Interview with the Comite Directeur 2011-2012

By | October 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm | One comment | People

They have started to work with a great motivation and living all together in Brussels now. As Comité Directeur members will be into our network more and more, from now on it’s time to get to know them closer. Here is the first interview with our beloved CD members, right after they have officially started to work. See how life in Brussels is for them, what they are up to, what they have been doing before CD life started and some more things. Stay tuned for further interviews with our CD members!

Tell us a bit about yourself. How old are you, what were/are your studies?

 Alfredo: I’m 26 since the 14th of September and I have a Master degree in International Relations Science and a Post-Master degree in Diplomatic Studies.

 Alma:  I just crossed the line of my first quarter of century – I am 26 years old. Originally I am from Jūrmala, a beautiful city along the seaside in Latvia, but all my life I have lived in Riga. Although during high school I was more focusing on maths I chose to study Communication Sciences in the university. Afterwards I was studying Baltic Sea Region studies, but I have never worked on any of these fields.

Elena: I am 22 years old I just graduated the Economics University in Sofia (UNWE), Bachelor of Environmental Economics. I will postpone my Master with one year and next Autumn, I am planning to continue with my education.

Gizem:I was born in 1989 in Antalya. I lived in that almost quite city of the Mediterranean. Then I moved to Ankara for my studies in 2007. I studied Linguistics and English Teaching and I graduated only couple of months ago. Yet, I am still a student of International Relations in an Open University program. Just like any other AEGEEan, I love traveling, whenever I have some money, which is not that common, I spend it on tickets.  As a natural result of being born and raised in Antalya, I just love swimming and it has been really challenging for me to live in a city without the scent of the sea. Flamenco is the final thing to mention about me; the music, the rhythm, the colours, characteristics of it had even taken me away to the grains of Andalucía, a place where I will return back at some point of my life. The most important part of me and my life is my brother. He is the only man I can do anything for.

Guillermo: I’m 23 years old. I started my studies as a future biologist but ended up being a linguist. I consider myself a language freak :P

Jüri: I am 24 years old. I majored in Fennistic and minored in International Relations and Psychology. I really love different languages, because they portray the identity of different peoples the most,despite the fact that it is difficult to learn them. I love music and especially jazz, since there musicians tend to be the most free to do anything, just as we are in AEGEE. And also I love visual art forms, paintings, various types of architecture etc, since for me they all express us as humanity, all the differences that actually connect us in a very mysterious way.

Marko: I’m 23. Few days before Agora I’ll get to the number of 24. Born in Croatia in a pretty small town, lived in Zagreb while studying Business Economics and than moved to Stockholm to do my Master in Economic Development.

What were you up to before your CD life has started?

Alfredo: Before my CD life (more than 1 year ago) I was Vice-Speaker of NetCom, board member of my local and finishing my studies in Napoli…and from time to time pretending to have a life!

Alma: Before I started my non-stop CD life I had a job, my own apartment, I was dancing Latvian folk dances, learning French, traveling and, of course, AEGEE had an important role in my life.  Now it’s all about AEGEE, however I am still trying to find time for the things I loved doing before.

Elena: My last months before coming to Brussels were taken mostly with my Graduation Exam. I spent most of the time for preparation and two weeks after I pass it, I moved to Brussels.

Gizem: Before moving to Brussels, I was mainly busy with graduating and with AEGEE-Ankara. I left the board three months earlier, and schedule for these three months till the general assembly were to be planned in advance. Then I worked during summer in my hometown to get financially ready for the CD life, which was a difficult task. And of course the thing that had eaten up my time most was the bloody visa procedures of Belgium.

Guillermo: I was enjoying my life in Barcelona, wishing for the university and my internship to finish.

Jüri: Up until the CD I had been the President and after that a member of the Advisory Board of AEGEE-Tallinn. I was finishing my studies (mainly by compiling my Bachelors thesis) and I also worked at a German company in Tallinn. Before joining AEGEE-Tallinn I did my Erasmus in Köln, where I actually got introduced to AEGEE and all the amazing, crazy, inspirational and idealistic energy that it possesses. During the time when I had and still have AEGEE in my life it really seems that there are no borders to the things we can accomplish or do, because people, with whom you do these things together, they do not run out of ideas and passion for the common dream that we have.

 Marko: Before moving to Brussels I was finishing my exams, enjoying amazing Stockholm with perfect early-summer weather, nature, bars and clubs.

If you could describe what AEGEE means to you in 3 words what they would be?

 Alfredo: Passion, Opportunity, Challenge.

 Alma: It has been always hard to explain in few words what AEGEE is for me. It’s a combination of a lot of elements – people, variety, development, challenge, opportunities, etc. It’s like asking “what is love?” :)

Elena: Europe without borders

Gizem: European Students’ Forum  :D

Guillermo: My everyday motivation.

Jüri: Self-discovery, Border less, Self-developmental.

Marko: Opportunities, People, Change

Tell us a story about your AEGEE time,which was unforgettable for you so far?

Elena: One unforgettable moment for me is how I joined AEGEE. It was almost three years ago. A friend of mine from the University told me, that he is going on an exchange in Istanbul, organized by students association and he asked me if I want to join. I couldn’t because of an exam. It was just before Christmas. When I met him after that, I asked him, what is this association about and if they are searching for new members. He promised to take me to a meeting. Next time I saw him, I asked when he will take me there, because this association didn’t have an office and he knew where their meetings were taking place. He told me it would be next week. Every time I was seeing my friend, I was asking and he was answering the same. At the end, at the middle of March he agreed and took me to my first AEGEE-meeting. There I understood, that AEGEE is not just exchanges, but much more and I decided to become active.

