her adventures with us, as positive vibes will get straight into your heart once reaching the end of the article.

Tatev Mkrtumyan
, a passionate PR maven that AUA has never seen before, an experienced EYP-er who has been to 8 different sessions and is still exploring, a PR Responsible for IEFA 2016 that took the Forum to new heights, she was the only participant from Armenia amongst 130 University Students to take part in Braga 2016 – Euro-Ibero-American Youth Forum. It took place in Braga, Ibero-American Youth Capital of 2016, between the 22nd and the 28th of August, 2016. I asked a few questions and dived into the story full of Love, Peace and Positivity around, let’s go!

Arriving in Porto and not wanting to go to Braga

‘’My first destination in Portugal was Porto, a very cosy and warm city neighbouring Braga. My admiration towards this city made me doubt whether I want to go to Braga after the dose of Porto (also of Porto wine and delicious sangrias). But Braga 2016 proved to be worth it with its very friendly reception, fun and entertaining moments, professional preparation for the forum, excellent academic preparation for the delegates and the officials, and, of 14053806_683205638501119_7940375382043801995_ocourse, with the network of friends it created consisting of smart and bright individuals from Latin America, Europe and other countries’’.

Armenians Vs Portuguese: more than just similar

‘’First of all, from the very first moment I landed in Portugal I noticed some similarity of these people with the Armenians. When the plane landed in both Lisbon and Porto, both times Portuguese people started to applaud and cheer like Armenians usually do after flights’’. To some, it might seem strange, but that is what Armenian usually do once the plane lands at the airport.

Just like all the Armenians, Tatev started to look for something Armenian around. And she succeeded by finding Portuguese. ‘’Then I don’t know why I was catching Armenian accent in the Portuguese language. That may sound crazy, but that’s the truth. Maybe I was alone there and was unconsciously searching for something familiar and close to my heart, I can’t say. Even if it is so, that feeling stopped the first day I met my first Portuguese friends. I stopped searching Armenian warmness and care in mere things, and experienced them in reality. These people are very friendly and open-hearted like us. Especially in Porto, or rather in northern Portugal, people are very loud, they love laughing, having fun, partying, so it felt like home there and my adaptation to this new environment was super easy. My Portuguese friends were even calling me an “Armenian speaking Portuguese” because I “was like them, or one of them”.

Bom Jesus do Monte: a must-visit place after having your Francesinha in the first place14196172_687975244690825_303217782074021194_o

I asked Tatev for a couple of places that she would suggest us visiting once in Braga and here is what she said, ‘’I did not expect much from Braga after Porto, but this city had so many hidden surprises for us. Firstly, the venue for the Opening Ceremony was next to Bom Jesus do Monte, an important sanctuary with incredible beauty located on a high hill having the whole (literally whole) city view in front of you. It has 381 steps, so people need to get prepared for climbing them, unless they are busy like us and will have a bus carrying them to the top. I’d suggest having your Francesinha (traditional Portuguese dish) before climbing there, so that you’d get a chance to enjoy the beauty and exercise at the same time burning the 900 calories gained from the dish. I really recommend to save your time on enjoying this city and every corner of it! Just get lost in the city, because it is the only that way you can recognize it and its people better’’.

Always charge your phone and take off your travel pillow once taking pictures!

No trip can go without an awkward moment involved and more often it is not just one but many. Tatev’s one is rather normal once in a new city but not everyone is approached by a handsome blond guy suggesting to take a picture. So here is what happened with Tatev. ‘’Firstly, I missed my train to Braga and had to wait for the next one, then I got off the train 1 station earlier and had to wait 30 minutes more. My mobile’s battery died so I had to sit at the station alone with no creaturearound; only the cold steel pillars there to lean on. And then when I finally arrived in Braga,and then at the residence, where everybody else was waiting to check in, a tall, blond and handsome guy approached me asking to join the queue for taking pictures (yes, he was from the media team). My travel-pillow still on my neck, my backpack on my shoulders, one hand on my luggage and the other holding my travel mug, I joined the queue, meantime being super sleepy and tired, looking like an alien who was just dropped on Earth and joined these cheerful guys with no reason. Fortunately, they haven’t posted these photos yet, because I don’t even remember how the photo-sessionwent and how I posed there’’.

