A European assembly in times of anti-European trends.
As of today, I truly give my thanks and deep respect to Istanbul. In face of bureaucratic and organizational hassle during the preparation of this Agora, AGEE-Istanbul still managed to hold an immaculate Agora. Given to this fact, it enabled us, about 800 students from Spain to Russia, to train democratic procedures and to spread liberal thoughts to strengthen the bond between euopean- and non-european AEGEE people. For instance, AEGEE-Düsseldorf and AEGEE- Eskişehir started a relationship as twin-Antennae. Alongside with fruitful talks and sometimes rough discussions we changed our statute and elected new Commissions and Coordination Teams of AEGEE-Europe. All visitors who were not able to vote could participate in workshops focusing on topics such as equal rights or environmental consciousness. Regarding to this, the autumn Agora launched a pilot project which motivated the participants to bring their own cup to Agora. Therefore, is was possible to preserve resources. All in all, we are proud to declare that this Agora has been, despite the troubles in the beginning, a raving success and I am sure that each participant, each helper and each person related to this event has collected its very own memories and precious acquaintances.
Manchester & Sheffield 28.07. – 07.08.2018
Are you familiar with this incredible feeling when you arrive at some unknown place and feel like you belong there right away? This is exactly how the first Summer University in UK for the past 10 years started: after several ice breaking games and a workshop both participants and organizers felt what is called “connected”.
We spent the first half of this SU in Manchester. As the main topic of it was British culture, we visited a lot of museums, learned things about local history and art, had workshops and loads of fun, of course: just think of countless references to the Harry Potter world, playing quidditch, English sports workshop, tea ceremony, clubbing in an old church building and, of course, fish&chips. Also, during our stay in Manchester, we went on two daily trips; to the seaside resort Blackpool and the famous Liverpool.
Although there were just 3 days left to explore Sheffield, we were still able to get the general spirit of this special place. A daily hike in the Peak District National Park showed us the beauty of English nature – sheep and a pint of Guinness at the end included! Moreover, only a few participants expected the weather to be that sunny.
Anyhow, now, having experienced one of the most extreme European Nights, as well as probably the best accommodations in the history of all SU’s, about 40 young people around Europe are sharing memories, laughing at the same jokes and waiting for reunion.
„Borderless Europe – Can we dream that big?“ – goes the title of the European Planning Meeting (EPM) 2018, which took place from 8th – 12th April in Yerevan, Armenia. Around 170 participants crossed several borders and the black sea to gather at the very edge of our network and approach this ambitious topic in various panel discussions and workshops. Certainly the topic was not limited to the future of national or other borders. During the drafting session of the new Action Agenda 2018-2019 we focused on the thematic future of AEGEE and which particular objectives we want to reach within our Focus Areas.
By Andrea, Jasmin and Jana
The event took place in a hostel in the center of Utrecht with a total of 12 participants. The motto of our event was “Queer Up your New Years”, in which we visited for example two gay bars (Really Fun!) Our time schedule was quite loose, but we made some nice tours and trips through the city. Worth mentioning was also our New Years Dive, where we all jumped into the Northsea on 1 January We also wrote a song about our event and recorded it professionally, as well as hosting a European Night. All in all a very cool event.
NYE Bukarest, 29 December 2017 – 2 January 2018
Shortly after Christmas, I was heading to Romania for my first AEGEE event. The anticipation was high and I was very excited to meet all the other participants and to do all the planned activities. I arrived just in time for dinner and was warmly welcomed by everyone. Even though I didn’t know one single person before, I felt comfortable right from the start. After dinner, the participants and organizers played some ice breaking games to memorize the others names and faces. This helped loosen up the atmosphere and so we made our way to the surrounding clubs in the Old Town center afterwards where we danced the night away. I have to say, it was a really nice beginning to the New Year’s Event! The next morning, after a pretty short night and breakfast, we headed to a historical museum which was located outdoors. It was actually a traditional Romanian village with old buildings and information about how people were living back then. In order to keep on
learning about Romanian culture, the organizers had booked a table in a traditional restaurant. We had the opportunity to taste some Romanian specialties and to get to know the other participants better. Only if you didn’t fall asleep at the table. 😀 In the afternoon we went on a city rally with the Questo app. We were split up into teams and had to complete several stations around the Old Town to answer questions and arrive at the final station first. This way we were able to learn more about Bucharest’s history and sights.
