Regularly seven people are working and living together as members of the Comité Directeur (CD) in a house in Brussels. Right now, they share their home with three more people: current CD Assistants Anna Gumbau (AEGEE-Barcelona), Fabrizio Bellicano (AEGEE-Genova) and Ander Guerrero Ruiz (AEGEE-Zaragoza). All three of them were interviewed by The AEGEEan to find out more about their specific jobs, their everyday life in the CD house and their future plans.
Anna: I am Anna from AEGEE-Barcelona, and I have been an AEGEE member for around three and a half years. I got very motivated to join the European level of AEGEE right after Agora Budapest, in 2012, when I joined The AEGEEan magazine. After that, I spent one year as Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, and I am currently part of the Election Observation Project, as Fundraising Manager, as well as Mission Coordinator for the Moldovan elections (November 2014), and the Anniversary Team among several other activities.
Fabrizio: My name is Fabrizio, AEGEE-Genova, and I’m a member since the online membership system (OMS) meeting at the Comité Directeur (CD) house last February (2014). I jumped directly to the European level because I wanted to be of service (I was working for a big company in Dublin before AEGEE, it was horrible).
Ander: I’m Ander Guerrero Ruiz, from Utebo (near Zaragoza). I’m taking a brief break before finishing my studies in Law and Business Management to come to Brussels as a CD Assistant. I joined AEGEE in 2012 and since then I was organiser of many events (including Agora, Network Meeting (NWM) or Travel Summer University (TSU) or participant (I think on more than 50 events). I was also one year member of AEGEE-Gdansk during my Erasmus. Now I’m the President of AEGEE-Zaragoza and I am running for Financial Director of AEGEE-Europe (which I really hope to happen!). I just like to be busy and active and I love AEGEE.
What exactly is your current position and what are your main tasks?
Anna: I am the member of the Anniversary Team responsible for the main conference that will be taking place in Brussels from 7th – 10th May. I am currently coordinating the preparations of the conference and dealing with literally everything – from logistics to fundraising, from content management to finances, in order to organise a great event.
Fabrizio: Mainly, I am focused on the development of what’s going to replace the intranet, although I also do some HR tasks – my most successful one being aggressive recruitment.
Ander: Corporate Relations Officer is stated in my official mail, known as Fundraising Assistant of the CD. I’m also helping Ioana out with Finances.
Why did you run for this position? What is your favorite part of the position you are fulfilling right now?
Anna: I decided to apply as event manager because I have quite some experience in organising local events in Barcelona (being main organiser of a Summer University and a European School), and because I really wanted to contribute to make a memorable 30th Anniversary of AEGEE. As for my favourite part, it is probably dealing with the content of the conference, as it allows you to unleash your creativity and look for activities that can be fun, interesting and engaging for the participants. It requires a lot of inspiration, which I get by spending many hours reading old ‘Key to Europe’ editions.
Fabrizio: I get to live with other people, which is great – when I was living in Dublin it was with a boring guy, not many social things going on. Here, I can do what I like and there are nice people.
Ander: I have always wanted to see and experience by first hand how life and work in the CD looks like. Now, I was lucky to move my compulsory internship of my degrees in Spain and, the most important part, an open call was open to something I like and I have experience in. I still have no idea which part I like the most, I just know that I try my best! Ask me in a few months.
How does a regular day in the CD house look like for you?
Anna: Well the working hours are not something as spectacular as you might guess. Waking up, which sometimes I do later than I would like to, so then I rush into the office with my cup of coffee and my rice biscuits, read the e-mails, read the news, defining a bit the “goals” or areas I will be working on for a day (since, as I said before, I cover a wide variety of topics), and then go for them. After work, I usually like to go for a walk in the parks nearby, meeting some friends (from AEGEE and from outside the organisation), or just chilling with our other housemates.
Fabrizio: I wake up, I work, I eat, I work, I eat, I go out and I sleep. According to the day I also watch cat videos.
Ander: It’s pretty simple. During the week days, I am in the office from 10 to 19-20 (for me it is mandatory to take a break, disconnect a little and have a proper lunch) unless more work needs to be done. Timetables are quite flexible, which is good, because I try to continue my Spanish timetables somehow. Later, if I still have some energy and some plan comes up, I go to see the city. It is my first time in Brussels and I hope one day I will manage to visit the city also during the day. On weekends, normally, we have free days but always something appears that needs to be done and I try to reset a bit and continue discovering the city.
It must be very exciting to live with the CD, but it is not a secret that personal space is rather limited when you live with so many people in one house. What are your most and least favourite aspects of your current living situation?
Anna: My favourite thing about living here is the fact that I am in Brussels, with so many things going on every day, so close to the institutions, being able to reach literally any place in Europe very easily, and not least important having good friends living here, as even some of my former classmates have recently moved to Brussels. I also enjoy our social evenings in the basement, or when AEGEE friends of mine stop by at the house. Of course, sometimes I wish I had more time and space to be on my own, but you always find some time for yourself when you need it.
Fabrizio: I am easy going and I don’t care much. As said, the good side is that you never have a dull moment with nine other people.
Ander: The worst is that sometimes you would like some privacy and that I try to be quite clean. And with twelve people now living in the house plus occasional guests this is not easy. But I am quite flexible and open-minded and it is OK. Also, it is my first time sharing a room, and I want to publicly ask for forgiveness to my roommates if I occasionally snore. The positive part is that I really like the house and the office is just ten seconds from the bed. I really like the part of the stairs and entrance when you are lying in the sofa that is in front of the stairs!
How long will you stay in Brussels and what are your plans for the time to come? Any chance you might be interested in staying for another year as an actual CD member?
Anna: I will probably be staying in Brussels until right before the Agora, so the end of March. Then I will go to the Agora and, after the event, figure out what I will do next – because indeed, I would love to stay for another year as an actual CD member.
Fabrizio: I am here in Brussels because other than doing my good deed I am delaying finding a job. As long as I can work on that, I can not care to return to adulthood. As for real CD tasks, nope – I still know nothing about AEGEE.
Ander: I will be in Brussels for 60 working days, so, until the middle of May. Later, I will be back in Zaragoza, if nothing goes wrong, to finally finish my studies and organise the most awesome TSU this year! As I said before, yes, I would like to be in the CD in the next term. I feel that I can do something positive to an association that has given a lot to me. I feel prepared, motivated and finally I have finished my studies! I hope it will come true in a few weeks!
If someone came up with the idea of making a movie about the life in the CD house, what genre would it be and what catchy title could you imagine?
Anna: It will be indeed somewhere between a drama and a comedy – it actually kind of reminds me of L’auberge espagnole, a very famous French movie about a guy who moved as an Erasmus to Barcelona and shared a flat with people from several different European nationalities. But as for the catchy title… I really don’t know! A former CD member and friend of mine used to like the “We are all mad in here” quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which could be quite accurate some times!
Fabrizio: I am too sick to reply to this. [he laughs].
Ander: Sometimes I really believe that several reality shows could be recorded within AEGEE [he laughs]. My favorite types of movies are comedies, sci-fi, thrillers and romantic comedies. For sure not horror! So, why not, let’s choose a romantic one with the title “Pretty Assistant”. Classics are always good and who knows if dealing with companies will bring me a Richard Gere [he laughs].
Written by Katja Sontag, AEGEE-Aachen