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Difficult Path of Living as an Expat in a Foreign Country

“I have chosen the difficult path of living as an expat in a foreign country, however, I have achieved most of my goals” – Saté Khachatryan

Birthplace: Armenia
Current Place of Residence: France

“If I didn’t move to France 10 years ago, I would be an entirely different person. Moving abroad does change a lot in one’s life”.

Saté Khachatryan, a producer, actress and candidate of philological sciences, has made all her aspirations and goals come true in France. And the rest of her dreams are still to be fulfilled.  

After simultaneously graduating from two different universities—the Directing Program of Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography, and the Faculty of Philology at the Armenian State Pedagogic Institute after Khachatur Abovyan—she decided to leave for France for professional growth and better education. 

In parallel with studying in France, she completed postgraduate studies at the Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and received her PhD in Modern Armenian Dramaturgy.

Saté Khachatryan got accepted to the Paris National Superior Conservatory of the Dramatic Arts in 2008 and after studying there for a year, she got admitted to the University of Sorbonne. 
 
“When I left for France, I knew very little French. That was the biggest difficulty. But that was my decision. I could have packed my suitcase anytime and go back to Armenia, but at that moment I was thinking either I had to stay and study, or return home. And when you persistently make up your mind to study, one day you wake up and realize that you can really speak that language,” Saté Khachatryan tells. 

Due to her persistence and diligence, she became proficient in French after some time and got specialized in written translations from French into Armenian. Her translations of the plays by Arthur Adamov got published in Armenia in 2017. 

Saté Khachatryan is working on her second PhD thesis at the University Lumière Lyon 2, France. The focus of her thesis this time is the Modern European Dramaturgy.

“I have started everything from scratch in France. I had to forget everything I had achieved in Armenia and start all over,” Saté Khachatryan recalls. “All these problems related to being in a foreign country, such as nostalgia, being far away from family, friends and relatives, were needed to be overcome… I have chosen a difficult path, but I have achieved most of my goals”. 

She confesses that it has been easy for her to integrate into the French society due to her French friends. According to her, French people in general have the tolerance, motivation and readiness to help others.

“France is a combination of various nationalities and characters, while at the same time France imposes very important values, such as discipline, taste, knowledge, as well as a particular culture of interacting with people,” Saté Khachatryan tells, who lives in Lyon now.

She set up “Saté-Âtre” theatrical union in France together with his husband Edgar Manoukian in 2013. They have already managed to organize a couple of performances. 

“We have staged a number of works, including the “David of Sassoun”, an Armenian folk epic; fairy tales by the great Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan, performed in French language; a performance featuring Armenian song and poetry, etc. One of my main goals is to present the Armenian culture in France in a professional manner, through accomplished actors and musicians. Yet I don’t restrict myself with Armenian culture only,” Saté Khachatryan says, who also cooperates with various theatrical unions in France.

She speaks about Armenia with special enthusiasm and hasn’t lost her touch with her homeland and relatives throughout these years and visited Armenia every year for both personal and professional reasons. 

“Whatever project we initiate now, our thoughts are directed towards Armenia first of all. A person is always going to stay interesting due to his or her own culture, notwithstanding the level of integration into the country where he or she has already become part of.”