Gizem: The living library days were the time of my AEGEE life for sure! Meeting with “real” people with “real” problems, listening to their stories from themselves was just priceless. The story of the refugee friend of us from Iran was the most striking one from my side…

Guillermo: I’ll always remember the connection established with all the participants in our ES1 in Gdansk. ES1-Kids are still alive!

Jüri: During the Spring Agora in Leiden the infamous volcano Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland became active, which directly messed up lots of travel plans of people for getting to Leiden and back home. I was one of the lucky ones that managed to get there, but sadly not of the ones who didn’t have any problems of leaving the Netherlands. After the new CD was elected and the last plenary I decided to travel to Köln, Germany. Upon getting there Patrick from AEGEE-Köln hosted me without knowing when and how would I be able to get back to Estonia (for this I am still thankful until now). I then started to research the possibilities of getting back. I managed to get in contact with my flight company via Facebook, because it was impossible to approach them by phone. After some discussions we managed to move to exchanging emails and they re booked my flight from Monday to Thursday. This was also a bit of a risk since nobody knew if the air traffic would be opened after 4 days. After meeting some friends and acquaintances I started my way back by hitchhiking ride to Amsterdam because tickets for all other means of transportation were extremely expensive. I arrived in the Netherlands again on Wednesday evening and the guy with whom I traveled offered me to stay the night at his place. The next day after I found my way through the empty streets of Amsterdam I took a train to the airport and then managed to fly directly to Tallinn. Other AEGEEans were not so fortunate and had to travel for days and days to get back home.

What was your first impression of Brussels and the CD house? How is your life going like?

 Alfredo: Brussels is one of the most strange city I’ve ever seen. Behind the huge wave of foreigners coming here to work, the city seems to be animated by its own logic. Being here I realised that there’s no absurd, simply Belgium. Or, quoting one of my predecessors, “Belgium is not a Country. It’s a concept”. And for me it’s still strange.

 Alma: First time I was in Brussels in the end of August 2009. I was visiting my friend who is living there already for some years. And I went to visit CD house and Anita Kalmane who was just elected to the CD 2009/2010. I spend there around 15 minutes and decided that it’s my first and the last time when I’m in the CD house. Now I know – never say never! :)

At that time I was out of AEGEE for more than a year already. My comeback to AEGEE happened in the beginning of 2010 when I joined Youth UnEmployment  Project Team and went to Brussels for a Concept Development Meeting. Then I realised what is Comite Directeur and that house.

That was my 5th time in the CD house and Brussels when I moved there in the beginning of August. Past two months I have spend more to explore AEGEE than Brussels.

Elena: I have been in Brussels before, so it wasn’t so big surprise for me. I like the house since the first moment I saw it and I think it is like that with the whole team. We are doing our best to keep it clean and tidy, always trying to improve something. On the other hand, Brussels is a really nice city. It has its own charisma. There is always something going on, something to be seen.

Gizem: Brussels is diverse, colourful with the skins of its inhabitants. Here is everything and nothing. You can find Morocco, Africa, Turkey, Bulgaria and many others in here, but if you look for something Belgium – it is a challenge. CD house, CD life is just not yet a reality  I guess, everything is too fast to find some time to think how it is like…

Guillermo: (after removing the curtains in the morning): Gray again??? But life is extremely fast.

Jüri: The first impression of the house was amazing, since the architecture differed so much from that what is widely spread in Post-Soviet countries. I am almost 2 meters tall and for me the high ceilings are an amazing feat of architecture (because finally I do not hit my head).

Life in Brussels has been really indescribably and I think it would in itself deserve an interview, but to describe it shortly it has been one of the hardest, one of the most inspirational and one of the most beautiful months in my life.

Marko: Life here is pretty hard, tiring, there are periods when you don’t leave the house for 10 days, when it feels that only rabbit in the garden understands you. But that’s what we all expected and what we all like. Life here is very challenging, I learned more than a book could probably provide, I’m living with the people I love and even if we’re typing half of the day it feels good to be typing with them around.

And Brussels… I’ll let you know as soon as I get the chance to explore it a bit more.

Is there any message you would like to send to our readers and the network?

Alfredo: “Fall in love, if you don’t love it’s all dead! Fall in love and everything will come to life! Squander your joy, dissipate your cheerfulness. Be sad and silent with enthusiasm, hurl your happiness into people’s faces![…] To convey happiness you must be happy, to convey pain you must be happy! Be happy, you must suffer! Don’t be scared of suffering, the whole world suffers!”

Alma: I am just back from NWM in Odessa where I experienced again that amazing fountain of young people – their mind and talents, their creativity what they bring to their lives and the lives of other people, their AEGEE spirit and willingness to learn and make difference in Europe. I just wish to you: Keep going!

Elena: Never give up, or be afraid to follow your dreams!

Guillermo: We are also AEGEE members, so do not think we are in any other level and feel free to share with us your thoughts, suggestions…

Jüri: Never forget to dream, discover yourself through others, fight for your ideas (because they can make a difference), realise your potential, respect people for who they are and always listen, to yourself and one another.

Marko: It took a lot of time for me to understand what AEGEE can actually offer me. I wish all the members to discover the same, to see what they can do through AEGEE for the society, and what AEGEE can do for them. Once you open the doors, new ones will open faster than you can imagine.

written by Deniz Özhan, AEGEE Izmir

One Comment

  1. Anita Kalmane (6 years ago)

    Wow, I am even mentioned in the article :) What an honour :)

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