You like good wine, deli­cious food, gor­geous land­scapes with cas­tles on the pic­turesque Loire Riv­er and cities with a rich his­tor­i­cal back­ground? Then you should vis­it Angers. It has nev­er been so easy as today, because two weeks ago a group of super ener­getic stu­dents start­ed a new AEGEE Con­tact there. Find out more about them in this inter­view with two of their founders: Lau­ra Blake and Léo­cadie Duveau.

Gold­en Times: When and how did you hear about AEGEE for the first time?
Lau­ra Blake: I first heard about AEGEE last Octo­ber, here in Angers, while talk­ing with Nico­la Corzani from AEGEE-Bologna!
Léo­cadie Duveau: I dis­cov­ered AEGEE in Jan­u­ary thanks to Lau­ra Blake.

GT: What was your very first impres­sion of AEGEE when you heard about it? Was it fas­ci­nat­ing, strange, com­pli­cat­ed, some­thing you always had been wait­ing for?
Lau­ra Blake: Since noth­ing like that exist­ed in Angers, I imme­di­ate­ly felt excit­ed at the very idea we could build some­thing so huge, new and use­ful! But at the same time I was also wor­ried about all the work to do.
Léo­cadie Duveau: Well, first of all, I found it very com­pli­cat­ed when I heard about AEGEE’s orga­ni­za­tion: Ago­ra, Board of direc­tors and so on. Then I googled it, and I was fas­ci­nat­ed by all the projects in progress and the dynamism of the orga­ni­za­tion at the Euro­pean Lev­el.

Upper row, from left to right: Lau­ra Blake, Lau­ra Far­ci, Bastien Mar­tel. Sec­ond row: Léo­cadie Duveau, Agathe Nive­leau, Quentin Meux.

GT: What moti­vat­ed you to join AEGEE? The polit­i­cal cli­mate of new nation­al­ism? The chance to get to know Europe bet­ter? The pos­si­bil­i­ty to organ­ise your own projects? Or any­thing else?
Lau­ra Blake: There are two main rea­sons that pushed me to join AEGEE! First, the desire to say out loud “We are Euro­pean!” and to make Angers known at a Euro­pean lev­el. And sec­ond­ly, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of meet­ing young peo­ple from all over the Europe and cre­at­ing a super amaz­ing net­work while trav­el­ling at a cheap price at the same time!
Léo­cadie Duveau: AEGEE com­bines two char­ac­ter­is­tics: the pos­si­bil­i­ty to cre­ate a place to ini­ti­ate a debate about Europe and the pos­si­bil­i­ty to do it in a pleas­ant atmos­phere. Then, I think peo­ple can feel far from Europe — both lit­er­al­ly and fig­u­ra­tive­ly. In Angers, which is sit­u­at­ed in the mid­dle west of France, peo­ple don’t cross bor­ders each morn­ing. Final­ly, becom­ing AEGEE mem­bers allows us to organ­ise our own projects in Angers, but also at the Euro­pean lev­el or to par­tic­i­pate in them.

GT: What did you have to do before becom­ing a con­tact?
Lau­ra Blake: Well, at the begin­ning we need­ed a huge amount of infor­ma­tion for plan­ning our to-do list and for this rea­son we con­tact­ed Lila Quaile, the Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Paris. After­wards, we worked on devel­op­ing part­ner­ships, both with La Mai­son de L’Europe — thanks to Bastien Mar­tel — and with the Fé2a, the Angers Stu­dent Fed­er­a­tion — thanks to Romain Verdin. In addi­tion to this, we also gath­ered the sup­port of many pri­vate and pub­lic local uni­ver­si­ties. Lit­tle by lit­tle our fam­i­ly became big­ger, when Agathe Nive­leau, Lau­ra Far­ci, Léo­cadie Duveau and Quentin Meux joined us, and we col­lect­ed so many excit­ing ideas for our future projects!

GT: When did you offi­cial­ly become a con­tact?
Lau­ra Blake: On the 13th of June 2018!