The same night it was time for my very first European Night! As an ‘AEGEE baby’, my roommates taught me everything I needed to know and so I wasn’t completely bewildered when everyone started dancing ‘Tunak Tunak’. We had a lot to eat and even more to drink which made for an amazing atmosphere. When everything was absolutely empty at 11 pm, we once again headed for the surrounding nightlife. On December 31 st , we had a little workshop on Romanian traditions after breakfast, including an Energizer in Romanian language which was very funny. In addition, everyone told the others about the New Year’s traditions of their original countries. In the afternoon, we had ice-skating on our agenda. Unfortunately, not everyone was brave enough to go onto the ice rink, but it was a lot of fun anyways! Even the sun was shining. After some downtime for the rest of the afternoon, everyone got ready and met at our location for the New Year’s celebrations. AEGEE Bucuresti had booked a whole resto-bar for us with a buffet, dancefloor and our very own DJ. I think we had an unforgettable night.
Since everyone was pretty tired on January 1 st , we were totally happy with our planned visit to the thermal bath. There’s no better way to cure a hangover than to relax in a whirlpool underneath some palm trees. Although we came back to the hostel in a Zen mood, there was an extensive feedback round after dinner and then another club crawl.
On the last day, some people were already leaving, but the majority had booked another night. We went to visit the Parliament, had another Romanian lunch together and some drinks in a laid-back bar in the evening. When I had to leave for the airport during the night, saying goodbye was really hard. After this event, I’m definitely infected with the AEGEE spirit and I will definitely go on many more events!
Meanwhile in Siberia – Can’t stop coming back to Russia, 29 December 2017 – 6 January 2018
Here I am again. Another train event in Russia. After I already went last new year from Moscow to Kyiv and participated in the Transsiberian Dream all the way to Siberia I am already experienced and I must say, I missed Russian trains.
But the first thing we do is not get in the train. First we have two days in Moscow where we are warmly welcomed, get a beautiful welcome pack and amazing traditional Russian food. Many friends are hugged again, it’s good to be back!
The time in Moscow passes quickly with a city tour, a visit in the Tret’yakovskaya Gallery, a Russian Dance workshop, many ice breaking games and games that show the ice has already broken fast. What always goes on in between? The game specifically designed for the program of this event by Antonis, trainer among others for the AEGEE-Academy. Gaining skills while having fun, who would expect that?!
Then it is already the evening of the 31st. Time to board the train where we will spend the next forty hours and also celebrate new years. For some a scary expectation (especially after having seen the pictures from the workshop preparing us for the ride on the train – Russian trains are a bit different so inexperienced Europeans are often in need of some explanations on how things work) but in the end most of us enjoy the time on the train the most. Games are played, songs are sung, long talks can take place and breakfast (provided by the organisers) is available at almost any time. It is almost sad when we arrive on the 2nd of January and have to go outside in the -16 degrees (it is a very warm winter).
But also the program in Tyumen is a lot of fun! At first we stay a bit outside of the city in a camp where we can enjoy beautiful Siberian nature, slide off a snow hill, enjoy hot springs, go to the sauna and jump naked in the snow and also have our European night. After two days there we move to our hostel in Tyumen city center which we explore just before we go on a tour with husky slides.
Sadly at some point the event ends and we need to part but all of us will forever remember this amazing event with great program, great parties and great people and we already look forward to reunite somewhere in Europe!
NYE AEGEE-Leiden: Grab Life by the Uiers 28 December 2017 – 3 January 2018
What would be the recipe of an unforgettable New Year’s Eve? Easy: 20 lovely AEGEE members from Vigo to Moscow as well as 10 organizers from AEGEE-Leiden, who offered us both fun and an opportunity to learn as much as possible about Dutch culture: a language course, typical Dutch fast food Kapsalon, visiting the Mill Museum, the Cantus, and, of course, a lot of rain. During this short time we visited Rotterdam to see the largest port in Europe, Amsterdam to spend a wonderful New Year’s Night on the beach with a marvelous view of the Amsterdam harbor, and The Hague to experience the New Years dive. Naturally, we had enough time to explore the beautiful city of Leiden and enjoy ourselves as well. We also learned how to cycle under any weather conditions like the real Dutch. The most interesting part was saved for last: the Beer Cantus that took place in the fraternity house which was a great experience indeed. And now, while chewing the last stroopwafel brought home from Leiden one thing comes to mind: Godverdomme, I really hope to see all those people again!
