Summer University Project – Unforgettable Summers

Summer Universities… it all began in 1988 when AEGEE had the intention to promote the European integration. The project promotes cultural exchange, exploring the diversity of cultures in Europe, fighting for tolerance and guiding you in order to become an open-minded citizen.

Every year, more than 2000 young Europeans take part in Summer Universities from all over Europe, organised by more than 100 antennas. The project can be different in each antenna: It can be Summer Course, Summer Course Plus or Travelling Summer University. Summer Course is where the youngsters have about 14 hours of courses per week about specific topics like language, environment, politics. Summer Course Plus is pretty much the same as Summer Course, the only thing that changes is the hours of received courses, and for this one is about 20 hours per week. Travelling Summer University is the one that attracts a lot of young Europeans. It is more like a cultural trip to at least four different parts of Europe and it combines different cultures from the places visited with courses.

16712060_1612023275494322_568562263828715747_nThe project itself is one of the best ways to promote multiculturalism in Europe. Every year, hundreds of young people join AEGEE just because of Summer University. They enjoy the idea of spending two or more weeks somewhere they have never been before, with people they will meet for the first time, coming from different cultures, with different perspectives and new ideas.

This year, in 2017, the Summer University project is celebrating 29 years of thousands and thousands of happy people, great friendships, awesome memories and unforgettable summers. Every year, before all the work begins in organising this amazing project, main coordinators and people who want to get involved in organising this event are taking part in Summer University Projects Schools. This is an event to learn how to be the best SU organiser. This year not one, but five SUPS are being held around the Network. They already took place in Berlin, Las Palmas, Voronezh, Tartu and the last one will take place in Skopje between 23rd and 26th of March.

16387978_1596984186998231_4678982997046542259_nThe people that are working for this project in order to make it great are the members of the Summer University Coordination Team (SUCT): Project Manager & Treasurer – Lucia Gavulová (AEGEE-Bratislava), Content Manager – Claudio Gennaro (AEGEE-Agrigento), Public Relations – Ralitsa Mihaylova (AEGEE-Berlin), IT Responsible – Philipp Blum (AEGEE-Aachen) and the appointed CD member – Joanna Pankowska (AEGEE-Warszawa).

This year, 5 smaller SUPS were organised, and the SUCT told us that it was a risk they took “because we saw the decrease in the number of participants, high price, lots of time needed to be taken from daily schedule. Therefore, we made 5 SUPS all over the Network so that people could be flexible with travelling. It is also cheaper and in general more reachable. We have trained 75 future organisers and there is still one more SUPS to go, so we believe the impact is pretty big. With each participant that brings at least a tiny bit of knowledge back to its organisers’ team or decides to become a valuable helper, we have fulfilled our goals.” As for feedback, they said they got a really amazing response and “that is all thanks to amazing teams of trainers and local organisers who made it possible”.

16406961_1601561583207158_9185816254794991072_nThis year you will have 65 chances to discover the AEGEE Spirit, to make new friends, to have an amazing summer and the time of your life! You can choose any of 23 Travelling Summer Universities from Castelló to Moscow, and 29 Summer Courses from Las Palmas to Samara and Tartu to Mağusa, in addition to three Summer Courses+. Check them here and choose your destination!

Even if there is a decrease in the number of SUs, it is not seen as a problem “since the number of organising locals is not significantly decreasing and since we still have more applicants than places available. This should change. Otherwise, the SU Project would face difficult times. The reasons behind this can be compared to almost all activities in AEGEE – less active members willing to organise, missing knowledge transfer and also the unstable political situation in some parts of Europe is not making things easier”.

Next year, the Summer University Project will celebrate its 30th birthday. There is already a team who is working for it and is going to prepare a programme for the next year. Lucia Gavulová told us that “we are starting very slowly, getting to know each other, observing what we want and what our ideas are. The SUCT and the CD had a live meeting to find the balance between our plans and to set up some initial timeline. We have to admit that at the moment this project team is not the most active in AEGEE and we would still welcome some help, so if you are interested, let us know”.

You can read more about the SUPS in the article written by Golden Times here.

You can find the Summer University on Facebook here.

Written by Raluca Radu, AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca