Recently more and more contacts have been set up in the United Kingdom. After Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne already joined the AEGEE family, it was announced in February that there was another addition in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. We spoke to Joona Juntunen to find out more about the newest contact!
The AEGEEan: How did you know about AEGEE-Europe?
Joona: Each of us got to know about AEGEE slightly differently. I heard about it first from my cousin who is an active member in AEGEE-Helsinki. Michela has already been part of AEGEE in her home city in Italy. And many of course have just now heard about it the first time.
What made you decide to start a contact?
I’ve been previously active in Youth in Action projects of the European Union. For example, last year I was doing European Voluntary Service in Germany. So I was already quite used to taking part in European projects and wanted to continue that after coming to study here in Aberdeen. After hearing about AEGEE, I felt that I had to seize the opportunity. Also I believe that AEGEE can have a positive impact on young people’s attitudes towards Europe here in Britain, which is quite important especially if the referendum on Brexit (a referendum on the British membership of the European Union, promised to take place in 2017, ed.) will take place. Founding a contact is really quite easy. Just being curious, open-minded and willing to take action is enough.
How many people are currently involved?
Around ten people attended the first meeting, from which around five are really active and engaged. Of course we intend to make this number much bigger in the future. It will be challenging to involve local students. So far most of us are from outside the UK.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
In the long term we hope to establish ourselves as an antenna and organise international events and perhaps Summer Universities. Before that we’d also like to organise a bigger discussion/debate on Europe and the UK in cooperation with other societies. In the short term we are planning some promotional events to get people interested in taking part in international events. As an example we are planning to organise a pub quiz about Europe in a couple of weeks.
How will you promote yourself amongst students?
So far it has been just telling friends and posting something on Facebook. In the future we will use our contacts at other societies and organise publicity events to attract more attention. Also we want to connect with the other university in Aberdeen.
Do you get any support from other AEGEE-locals?
I have been in contact with people active in the contact in Manchester as well as members of AEGEE-Helsinki. This has been fruitful because as a new contact we are starting from zero. Hearing about others’ experiences can help a lot in the beginning. I hope the cooperation will grow in the future!
Written by Svenja van der Tol, AEGEE-Nijmegen