NYE Winter Wonderland: Magic will find you in BudaPécs
27 December 2017 – 2 January 2018
Every year the same question arises: Where and with whom do I celebrate the New Year? Luckily, this time AEGEE-Budapest and AEGEE-Pécs decieded for me:
Where?: in Budapest
With whom?: with 32 other AEGEEans from all over Europe (+ organizers)
The first part of the New Year Event took place in Pécs, which is located approximately 3 hours by train from Budapest. There, the group, consisting of more than 10 nationalities, got to know each other. We also learned about the hungarian culture and language (very difficult). Moreover, we visited the city and went wine tasting (easy). The stay in Pécs was short, but it was only the beginning: after two nights in Pécs we went to Budapest. After two for me rather relaxed nights, there was no excuse for no party anymore: in the first evening, we made a pubcrawl, then we had the European Night, where everyone brings food and drinks from their country, and as the highlight we celebrated the New Year together at a great party. In the daytime, we visited the beautiful city, went to a spa and ice skating. Within the 7 days, strangers became friends and we had an unforgettable time and lots of fun together!
Thank you AEGEE-Pécs and AEGEE-Budapest for the best start into the new year 2018!
Christmas Dinner Delft, 15 December 2017
As every year, our dear Delfties invited us to their lovely hometown to celebrate all together the traditional Christmas Dinner. They also welcomed their neighbor antennas from Groningen and Utrecht. The theme was “Harry Potter” so we dressed up in suits and dresses in the house colors seated at long tables which were laid in green, red, blue and yellow. Along with “Slimy Slitherin” and “Greasy Griffindor” our Delfties created 9 ¾ dishes finishing with a dream of vanilla ice cream and cake. Whoever kept up eating and drinking from 8pm till 3am, got rewarded with self-brewed beer and a talk to many new or old faces. The rescue of our beloved mascot Hugo was no doubt the highlight of the evening. All in all, we said good bye to our hosts with full stomachs and a good mood. Thanks, AEGEE-Delft for this unforgettable event! See you next year!
NWM Alicante: Network Magic World, 2 – 5 November 2017
From 2nd to the 5 th of november I participated in the Network Meeting of AEGEE Alicante. The topic of this event was Harry Potter. According to these we were divided into the famous 4 houses of Hogwarts. After having dinner and the opening ceremony we got some time to get ready for the first party. On the next day we had a sharing best practices and we talked about data privacy, recruitment as well as possibilities to cooperate with various organisations and associations. After this there were two different workshops dealing with the question of what AEGEE is and again about future cooperation with other organisations. At the end of the day there was a pub crawl that has been turned into a cottage crawl. On Saturday we started the day with a workshop where we were told about AEGEE possibilities and the different kinds of AEGEE events. Later on there was again a sharing best practices where we were talking about internal education, visual identity as well as fundraising. The following workshops were about non-formal education and polyamory. However, the most important part of the day was the famous European Night. On our last day on Sunday we had another two workshops dealing the topics critical thinking and european citizenship.
AGORA Catania, 27 September – 1 October 2017
Dear friends of AEGEE,
Here it is! The exclusive review of this years autumn Agora in Catania.
Roughly over a 1000 delegates, envoys and participants from all over Europe gathered from 09/27/17 – 10/01/17 on Sicily to discuss pathbreaking decisions and important chances in the Organization of AEGEE. Of course, AEGEE-Passau used it´s right as well and sent eight of its members to the ballot box. Four of them will share their thoughts, memories and insider tips with us. Have fun exploring their recollection.
It was my second Agora, but I had never been a delegate before. It was interesting to get to know the AEGEE voting system and I am happy I had the opportunity to represent AEGEE-Passau at this occasion. I think we were a great team. Everyone took part in the plenaries and workshops, even though the visitors could have easily just had fun at the beach!
It was my first Agora with AEGEE and I was participant. So, it took some time to get accustomed to everything and to fully understand what is happening around me and what the Agora actually is about. After attending the workshop: “Agora for newbies” I first realized how everything is organized. It was great to participate in various workshops and plenaries as well as being present at the polls, but also a bit exhausting. After a long day at the Agora we celebrated at different very cool
locations and we got the chance to get to know more people from the AEGEE family. It was an inspiring experience in which almost all antennas came together to discuss, to exchange ideas, to address problems and to develop solutions and of course also to celebrate together and have fun. As a member of AEGEE you really need to experience an Agora on your own! See you at the next Agora.
