Anna Gumbau: “In AEGEE you don’t know which opportunities will be knocking at your door”

In the past year, The AEGEEan was in the hands of Anna Gumbau Martinez (AEGEE-Barcelona), who was a very caring Editor-in-Chief. Although Erika Bettin (AEGEE-Venezia) was elected to take over, this doesn’t mean Anna will become inactive! While she will stay active for The AEGEEan, she is also a member of the board of AEGEE-Barcelona, the Anniversary Team and the newly founded Election Observation Project. For all these reasons, The AEGEEan thought it was time to get to know more about this active Spanish member who always has a smile ready for everyone.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Who are you, and when and why did you join AEGEE?

Hey! My name is Anna, I am 22 years old and I come from Barcelona, where I studied journalism. I think that the most remarkable things about me are that I love beer, cheese and chocolate, I am a bookworm and I collect postcards from all over the world. I joined AEGEE in December 2011, but I didn’t become active until summer 2012, when I attended a Travel Summer University around Belgium and the Netherlands. It was my first experience in AEGEE, I hadn’t even attended any local meetings, so I had no idea what to expect. Then I found myself talking and having fun with a bunch of other students coming from all over Europe. I have always been very shy and, in that moment, I felt so at home that I was sure I had found my place!

In the past year, you were the Editor-in-Chief of The AEGEEan. How do you look back at this year?

It was a very demanding year, especially considering that I was still in my last year of my Bachelor’s degree. It’s not only about the magazine in itself and its content, but it embraces all phases of project management. Of course, there were ups and downs and moments I was even considering giving up, but in the end, if I could go back in time, I would have taken up the challenge again – The AEGEEan is the perfect platform to know and discover by your own means what happens in AEGEE and have a broad picture of the association. We speak with so many interesting people, we report about so many outstanding locals, and publish about so many inspiring projects and initiatives. My highlights are each one of our team achievements, our live meeting in Brussels, and all the times we have given voice to projects and members who have had a positive impact in AEGEE and in Europe.

You are also in the board of AEGEE-Barcelona. What are your plans with AEGEE-Barcelona?

Unfortunately I will be out of the city for a couple of months and my role will be mainly an advisory one meanwhile. But AEGEE-Barcelona has quite some interesting plans! In January we organize a Regional Training Course with AEGEE-Tarragona and AEGEE-Castelló, we are developing the concept of our pre-event for European Planning Meeting Burgos next February and we might be also organizing something for Spring AgorAsturias. I would personally love to organize something for the 30th Anniversary of AEGEE, perhaps a meeting with current and old members, so we can re-gain contact with our alumni. We are also planning some exchanges, and of course, a Summer University, probably within Catalunya this time.

AEGEE-Barcelona recently became Local of the Month. What makes your local unique in the Network?

Hmm, I don’t know who runs the world, but I know who runs AEGEE-Barcelona – girls! Out of our active members, about 80% is female, while three-four years ago it was completely the opposite. I think our biggest strength is that there is a strong cooperation between newbies and older members, and that we are a big group of friends.

What are your plans for the upcoming months (both AEGEE and personal life)?

My life for the next few months will most likely be devoted to one single topic, since I’m part of the Anniversary Team: the 30th Anniversary’s final conference. For this, I will be moving to Brussels, in order to assist the Comité Directeur with the preparations. This will also affect my personal life too, since it will mean to adapt myself to another city, even if it will be just for a couple of months. Therefore, at least until May I will be fully focused on this. As I said, I want it to be (nearly) perfect! After that, we will see – I will probably start applying for Masters and internships like crazy. Of course, I will also still write for The AEGEEan and work with my Election Observation Project mates.

What are your dreams when it comes to AEGEE?

That’s a tough question. I think one of the greatest things of AEGEE is that you don’t know which opportunities will be knocking at your door, so I am still up for new challenges as long as AEGEE doesn’t end up becoming my comfort zone. However, if I had more time, I would love to give more trainings. My father is a professional trainer and I always wanted to follow in his steps – I guess AEGEE would be a wonderful platform to start. Anyway, I always say that I won’t retire from AEGEE until: 1) I take part in the Transsiberian TSU, and 2) I see an Agora being organized in Barcelona again (the first and only one so far was in 1999). And none of both things seem feasible to happen within the upcoming months, not even years!

What is the most valuable memory you have of AEGEE?

Oh, I have been asked this question a couple of times already, and every time I talk about a different one. This association has given me too many good moments! The first event will always be something to remember, all Agorae I have been to have been special somehow, the inspirational project team meetings, the times you have been an organizer/trainer and you have seen the smiles on the participants’ faces, the long and crazy bus rides to almost anywhere in Europe. Even the European Nights, despite that from time to time I tend to forget what happened. But, the best memories are always made by the people who have somehow left their footprint.

Written by Svenja van der Tol, AEGEE-Nijmegen