Álvaro González Pérez for European Citizenship WG Coordinator: “I want to see Thematic conferences back in AEGEE”

If you are looking for a versatile and hungry to learn a person, you can not find any better than Álvaro, who aims to get better every day. He has been really active in Projects Coordinator of the Language Interest Group (LIG) and now he is a candidate for the position of European Citizenship Working Group Coordinator. 

The AEGEEan: Who is Álvaro González Pérez? Could you explain yourself using the initials of your name?

20161120_145931Álvaro:  A: That one is easy, and it will be easily expected, but still I would say AEGEE. In a really short time, AEGEE has really influenced me in a personal and professional level. I got to meet an uncountable amount of people from all over Europe (and beyond) who I today count as very close friends, improved my public speaking skills to the point of debating in front of 200 people and giving workshops, coordinated a group of seven people in a European-level project, attended events in numerous countries… and all this in less than two years.

G:  Germany. I have lived in two different German cities, Osnabrück and Heidelberg, in the first one for my Erasmus and in the second one to work and study the language. Both granted me with some of the best memories in my life.

P: Pilgrim. Not in the religious sense of the word, though. Every person who does the St. James way (Camino de Santiago) is a pilgrim. In my case, I did it two years ago on my own, and it truly was an incomparable experience that marked a milestone in my life, since I regarded it as a metaphor for life itself: on the way you meet dozens of incredible people that you do not know if you will get to see on the way again, and the same applies for the places you get to see.


What is your experience in AEGEE?

I have been a proud member of our network since September 2015. Even though ever since I joined AEGEE I have always attended European Events on a regular basis. It was not until September 2016 when I started to be active in the European Bodies, first by coordinating the European Day of Languages 2016, and secondly as a Project Coordinator of the Language Interest Group. I really enjoyed the experience and that is one of the reasons why I am now running for the coordination of European Citizenship.

What do you do outside AEGEE?

Currently, I am taking a whole year to improve some languages. So until last week I have been living in Heidelberg, until I took my C1 German exam (special shoutout to AEGEE-Heidelberg, without them it would have been way more difficult to get to practice my language skills!), and I just recently moved to Brussels, mainly to do a traineeship in the Committee of Regions of the EU, but also to improve my French (and maybe my Flemish, who knows?). I also take a considerable amount of time to work, which I do online. That is how I am funding my life in Heidelberg and Brussels, in case you were wondering. I also translate and write articles, but (by now) I am not getting paid for it. Regarding my hobbies, I love playing the guitar, reading and writing, so whenever I am able to do so, I take some time for it.

What are your plans, if you are elected as a coordinator of European Citizenship Working group?

IMG_1488367972670As I wrote in my candidature, I have a huge desire to see the numerous thematic conferences that once were the core of AEGEE back in the network. I want to see locals organising events in which experts and professors share their wisdom with us. As members of AEGEE, all of us have some expertise in some specific fields, but we have our limitations, and I want to break them by encouraging events such as the recent conference in Budapest on Civic Education, where professors, experts and different representatives of civil society contributed to turn it into an unparalelled event. On the other hand, I also want to encourage the communication and collaboration between AEGEE locals and other student organisations that focus on topics concerning directly this Focus Area, such as it could be Eurodesk or local organisations related to the sociopolitical reality of their cities/countries.

20170223_215011Why is it important for you to be the coordinator of this group?

On one hand, I genuinely and truly want to see the aforementioned conferences back in AEGEE, so I am basically taking what a good friend of mine from AEGEE-Heidelberg once said: “If there is something in AEGEE you think is not working correctly, do not just speak against it, but work in order to improve it”. On the other hand, since I am going to do my master’s degree in European Studies, coordinating European Citizenship will also be a perfect opportunity to get some practical experience.

Name one good thing and one bad thing of the ECWG as it is now and how you would improve that?
Well the ECWG does not really exist yet, but if the question concerns Spreading Europtimism, let’s say EVERYTHING, starting from having an actual coordinator.

Camino de SantiagoYou mention that you like writing travel posts. How did you start to travel and how did travelling affect your skills?

I have loved travelling and have done so since long ago, but I started doing it in the “backpacker” way something like 4 years ago. One important thing I got from my trips is flexibility and pragmatism. When you travel alone with a backpack, unless you are extremely organised, there is always huge room for improvisation. You meet all kinds of different people, and you find yourself in places and situations you do not expect at all. Sometimes you may not like it, and other times you end up loving it, but to reach that conclusion you first have to experience it, and that is undoubtedly the best skill I took out of those travels: the initiative to try new experiences in every aspect of my life.



You can read his full candidature here.

Written by Firdevs Çazım, AEGEE-Ankara