And How Was Your First Time ?

(An investigation about Winter University Tsangala&Gogona )

The place of action: Gudauri, Georgia;

Time: 07/02/2013 – 14/02/2013;

Suspect: AEGEE Tbilisi;

Witness: 27 participants from 13 AEGEE Locals;

Case # 702-1402

In 2012 the board of AEGEE-Tbilisi decided to make something new and inexperienced for their local, so the board organised the first winter university (WU) in the history of AEGEE-Tbilisi in February 2013. It took two months of hard work to fulfill the idea of WU ‘Tsangala&Gogona’.

The interest toward the project was high, but only 27 participants were chosen to experience skinging (skiing + singing), unearthing the secrets hidden in the legend ‘Tsangala & Gogona’, creating their own legends and spreading echoes in the Georgian mountains.


It is believed that the event was indescribable, overwhelming and mind blowing, so I decided to ‘investigate’ this curious case. By reading further you will find all the facts, evidence, photos and even get to read witness statements relating to this event.


  • Day 1: Arrival in Tbilisi

After long hours of travelling, the planes with the participants finally landed in Tbilisi (some in Kutaisi). The first stop for the participants was a ski-shop to get their equipment fitting. Afterwards they went to The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs of Georgia. Participants were represented to the long-term action plan for implementing Youth Policy in Georgian legislation and the plan of the Ministry to cooperate with non-governmental organisations and institutions that manifest interests and will of youth by Chief of international relationships of the Ministry. The day was continued by visiting a Georgian restaurant. This was followed by an exhausting city tour in Tbilisi, but everyone relaxed in pub later in the evening.


  • Day 2. Departure to Gudauri

The participants left for Gudauri early in the morning. After arrival and moving into their rooms, they got dressed and tried their snowboards and skis on the slopes of the white mountains. Later, they had an intro to AEGEE, and a Folk intro about Georgian folk songs and the culture of singing.  They enjoyed tasty welcome wine and tasted varieties of traditional Georgian cheese.



  • Day 3 – The mafia is still alive!

The day started as usual: morning coffee, followed by long hours of skiing and snowboarding, dinner and free time for participants to update Facebook and Twitter from time to time. But the main action was ahead. Guys dressed like Tony Montanas and Don Carleones and girls with their tempting outfits and sexy, mysterious looks went to attend the MAFIA Night. They played poker (for snacks and drinks) and other games with cards in the smoggy situation that of course had the proper music on. However, no mafia boss was killed that day.


  • Day 4. Watch your liver! Its European Night…

Early in the morning other the participants were joined by other AEGEE-Tbilisi members and Olaf Czempa from AEGEE-Katowice in Gudari. The members had fun skiing and snowboarding the whole day long, while enjoying each other’s company, funny stories and AEGEE gossips.


The European Night started at 10:00 pm. Local by local, everyone was introduced to different kinds of drinks, snacks, songs and dances. No flag or mascot were stolen that night.


  • Day 5 No time for Snoozing!

Mornings after European Nights are always tough, but motivated skiers and snowboarders did not miss a chance to try the snow first. After skiing in mountains participants faced their first singing lesson; they were taught the Georgian folk song ‘Tsangala & Gogona’ which does not have too easy lyrics to pronounce nor really catchy rhythm. The lessons were continued with a Pajama Party, with relaxing music and lullabies, tea with lemon and sweet pies. It was a really cozy and nice candlelight evening. NO pillow fights were held that night.

  • Day 6: Nothing but SUPRA.

Day full of emotions continued with another singing lesson and participants really did their best. After leisure time, everyone was ready for Georgian Supra, with lots of traditional food: khinkali , khachapuri, mtsvadi and Georgian wine. During supra the organisers held a Khinkali workshop, so volunteers had the chance to make their own Khinkali and  taste it later; Supra was accompanied by Georgian folk songs, traditional toasts and dancing.


  • Day 7: Color day and night + Valentines eve

The dress-code of the day was anything colorful and bright. Participants were given papers and paints to express their emotions, feedbacks and stories of WU on it. After skiing and filming the song Tsangala & Gogona on the top of the mountain, everyone was ready for the color night.

Participants split in groups representing their masterpieces and shared their emotions that had a great impact on their paintings. After midnight the group celebrated Valentine’s Day, the heart-shaped red sky lanterns were lunched and valentine notes handed.

It was the last night in the mountains; the next day everyone packed their stuff and said goodbye to snowy Gudauri.


Note #1

As skiing and snowboarding are extreme kinds of sport, some unpleasant injuries may happen sometime. Only two participants made it to the hospital. Luda Chornaia broke her arm on the second day but she still continued to snowboard with the bandage. Zane Salaka was less fortunate, she felt from snowboard and hit her head on the 6th day, and therefore she was hospitalized to Tbilisi.

But AEGEE is a big Family, and likely to every family member everyone visited Zane at hospital after the event, with wishing cards, flowers and fruits, the day that she was discharged from the hospital. Now everyone is healthy and happy of course.

Witness statement #1

Tom Braakman (AEGEE-Leiden)


For me the most special moment of our WU was when the organisers told us to go outside during color night. The surprise was awesome, when we were outside in the beautiful Caucasian mountains and light our balloons with fire and see them lift up in the clear sky.


Witness statement #2

Johan van Houten (AEGEE-Utrecht )

The whole event was happy, because I was surrounded with such nice people, from everywhere, with whom I enjoyed nice talks about random things and a moment of sadness when Zane fell down. However, we all cheered up again when we started drinking again, and when she was recovered.

 Written by Sali Ebanoidze, AEGEE-Tbilisi