Yerevan, Armenia – Universiada, an annual student competition, launched on Oct. 24, 2017, at Russian-Armenian University (RAU). For the first time, the American University of Armenia (AUA) joined the student competition at the fourth annual games. AUA’s students competed in three areas – sport, cultural and intellectual. AUA students achieved successes mostly in the cultural competition by receiving the second and third places. Several winners from the cultural category spoke about their experiences and impressions after Universiada’s closing ceremony on Dec. 14, 2017.
One of the participants was a hip-hop dancer, Elen Simonyan, a senior Business major student. Elen said that the joy and happiness she experienced while dancing was more than she expected. Even though Elen had a commendable record of successes in dance contests previously; however, “before getting up on the stage, my heart was beating furiously, and I had an impression that everyone could hear it,” she said. Elen was overwhelmed with excitement because she had taken the responsibility to present AUA, and she rose to the challenge by getting third place in the dance competition.
In fact, emotions are contagious, and Elen was not the only whose feelings gained control of her. “Inevitably, the nervousness was still in me because the audience was uninterested at first,” said Andranik Davtyan. Andranik is a junior English and Communications student who went up on RAU’s stage after landing a role in A Streetcar Named Desire. The student-actors performed a small piece of the whole play that eventually drowned everyone’s attention halfway through, according to Andranik. First things first – the audience reaction was what mattered to Andranik and the other performers. They felt that their efforts paid off when they received the second place for their performance. “However this was not only about competition, the prize meant that we are ready to perform the whole play on April 27 in front of a larger public,” added Andranik.
To successfully perform in front of the large audience without falling victim to stage fright required years of experience from Naira Paronikyan, the third place winner of Universiada’s song contest. Naira is a junior student majoring Business who has just started her solo career as a singer. “ I’ve been singing for 13 years, but I overcame my stage fright only by facing the challenge tet-a-tet,” said Naira. Sooner, performing became Naira’s passion, and the audience’s reaction hit her up to return on the stage again. For Naira, Universiada became the excellent opportunity to step up toward her dreams, and the song and lyrics that she composed and wrote won third place.
The final success that AUA students achieved in the cultural category were the short-video competition. Shant Yezekyan, a junior Computer Science student who is the founder of “Write, Shoot, Edit, Repeat” AUA student club, became the second place winner for the video Lifelong Learning, with the support of his team. “The video transfers the idea that you learn something new every day,” said Shant. The team had successfully managed to write a script, to shoot and to edit within less than a month while the finals were approaching. As a result, Universiada was the first competition for Shant, and his first success in the sphere of filmmaking.
Mariam Mikhaylova, the coordinator of AUA curriculum programs, said that AUA students once again proved their team spirit and creativity outside of the classroom. For Mariam, Universiada was the incredible chance to create ties with other universities, and for students to showcase their skills. “We do have talents at AUA, then why not show them?” said Mariam.