AEGEE-Torino Advises Us to Use Our Tongues!

The Italians are believed not to be fluent English speakers. However, the AEGEE-Torino crew is breaking all the stereotypes! They came up with an idea to motivate the Rainbow network to practise languages and work harder on a teambuilding, promotion and fundraising at the same time. The AEGEEan talked with the Event Responsible and main organiser of the Linguistic happy hours: Lorenzo Li Veli.

The AEGEEan: Can you tell us something about the Linguistic happy hours (L’Aperitivo Linguistico)? What was the main aim of the event? Is there any program you followed? What games were included? 

Lorenzo Li Veli: L’Aperitivo Linguistico is an event that has characterized our antenna since the first day.  It is something typically Italian: it is neither a proper dinner nor an afternoon break. People come to get some food and a drink and have fun together. Our L’Aperitivo Linguistico is mainly divided into two parts: the first one where people eat and socialize thanks to our ice-breaking games, the second one where we reward the winners of the different games and we introduce AEGEE. After this, everyone is free to continue their own night with us or on their own. The main aim is to get everyone to socialize, and as it is very multicultural, we like the idea of students of different nationalities getting in touch. And of course, the economic issue is important: it is our main way to fundraise.

How did you come up with this interesting idea? Did the success of your Summer University Use your Tongue inspire you to continue with the same thought?

L’Aperitivo Linguistico is an event that our antenna has always organised. Unfortunately, last year was a slack period for it; only few people were involved and it was a semi-disaster. This year we decided to completely renew the formula and we changed everything: the structure, location and frequency. The team was reformed and I wanted everyone to be “AEGEE-mates” before the event. We worked a lot on the PR and the success came along!

Did you contact the Language Working Group and ask them for support? Who were the trainers/teachers and what languages were covered by the program?

We contacted LWG only for the European Day of Language, but it does not have any role in our Aperitivo. We do not involve any specific trainers. All the Aperitivo-knowledge I have now comes from the past experiences I have had either in AEGEE or in other associations. We still have a lot to learn to improve our Aperitivo. Right now, we cover the five main European languages: Italian, Spanish, English, French and German. But we’re thinking to add two more: Arab and Chinese. We will see at the next Aperitivo.

Was there any cooperation with the Erasmus students?

Without Erasmus students, L’Aperitivo Linguistico could not live. The more students there are, the better it is. As we want to spread the spirit of a borderless Europe, having many students of different nations is the perfect recipe for our L’Aperitivo!

Is the event open for everyone or just for the members of AEGEE-Torino?

It’s open to anyone who wants to have a great time, meet a lot of new people and speak different languages. We have a lot of Erasmus students coming, as well as many students who live in Turin. At the latest L’Aperitivo of 2014 there were more than four hundred participants. It was an incredible night!

How many times have you organised it so far and has it already become traditional? 

For the season 2014/2015 we started in October, and we had one in November and in December too. After the winter break, we’re starting in March and continue with one Aperitivo a month until June. It’s always on the first Tuesday of the month.

Last year it was a weekly meeting, but this year we decided to concentrate all our resources and efforts on a monthly meeting. It has been a good choice so far.

Would you advise other antennas to have a similar type of activity? Why?

Of course I would. It is a great way to improve the notoriety of a single local. And it is a great fundraising move, too. I can say that it is our main economic income, right now. We are also planning to make “L’AperitivoLinguistico – Use your tongue” a brand to be advertised in all of Italy and, why not, in Europe as well. We have already extended it to Verona, Brescia and Genova.

What about the future plans of AEGEE-Torino? We have heard that the exchange with AEGEE-Novi Sad is coming. Can you please tell us something more about the plans of the current board? 

We have a lot of projects for the future! First of all, we will continue with one Aperitivo Linguistico a month, until June. Then we have this beautiful exchange with Novi Sad between April and May and we are also planning an Local Training Course this spring. Last but not least, the event we’re most proud of: our Summer University in July and August. It’s going to be an awesome 2015 for AEGEE-Torino!

Would you like to share one inspiring quote, or a motivational line that you follow? 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela It perfectly describes our spirit. Never give up!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Come to Torino and enjoy the beautiful spirit of AEGEE during our Aperitivo Linguistico. You won’t regret it, I can assure it. And I want to give a special thanks to the beautiful team that works with me for the perfect success of the event: everyone is important!

Written by Ivana Mijanac, AEGEE-Beograd