“If you do not know what Flunky Ball Game is and did not visit a German wedding, you wasted your summer”
– SU “Get trashed the green way!” participants
AEGEE-Aachen Summer University “Get trashed the green way!” was organised as a rare combination of three types of SUs – a Language Course for those whose passion was the German language, a green SU for those who take care of nature, and a travel SU for lovers of traveling and exploring new cities. One may think that it is impossible to find a perfect participant for such a three-dimensional event, however 24 ideal participants arrived to Aachen in the middle of June. At that moment, 24 strangers from ten different countries started their amazing travel-green-German-speaking competition for broccoli points.
First week – Aachen, Rohren, Cologne, Monschau, Brussels
In the first days, all participants underwent an extreme teambuilding in Rohren, living in one house in the mountains, learning German, and playing Flunky Ball. Wait, you do not know what Flunky Ball is? Find AEGEE-Aachen people at the nearest AEGEE event to learn their favourite game, break barriers and fall in love with them once and forever.
During this time, the participants were explained the Broccoli Challenge game, meaning that during the whole period of the SU one could win broccoli points for “green actions”. The game was a motivation to stay “alive” during the whole Summer University, to take actively part in all activities and of course to be green.
As the most remarkable moments of the first few days, every participant would surely name night forest wandering, requiring strong nerves and iron self-control from each participant, and the wonderful Monschau city with a warm welcome by AEGEE-Aachen member Katja Sontag and her family.
“I feel like I know you all for ages!” Cristina Rolli, AEGEE-Verona, said going back to Aachen after the days in Rohren. And this was 100% true. The feeling that in Rohren everybody acquired a new precious friend did not leave participants in the next days of learning German together or traveling to Cologne in that special, already, family atmosphere.
The next trip to Brussels deserves a separate description, simply resumed by one short word: “mix”. Indeed, since Brussels is a big mix of everybody and everything in one city, our two days of SU there included all possible things: from typically observing both the old and new town and dancing/singing at The Grand Place, to a serious role-play in the European Parliament where each of us could try on the role of a member of parliament and feel how hard it is to follow (political) party guidelines and take contradictory decisions. At that moment, no one knew what a surprise expected us at the second week…
Second week – Rursee, Maastricht
The halfway point of trashing ourselves the green way started with a 44-km bike ride to Rursee, a wonderful lake in the Eifel National Park, where the participants spent their time relaxing, playing at a improvisation workshop…and a wedding! That day at the lake nobody expected to finish dancing at real German wedding, however all SU participants were invited to a local wedding celebration at the lake, which ended up with a small live rock concert and amazing fireworks at the lake side. That night was later unanimously voted as the best and happiest night of the whole Summer University.
What can be better than a Summer University? Only two Summer Universities together! A trip to Maastricht and meeting with forever-bicycling AEGEE-Maastricht and AEGEE-Tilburg’s Summer University “Burgundian bicycles”, and their return visit to Aachen provided the new blood, which one needs in the middle of every SU to wake up, get additional energy and once again understand how cool it is to meet AEGEE people everywhere.
Final – tears, hugs and kisses
During those two weeks of “Get trashed the green way!” with the AEGEE-Aachen SUper team under Lida Deermann’s leadership, the participants have managed to live a whole short life together, with weddings, injuries, love and friendship. Needless to say, that after constant talking in German, all participants became quite fluent in German. And after the Broccoli Challenge competition even the most “no-green” participant became a little bit more ecological. After all, within two weeks a group of 24 people who weren’t strangers anymore, but good friends, were leaving Aachen with tears in their eyes. Leaving home with a extremely strong wish to come back.
Written by Olga Iatsyna, AEGEE-Dnipropetrovsk