GT: You had an infor­ma­tion meet­ing on 18th of June. How did that go?
Lau­ra Blake: Pret­ty well! We were about 15 and we had the plea­sure to wel­come Corentin Guerin, the Pres­i­dent of AEGEE-Lille, who fur­ther­more is Angevin! That’s how we call the inhab­i­tants from Angers. The major­i­ty of the par­tic­i­pants didn’t know about AEGEE, but we explained what the asso­ci­a­tion is about, which are our projects in Angers and when we are going to start the recruit­ment. They were high­ly inter­est­ed and I hope that we will suc­ceed in moti­vat­ing them to join us. We held the meet­ing at the uni­ver­si­ty library and at the end we moved to a bar, where we col­lect­ed oth­er ques­tions from the par­tic­i­pants.

GT: How many mem­bers do you have right now?
Lau­ra Blake: We are a team of six and we are super moti­vat­ed! Let me present them to you:

  • Agathe Nive­leau, 24 years-old
  • Bastien Mar­tel, 23 years-old
  • Lau­ra Blake, 21 years-old
  • Lau­ra Far­ci, 23 years-old and the only non-French mem­ber
  • Léo­cadie Duveau, 23 years-old
  • Quentin Meux.

More­over, Romain Mar­tel and Tid­da Fofana are mem­bers of the Fé2a. They will act as a link between our asso­ci­a­tion and theirs.

GT: Did you and some of your mem­bers already attend an AEGEE event?
Lau­ra Blake: Yes, one of our mem­bers, Lau­ra Far­ci, has been con­firmed for the TSU organ­ised by the anten­nae of Cluj-Napoca and Ploiesti. She applied as mem­ber of AEGEE-Cagliari, which has been her home anten­na for four years, but she promised to spread around her new Sar­din­ian-French cul­ture dur­ing the whole event!

GT: Do you think it is dif­fi­cult to find mem­bers in your city?
Lau­ra Blake: To be hon­est, not so much! All we need is to imple­ment a mas­sive com­mu­ni­ca­tion with­in the cam­pus and on the Inter­net! There are 35,000 stu­dents in Angers and 12% are for­eign stu­dents: some peo­ple might be moti­vat­ed, don’t you agree?

GT: What will be the first activ­i­ty that you want to organ­ise in your city with AEGEE?
Lau­ra Blake: Our first activ­i­ty will be an intense wel­come week! From the 10th to the 16th of Sep­tem­ber 2018, we are orga­niz­ing dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties: a city tour, a pic­nic near the riv­er La Maine, some par­ties… With this we will wel­come for­eign stu­dents com­ing to Angers just at the begin­ning of their semes­ter! Inte­grat­ing them in our city is our main pur­pose.

GT: Why should AEGEE mem­bers from all over Europe vis­it you and your city?
Lau­ra Blake: There are plen­ty of rea­sons for com­ing in Angers! Good wine, deli­cious food, gor­geous land­scapes with cas­tles on the pic­turesque Loire Riv­er, nice peo­ple and a rich his­tor­i­cal back­ground! And to dis­cov­er the “soft­ness of Anjou”.

GT: Are you going to attend some AEGEE events in sum­mer and autumn?
Lau­ra Blake: Not only that! Togeth­er with AEGEE-Paris, we are whole­heart­ed­ly look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing you at our Net­work Meet­ing in Angers in Autumn, if our appli­ca­tion is suc­cess­ful!

GT: A few words about you: how old are you, what do you study?
Lau­ra Blake: I am 21 years old and cur­rent­ly attend­ing my 3rd year of med­ical school in Angers. I was born in Angers and spent all my life here. My father is Amer­i­can, so I have the dou­ble nation­al­i­ty. I dis­cov­ered Europe with Come­nius, the for­mer lit­tle broth­er of Eras­mus, thanks to which I went into a Span­ish high school in Val­ladol­id. I’ve always been pas­sion­ate about for­eign lan­guages and I love trav­el­ling. My dream is to work abroad as a doc­tor in the future.

GT: What oth­er hob­bies do you have besides AEGEE?
Lau­ra Blake: My great­est pas­sions are: act­ing and going to the the­atre, play­ing the accor­dion, read­ing, trav­el­ling, dis­cov­er­ing new cul­tures and, last but not least, spend­ing good moments with friends and fam­i­ly.

Check the Face­book page of Con­tact Anger!