June the 23rd kicks off an entire new season of Summer Universities, which, this year, offer 75 SUs in over one hundred locations. A lot of creative effort has been put in some of the SU’s names, such as BarceYOLOna, Re:bRUSh it UP!, Shake it off, and, of course, AEGEE-Agrigento’s; “Yellow”. Some of these names, however, have an interesting layer of depth, while others have used more creative licence than the truth could handle. That is why the AEGEEan decided to take a closer look.
1. Short and Sweet
Starting off our list is the only Summer University, whose name is in German, AEGEE-Aachen’s Mit Karl dem Kleinen durch Rhein und Ruhr (Past Rhine and Ruhr with Charles the Short). The name Karl dem Kleinen (Charles the Short) is most likely a parody on emperor Charles the Great, better known as Charlemagne, who most frequently held court in Aachen, where he was eventually buried. His father’s name, by the way, was Pepin the Short.
2. Family is Everywhere
AEGEE-Brno’s SU, Every Lion Needs a Strong Pack has a nice paradox in their title. A group of lions is namely called a pride, whereas a group of wolves is called a pack. Whether AEGEE-Brno intentionally tries to say that different people, or lions and wolves for that matter, can harmoniously live in each other’s groups remains unclear.
3. Wait, which one exactly?!
No other SU does arguably have a more gothic title then AEGEE-Niš & Thessaloníki’s ‘Vampires and Gods’. One of the vampires in question might be Sava Savanović, who, according to rumour, killed some millers by drinking their blood in Zarožje, near the border with Croatia, during the height of the vampire craze in the 18th century. When that mill collapsed in 2012, the local government issued a health warning because Sava would then be looking for a new home. It is unclear whether this boosted tourism, but the sale of garlic went through the roof.
The gods in question are the Greek gods. Not just the Olympians (living on mount Olympus), such as Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite, but also the Titans (the older gods that were driven away by the Olympians). These are, for instance; Atlas, who holds the sky on his shoulders, or Prometheus, who created mankind and, because of which, was a great inspiration for Victor Frankenstein, who created the creature Frankenstein.
4. You mean in zoos?
AEGEE-Madrid’s SU, LEARN SPAIN: Bear Spanish, has an interesting title, because there actually is a ‘Spanish bear’, the Cantabrian brown bear that lives in the Cantabrian mountains, in the northwest of the country. The problem, however, is that you will not visit this region of Spain at all in this SU. Because of which, your chances to see the Cantabrian brown bear in the wild are bigger, when you visit AEGEE-Valladolid, Porto & Bilbao’s SU, ‘North Iberian stream: from Atlantic to Cantabria’.
5. The stories were true
Calling your SU Summer Fairytale on the Caspian might just be an example of attractive advertising by AEGEE-Bakı & Sumqayit, except that it turns out there actually is a Russian fairytale that takes place on the Caspian Sea. The story is that of Sadko, a poor man from Novgorod, who voluntarily jumps ship on the Caspian Sea. On the bottom of the Caspian, he then meets and befriends the legendary Tsar of the Sea, and his fortune starts to change.
- 6. Strictly Palatable Mastication
Trumping AEGEE-Brno, AEGEE-Tilburg & Leuven have put a double paradox in advertising their SU, Burgundian Bicycles. First of all, bicycles did not exist during the time (1384-1482) when the dukes of Burgundy, at the height of their power, tried to carve out a kingdom of their very own in the Low Countries and in eastern France of today. Secondly, in Dutch, Burgundian means to take time to enjoy the consumption of alcohol, a snack (often rich in calories), or even just to be plain gluttonous. The last thing a ‘Burgundian’ would step on, is a bicycle.
7. More like a sizzle
AEGEE-Athina’s Volcanic Eruption will not take you to any volcanoes. Greek geology, of course, is shaped by tectonic activity, but of Greece’s nine active volcanoes, both extinct and active, like those on Santorini and Nisyros, exactly none will be visited.
8. Challenge Excepted
AEGEE-Napoli’s SU comes with the bold statement that Darker than midnight can’t come, while actually the darkest part of the night typically falls between midnight and one o’clock in the morning. Maybe AEGEE-Napoli meant their title figuratively, in which case they can battle with ‘Vampires and Gods’ for the most gothic title. Regardless of which, on this SU you can actually visit a real volcano.
9. Russia has a huge… interior
While taking a closer look at AEGEE-Moskva’s Transsiberian Dream, the AEGEEan noticed just how far this SU will travel. It might not be to infinity, but the trip that AEGEE-Moskva organises is about 6050 km/3780 miles long, as far as a sparrow can fly. That is longer than going down Route 66 in the US (3940 km/2450 miles). It is even longer than Napoleon’s 1812 campaign and subsequent retreat from Russia, counting all the way from Paris to Moscow and back (5810 km/3630 miles). Bonus fact: director Baz Luhrman came up with the idea and worked out some basic concepts for his movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby (2013) on the Transsiberian Express.
10. On your marks, Get set, SU
AEGEE-Cagliari decided to go for an athletic theme for their SU this year. The name of their SU, ‘bigger, better, stronger’, can hence be seen as a parody of the Olympic motto, ‘faster, higher, stronger’, or WWE’s Wrestlemania’s, ‘bigger, better, badder’, or, however unlikely, the band Daft Punk’s, ‘harder, better, faster, stronger’.
11. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Yeast
Rounding off our list is AEGEE-Eindhoven’s 12 pints and some blarney, which will take place in Ireland. The twelve pints will make you want to drink water, lay down, and avoid the sun, if you chuck them all the night before. But blarney is something you can get between chucking and re-enacting the Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zack Galifianakis movies. ‘To blarney’ means that you chatter mindlessly, constantly, or really smoothly. Can get those powers without the consumption of alcohol? You can. Just kiss the huge limestone block, the Blarney stone, in castle Blarney, in the town of Blarney, near Cork. Even uncorking a certain liquid, maybe twelve pints of which, before licking a 600-year-old stone, is just what you need to do so.
Written by Willem Laurentzen, AEGEE-Nijmegen