Someone to remember for good

14164093_1096482247102520_59898622_oWe all have that one very special person during each trip that becomes one of the main characters of our stories, and Tatev also had one. ‘’ Heis one of the organisers, Pedro Oliveira. I was in touch with him a month before the forum, and he was the first person I had known from the session. I had many problems concerning my participation and I was bombarding him with my questions very frequently via emails and FB messages, and I really wonder how patient he was towards me. None of my issues remained unsolved, none of my doubts not-dispelled. He became a close friend to me before, during and after the session, and he was the only person I had to hug as soon as I arrived in Braga. The slogan that he used to repeat all the time- “Love, Peace and Positivity”, accompanied me throughout the whole session, and I can proudly say that I am happy that I havea friend like him thanks to Braga 2016’’.

Not only EYP Armenia but EYP in general FEELS LIKE HOME

Being an experienced EYPer, Tatev looked at the Forum from a completely different angle trying to give a helping
hand and set an example for the newcomers. I have to say that she definitely succeeded. ‘’Many participants were first-time EYPers, and I was there for my 8th session, and for the 3rd time as a delegate. People were asking me about the organisation and I was feeling special and very important to tell them about EYP from all perspectives, and encouraging them to join it, or if they are not from Europe (Latin America) to join other youth organisations that will change their life for the better like EYP did for me. From the very first moment, I felt something special with those yet-stranger participants. Altogether I was feeling home, I was feeling like I’d known them for long. And at that moment the motto of EYP Armenia came to my mind- “Feels like home”. Here I understood that this slogan is not for EYP Armenia alone, but for the whole EYP community that welcomes you in any corner of the world making you feel like home and be surrounded with warmness of familiar jokes, games, energizers or silly songs and dances’’.

Next goal: Chairing at an EYP Session

Having quite an extensive experience in EYP, from a delegate to an organizer and Media Team member, I wondered what Tatev’s next goal was in the scope of EYP Armenia and in general EYP community. ‘’Throughout the whole forum I was paying attention to the hard work of the organisers, since I’ve been one before for 2 times, and the media team, since I’ve been a journalist for three times, and during the committee activities, I was focused on my chair’s duties, grasping and analysing all assignments, her leadership, etc. I was very lucky to have such an experienced and professional chair like her, Anastasiia Ianovytska, because I settled my next goal in EYP, to try myself as a chair for the first time putting all my EYP knowledge and experience together for the benefit of the delegates’’.14064050_682692511885765_6634510850281354558_n

Some hot Salsa and Bachata for the finale

Sharing is caring. Sharing memorable moments is caring even more! Tatev had many of them to share with us all, but here is the one that struck her most. ‘’Aside from the moment of delivering my final speech literally shouting into the microphone making everyone think that I am angry like hell, there were many other cheerful moments that I won’t forget.One of them is dancing salsa and bachata after the last hard day of Committee Work, on the street, when all the emotions are emptied, but those guys from Colombia teach, or rather improve my moves giving more energy. It was their traditional dance, so they were really good at it, and I enjoyed dancing with them and teaching others’’. I bet Tatev definitely attracted a lot of attention by her hot dancing in Portugal.

Love for the next time

To the questions about any love stories or maybe a bad romance, Tatev was sharp but decisive, ‘’No bad romance, only love in Portugal. But 7 days is a very short time for a love story, so let’s wait to see what happens, and maybe I’ll have a complete story after my next forum/session’’.

And finally, words of appreciation from Tatev

So, she concluded with showing gratitude towards some important people. ‘’This forum could not be a reality and I 14067622_683201551834861_2830703564499415559_ncould not live all these adventures and unforgettable moments if not the diligence of the organisers of EYP Portugal.I would also like to address my words of appreciation toone of the significant supporters, the Municipality of Braga, which always encourages and supports EYP activities, and of course, the International Youth Organism for Ibero-America, who helped the amazing juvenile of Latin America to unite with young people from Europe and other countries. The latter, by the way, will present our prepared resolutions at the 25th Ibero-American Summit of the Heads of Stateand Government to take place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, on the 28th and 29th of October.

After all, huge thanks to everyone who made this once-in-a-lifetime experience a reality, including EYP Armenia, which trusted me to represent Armenia giving me this life-changing opportunity’’.


Not sure about you readers, but the smile would not go off my face editing the article about Tatev’s experience in Portugal. With my desire to visit Porto, I now want to travel to every corner of Portugal to feel what Tatev felt and to once again attest to the fact that travelling is the best thing that can ever happen to us.

Love, Peace and Positivity to you, dear Tatev. Thanks for representing Armenia in Braga and thanks for sharing all these beautiful moments with me and EYP community.


Pictures are from her personal gallery.

Interviewed by Anatoli Chernyaev

Posted by Diana Ghazaryan

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