The Danes are called the happiest people in the world – and now they have a reason to be even happier. AEGEE is back in the capital Copenhagen. Philip Læborg (23) recently created a new contact there and wants to restore the former glory of AEGEE-København. He already attended a Summer University last year, acquired knowledge at the NWM in Moskva and has a core team of members – even the antenna oldies are helping! The first events are also already on the drawing board so that also other members around Europe can get their share of Danish happiness.
GT: When and how did you hear about AEGEE for the first time?
Philip Læborg: The first time I encountered AEGEE was in the late 2015. I had one of those moments dreaming of traveling and meeting new people, so I was goofing around the Internet for travel plans for the next summer and I accidently stumbled upon the Summer University website which caught my interest.
GT: What was your first impression of AEGEE when you heard about it?
Philip: Truth be told, in the beginning I thought it was a travel agency and I was mainly looking for an awesome summer experience, so I ended up joining and randomly choosing AEGEE-Aachen as there was not any local in Denmark nor nearby. I ended up at the SU on beautiful Sardinia in Cagliari. And after two incredible weeks I was hooked onto the famous AEGEE spirit.
GT: How did you become contact?
Philip: After my SU I spent a lot of time considering if I should put in the effort to establish a branch in København. The work effectively began in November as I contacted Tekla Hajdu, who was very supportive of the idea and provided all the necessary information that I required. Further I made a Facebook post in the AEGEE group which was a huge motivational boost as it was so well received. I reached out for some acquaintances who are really interested in cultural exchange and got some responses from exchange students who wanted to help establish the AEGEE local in København – they today are forming our core team.
GT: What happened since then?
Philip: In the beginning of December I attended the Network Meeting in Moskva where I had a meeting with Maarten De Groot and Kristina Reshetova with whom I could discuss ideas and prior experience. It gave a good foundation to build upon. Especially Kristina has been of huge support after the NWM. Also, former Netcom Andrea Schmelz lived in Denmark at this time and could also assist us during our first meeting.
GT: So you received a lot of support!
Philip: The general community in AEGEE is utmost helpful and really supportive. There are definitely more people who deserve to be mentioned throughout this process but there is still a lot of work to be done in order to be there where we want to be as an organization.
GT: When did you officially become contact?
Philip: We were officially accepted as of the 1st of February 2017, after a long struggle on the support letter and fighting crazy Christmas holidays at the university.
GT: How many members do you have right now?
Philip: It is a bit ambiguous as the core team consists of four members, though we have a group of people in the periphery of members of the old antenna, exchange students and some Danes who have been involved in AEGEE elsewhere. But we are working on strengthening our core team.
GT: So you are in contact with the oldies who formed AEGEE-København before?
Philip: Indeed, I am! And they are inclined to help and support the project. Additionally we found some of the old merchandising articles such as T-shirts, which make it a bit more interesting than having nothing at all.
GT: Do you think it is difficult to find members in your city? How and where do you want to approach them?
Philip: Well, we just had a meeting today and discussed the strategy and agreed to work on three pillars. We will attempt to expand the amount of likes in the social media – by the way, go like us on Facebook! Hopefully some interested people will come along who see us there. Then there is the social side: we will create some social events, drink some beers, go iceskating and perhaps make a party or two, which can attract some friends of the existing members. Finally, there is the hard work of creating a flyer, do handouts and presentations before classes – all the typical hard work stuff which hopefully will pay off.
GT: What will be the first activity that you want to organize in your city with AEGEE?
Philip: We have some great plans in store! Right now, we are working on an international event, we just have to solve some fundraising and bank account issues – and then we are on the right track with a cool event. All the organizers are full of great ideas for this event and I can only ask everyone to keep an eye out for this event as it will give you a taste of København. A side from this we applied for Europe on Track. Hopefully they will visit us on their way through Europe!
GT: Why should AEGEE members from all over Europe visit you and your city?
Philip: There is a reason the Danes are the happiest people in the world, so if you want to know the key to happiness Denmark is the place to find it. I think as a true member of AEGEE we must explore every corner of Europe and see the beauty of the diversity that exists. In the fairytale land of Denmark you will find a chain smoking monarch, bridges build for bicycles, Vikings, Lego, Carlsberg, Smørebrød and the beautiful thing called “hygge”.
GT: Are you going to attend some AEGEE events in spring? Which ones?
Philip: Currently I am writing my thesis, so I will plan accordingly. Hopefully this means that I can attend a couple of events. The Skiweek in Czech Republic in the beginning of March is already booked and paid, a Network Meeting, perhaps the one in Bilbao and of course the Agora as I want to experience it before I graduate.
GT: A few words about you: how old are you, what do you study?
Philip: I am 23 years old and currently studying Management of Innovation & Business Development. I hope to graduate this June. Additionally, I do not live in København, but in Helsingør – probably best known for Hamlet and the castle.
GT: What other hobbies do you have besides AEGEE?
Philip: I have been active in politics for the last ten years and I am elected as city councilor thus involved in many decisions and different organizations locally. I am studying Russian as an evening course, play football and work out five times a week. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family. Traveling is also a thing is like and I plan to climb Kilimanjaro with a friend within a couple of years.
The new contact on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AEGEEKobenhavn