In the past few weeks I went to AEGEE’s Agora, which was in Bucharest in Romania. During this amazing trip I realized once again how amazing Europe is, and how many amazing people live there. No matter if it’s in Eindhoven, Istanbul, Alicante, Riga or Rostov-on-the-Don. Amazing people are everywhere.
What is AEGEE?AEGEE is Europe’s largest transnational and interdisciplinary student and youth organization. Established in 1985, AEGEE currently has around 13,000 members more than 200 local groups (Antennae) in university cities across Europe, including Russia, Turkey and the Caucasus, with a European board and head office in Brussels.
AEGEE promotes an equal, democratic and unified Europe, open to all across national borders. Several hundred conferences, training and cultural events are organised across the network every year, and AEGEE also advocates for the needs and interests of European students.
The journey started in a town I once called home, Tilburg, where I had a Pre-agora drink with AEGEE-Tilburg. During this drink we discussed some of the proposals and candidates that were going to be voted upon during the Agora.
Then the journey to Bucharest started by plane which was dubbed the “AEGEE Party plane”, because there were over 30 AEGEE members from different countries. During the flight someone took his camera out and made a video walking from front to back and it showed AEGEE members all spread through the plane.
Then the arrival in Bucharest. I’ve been to Timișoara before, so Romania wasn’t all new to me, but Bucharest was. And have to admit, the city center still is, as during my 5 day trip there, I haven’t seen it. We arrived at the airport, and together with some Eindhoven people we took a taxi to the Agora location, and that’s where the magic started.
Have you ever wondered what heaven would be like? Even if you’re not religious, you must have a concept in your mind. My concept as a child was that when you die you would go up to the clouds, a gate would open, and you would arrive in this place where life is amazing, you have no worries whatsoever and everyone amazing you’ve ever met is there.
As soon as we left the taxi, I saw someone who I’ve met before, Marijana from Skopje. As soon as I saw her I realized that I was in heaven. Or well, the Agora perfectly fits my description of heaven. Not because of her, because while she’s a nice person, there are quite some levels between that and ‘heavenly’. No, I was in heaven because practically everyone who i’ve ever met during my endeavours in the past year was there. People from my other trips and exchanges to Krakow, Kyïv, Aachen, Zaragoza, Heidelberg and many others, they were there.
So, tell me, how would you host a group of 600 people if you’re a students and youth organization and you have just about no money? While you think, here’s about 30 seconds worth of penguin (you may watch longer if necessary) :
Right, in a big gym. 600 air mattresses (or well, a few less because some were shared) with people sleeping on them, long electricity cables and a lot of “Friend Makers” (electricity distribution boxes) to charge phones and laptops.
Silence is golden
During Agora Bucuresti, together with close friend Anna Pamplona, I founded a new project: the Silver Times. For years AEGEE has had a magazine called “the Golden Times”, containing articles about just everything AEGEE. The Silver Times has an alternative view on this news. A satirical one. Actually, all of the articles on the Silver Times are utter bullshit. Just like the Onion makes satire for world news, the Silver Times does it for AEGEE.
Off course the Agora is not just a big social event based around parties. A lot of people within AEGEE are organizing or otherwise working on projects. Many of such are part of the European bodies of AEGEE. Examples of such
One of the many great reasons to go to an Agora (or any event actually) is European Night. During European Night, people from all corners of Europe bring local food and drinks! This means Wokda from Russia,
And at some point, a long, cute innocent looking young girl walks up to you. She gives you an unlabeled generic glass bottle. It contains a clear liquid and her grandmother made it. I can promise you one thing. It will fuck. you. up.