Faces of Agora Kyïv: Alya Vykhodtseva and Viktoria Leonenko

Alya Vykhodtseva and Viktoria Leonenko are just two of the most active members during Agora Kyïv. Alya was in the PR team and Viktoria was external communication and University team leader. They both learned a lot from this experience and enjoyed it while doing so. Naturally, because they did an amazing job, they were also nominated for Member of the Month, the Agora edition. So, we thought of asking them a few questions to get to know them better. 

The AEGEEan: Hello, let us begin by introducing yourselves.

12315157_975266005899290_1121826705_oViktoria: Hi! I am Viktoria Leonenko, Secretary of AEGEE-Kyïv 2014/2015 and Board Advisor 2015/2016

Alya: I always thought one could easily meet a person like me in the transports or in the street. No, seriously, I’m just an average student from Kyïv. I study psychology, try to do something else aside from lessons – including performances at the university and recently AEGEE, – and I am quite a regular and simple girl, absolutely the same as dozens of people in our city. I think that’s rather good than bad.

How long have you been members of AEGEE?

Viktoria: I joined AEGEE in April 2013, so, it’s almost two and a half years since I am a member of this amazing organisation.

12325231_1525491287776069_1295165978_n Alya: Right during the Agora I kind of celebrated my own small anniversary – six  months in AEGEE. I joined the local in the middle of April this year, so I’m perfectly  sure the following years will give me way more AEGEE-experience then I have now.  [she smiles]

 What was your biggest accomplishment in AEGEE so far?

 Viktoria: Organising Autumn Agora Kyiv 2015 and the ReBuilding Democracy project.

 Alya: Then again, I think in future (the nearest future, I believe) I will achieve way  more, but for now I already took part in some events, which definitely were a good piece of experience. After the LTC right after my “initiation”, I was a helper at the Ukrainian SU and it certainly exceeded all my expectations. I never thought it would be such a cool thing, and I’m happy it ended up as such. Later I gave a hand with the organisation of a couple of parties and, of course, almost all the time spent in AEGEE I worked for preparation of the Agora and I suppose it is my biggest achievement so far.

What were your tasks during the Agora?

Viktoria: I was External communication and University team leader. So, I was in charge of communication with the government and I negotiated for Agora location (Kyïv National University Taras Shevchenko).

Alya: Since June I worked in the brilliant PR team, which obviously was an amazing experience. Actually I think every team did a lot for the event, and we are not an exception. Moreover, I’m proud that our team was responsible for creating the image of the Agora, and I think we did well. [she smiles] I was also responsible for the page of ReBuilding Democracy project and later, directly before the Agora, I worked in PR at the Agora Fair team, which also turned out to be a group of amazingly warm, friendly and goal-oriented people. So I hope my small contribution to the overall work was one of the bricks which actually built the Agora.

What was your overall impression of the Agora Kyiv? 12309012_975266025899288_2045021071_n

Viktoria: We had been working hard during the year and I hope that participants enjoyed what we have done as for us it’s the most important thing. For me Agora happened too fast, so I even didn’t notice how it was and I didn’t enjoy it as before. By the way, Agora is my favorite AEGEE event. To be honest after Agora I had mixed feelings: on the one hand, I felt finally released from Agora’s headache [she laughs] and on the other hand, I felt empty and I realized that I need to change values and start another page in my life.

Alya: I had waited for it since the first time I heard about it. And I must admit it was even better than I imagined. Just the fact of hundreds foreigners coming to Kyïv and Ukrainian students coordinating everything seemed almost impossible to me. I’m proud it turned out to be not only possible, but also well-organised and of great quality.

11232240_988574324538408_7322162792132460668_oDo you have any future plans in AEGEE? 

 Viktoria: Now I am Board Advisor. I will help and advise our lovely new board. For sure, I will support the new Secretary, but she is doing a really great job even without me. [she laughs]

 Alya: Not that I had some certain plans, but I already imagine what would I like to do and for now it seems to be something inbetween PR and organising events. As exams are coming I’d probably spend some time studying in the following months, but after that I’m going to pay way more attention to AEGEE things and maybe offer a couple of ideas for spending time together, for example. As for some long-term plans…well, I never plan those ahead, because nobody knows what can happen and change them all, right? So I have a rough idea, but won’t plan everything in detail. [she smiles]

What are your future plans in life?

Viktoria: I prefer to keep in secret my future plans and to only show results. [she laughs]

Alya: Difficult to say for sure as well, but I have some general aims and directions. To start with, I’m thinking about getting a master’s degree abroad – most likely  in the Netherlands, so for now I consider possible variants and study languages. Besides, I’d really love to get some experience in working with human resources, so as soon as education allows me (in Ukraine it’s around the third year at university), I’m planning to put it in practice at a job. But aside from that, I’ve also always loved writing and have some experience in writing articles, so I think trying journalism can be a good idea as well – really, why not? What I’d love to be a part of my future is travelling. I already know that as soon as I can afford it all by myself, I’ll visit Iceland – always dreamed to see the land of ice and fire with my own eyes. I have an amazing example in my family – a person, who inspires me a lot and who visited almost all European countries, a couple of Asian countries and the USA, so I sincerely hope to overcome this amount of countries. [she smiles]

What hobbies do you have?  

Viktoria: I love riding the bicycle, reading dystopian novels, hitchhiking and, of course, travelling!12238160_988566397872534_5981615050737856981_o

Alya: When I’m asked this question, I understand everything I do as a hobby is very amateur, but still, I love it. Probably my biggest love is music – I can hardly imagine a day without singing, playing or at least listening to my favourite tracks. Maybe if in my early childhood I had decided to dedicate my whole life to it, I would be a music student now, but I happen to play just for my own pleasure and I’m not complaining about it. Anyway, I always loved the feeling of getting myself lost in music and I think it will always take a special place in my heart. Another thing I love is writing and I’m used to write poems and stories since I wrote a fairytale when I was 5 and my mom said I will be a great writer. But then again, it is still a hobby and writing helps rather to splash out some emotions. I also have a couple of hobbies people sometimes consider to be unusual for a girl. For example, as almost all men in my family work with computers and electronics, I watched it since childhood and, of course, I was extremely interested in it. So, now I’m able to fix some small problems with my computer by myself, but somehow it surprises or even scares people – I honestly have no idea, why! Also, I have always loved cars and recently I took the course of traffic rules and engine building, and while others are listening to music or talking while sitting in the car, I watch the road from the front seat, rate the passing cars and discuss the new Hyundai and the last generation of Ford Fusion. On top of that, I love watching football and can name all the players of FC Bayern München. I have absolutely no idea why people say these are not things for girls – I think they just don’t know too many girls. [she smiles]


Written by Gabriela Geană, AEGEE-București