Extending AEGEE in the North

Does the name Karolina Mazetyte ring a bell? It should. She is the new Network Commissioner of the antennae in the northern part of AEGEE and also the (re-)founder of AEGEE-Kaunas. A local that re-entered the Network at Agora Enschede. The AEGEEan talked with Karolina about the creation of the antennae and here are the results.

Take us back to the beginning. When did you start on working on creating AEGEE-Kaunas?

The idea to re-establish AEGEE in Kaunas came to my mind one year ago, when I was studying in Hungary and was a member of a Hungarian local that time, but the actual work started around October 2011. In December, Kaunas officially became a contact antenna. From that moment onwards I started working two or three times harder. Starting everything from scratch on your own takes a lot of time and its not so easy. When you finally see some resulsts it is worth all the efforts.

What inspired and motivated you to start the project? 

AEGEE and our members. I fell in love with AEGEE from the very first moment and I realised that we must have it here in Kaunas. Seeing so many active, motivated and creative people in our organisation, working on several projects or events is what inspired me and motivated me to put AEGEE-Kaunas back on the map.

Were there any difficulties in the process? 

Yes, of course there were. You are facing difficulties in any kind of work you do, but it makes you stronger and shows in which field you can improve yourself. The main problem we were and still are facing was attracting and motivating people to join the organisation. Now we already have 13 members, but you have still to motivate them from time to time, a push into the right direction or telling how to improve their work, but its a normal processess in any organisation.

How does it feel to finally have signed the Convention d’Adhésion?

New Year celebration in Kaunas

It was not the first time for me. The first time I did it for AEGEE-Szombathely-Koszeg, but this time was really special. Just before leaving to Agora Enschede one of our members pointed out the excitement of being able to participate in projects and exchanges after signing the contract. The moment of signing the Convention d‘Adhésion I was very excited as well, knowing that we now can do everything and I texted our members right after the signing. It was a really amazing feeling.

How is the interest for AEGEE in Kaunas and Lithuania in general?

I cannot really talk about Lithuania in general, because AEGEE is not a visible organisation in Lithuania. It will be hard to make it visible, because AEGEE does not really have a few clear goals, clear vision, or a steady direction into which it is heading. In general, people in Lithuania are more willling to join an organisation with one or two clear goals. When people get to know AEGEE, they are interested. One of the main goals for the next one or two years should be making AEGEE visible in Kaunas, Lithuania and in other parts of northern Europe.

What is special about the city of Kaunas? 

Kaunas is a student town, so it is full of live and fun all the time. What I really like about Kaunas is that the city has lots to offer. You can find a lovely old town here, relax in the park where two rivers meet each other, play basketball in front of the city castle, sail in the lagoon, or just go camping by one of our water basins and you will feel like being at the seaside. The the best thing is that Kaunas is the heart of Lithuania, so you can reach all other places in the country very easily.

If you were to point out something special about AEGEE-Kaunas, what would that be?

Board elections in Kaunas

We do not have any special traditions yet, but we all love nature, so what we often organise picnics in connection with the meetings. Another interesting thing could be that we will probably have an office in an old factory, which was recently renovated by the local council and became a center of artists. Furthermore, the building has a garden on the top of the factory so it is environmental friendly as well, which is quite cool!

What are the plans for the near future of AEGEE-Kaunas?

In June we are organising green workshops about recycling in Kaunas in a garden on top of a factory. During the workshops we will try to make some interesting things from our rubbish and of course try to make people aware of the importance of the recycling. That will be our last event this semester and we all will move to spend a nice summer somewhere in the world till early September.

I am not able to give a lot information but what is interesting is that we are also working on organising a Summer University in collaboration with AEGEE-Ogre in 2013. The concept would be something like ”Get to know the Baltic cultures”, so it would include history, arts, languages, traditions and trips in nature, because in the Baltics people are crazy about canoes and camping.

The AEGEEan gives AEGEE-Kaunas warm welcome to the Network!


Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København