This was my second Agora and a special one as I ran for being a member of the Network Commission. This is a big step for me as I have mainly worked in the local board of AEGEE-Passau until now. Therefore, it was even more awesome to feel the support and trust of the other AEGEEans that voted for me. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the company of the “new” members of AEGEE-Passau and spending time with them as I am studying in Budapest right now. They are the future of AEGEE and I am curious to see what they will candidate for at Agora Krakow 😉
Although this Agora wasn’t my first event on an European level, the sight of 999 other AEGEE members, spread across two floors of an ancient fabric hall, preparing to roll out their sleeping mattresses, kind of stole my breath. I can´t even imagine the logistic effort the local antenna of Catania put into this event. There was nearly no queue to get your meal and plugs were (almost) available at every moment. During the plenaries and the voting’s, I started to realize the extent of my university association. You do LIVE representative democracy. Delegates decide on behalf of their home antenna and introduce amendments. The hall is crowded with members of every European country you can think of. Every action is well planned, every speaker follows strict rules. So, whoever wants to experience
democratic processes is sure to be in the right place at an Agora. Italians are famous for their parties. That is what we could assure of ourselves as well. I will
remember myself for a long time of the legendary traffic light party at the newly opened club. Thus, for all of you, who wish to come to the next Agora in Krakow – here is my personal lifehack: sleeping mask, earplugs or a loooooot of alcohol. So, what are you waiting for?
What I really enjoyed was meeting different people from many nations all over Europe and their openness. Even though there were so many participants, I got used to it after a short time. My favorite part of the Agora were the different workshops in which we learned, for example, how to get involved in local politics in order to improve student’s life in our city.
Summer University: The Transsiberian Dream, 28 July – 15 August 2017
Under the motto „On cloud 9“ AEGEE-Moskva offered for the ninth time the option to travel from St. Petersburg to Siberia to the Baikal lake for 35 participants – and I was one of the lucky selected. It all starts at the end of july. In St. Petersburg we all meet for the first time but the many ice breaking games make sure that everyone gets to know everyone very quickly. Everything is perfectly organised: From the trains in which our group has a whole compartment for itself to many small surprises like the boat party in Moscow of which noone knew anything of until five minutes before or the fireworks at the closing ceremony over Baikal.
In Moscow we spend most of our time. After that, we continue to Kasan, the city in which Islam and Christianity coexist peacefully and where we see the very impressive and beautiful Kul-Sharif-Mosque. Then we spend two nights in the train while crossing the border between Europe and Asia. Already we are in Siberia. Tobolsk and Tyumen are on the program before we face the next challenge: 56 hours in the train to Irkutsk. Before, everyone goes shopping very carefully, wet wipes for „showering“, instant soup and whatever else is needed. But in the train it is a very relaxed atmosphere, we loose the feeling of time while we cross several time zones and together it doesn’t get boring at all.
Suddendly we arrive and directly take a bus that brings us somewhere in the middle of nowhere to Baikal lake. No phone reception for three days but nature, banya (russian sauna) and bonfire. Baikal is the lake with the biggest sweet water capacity in the world, 20% of the world’s sweet water is coming from there and that is how impressive it looks. So huge you don’t see the end. The water is crystal clear.
We’re incredibly lucky with the weather, our trip to Olkhon island happes with a bright sun. There we learn about the rituals of the shamans, go swimming and hike to impressive view points. Also the next day there is program. In the morning we explore a nice beach close to our camp. In the afternoon there are workshops. At some point we need to return to reality. We return to Irkutsk where it is time to say goodbye. Some are going back home and some will continue travelling through Asia but everyone is crying in each others arms. Luckily there is already a reunion planned and the only thing left to say is:
Thank you AEGEE-Moskva – thank you for the summer of my life!
SUMMER EVENT: ASTE NAGUSEA – BILBAO, 18 August – 22 August 2017
The summer event weekend started with some ice-breaking games and a little city tour. Highlight of the day was the nice dinner at a little bar, where we ate „Pinchos“, the well-known food for the region.
Next day we visited all the sights of Bilbao and got great insights about the city’s history. The tour ended at the river „Nervion“. From there we took a boat and it almost was like one of the boats parties in Passau ☺ The boat tour was very nice! After the boat trip we went to the place of the Aste Nagusia Festival and experienced the „Txupinazo“. It’s a sort of big pillow fight, just instead of pillows you throw anything else at each other like oil, eggs, ketchup, flour, etc. The day ended with the obligatory European Night, which was awesome ^^. AEGEE Passau was represented by Stephan and Ozan.
The third day we spent at the beach, with drinks and food. We made some beachgames and also surfed in the sea. We had dinner at a nice little restaurant, which we reached after a long walk.
Last day we made a bus trip to a forest. We hiked a bit and the organizers prepared some nice games in the forest, where we were split up in several groups. It was a great fun for all! Then we took again the bus to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, which is a movie scene from the TV show “Game of Thrones”. This was amazing! To end the event, we went again to the festival. Also, the organizers prepared a great event for us. We played a sort of pub-crawling game with different stations. It was the perfect end to a great weekend!
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