AEGEE’s award-winning project Europe on Track goes into it’s fifth round. Next spring nine younf travelers will go with an Interrail ticket around Europe to deliver workshops, interview young people and attend local events. This year the content focus is sustainability and climate change. It is still possible to apply for becoming traveler – the deadline is the 27th of November! You got curious? Check out what Ola Miklasińska, Social Media Manager responsible of the project, has to say.
Golden Times: Can you explain in three sentence what Europe on Track is about in general and how it works?
Ola Miklasińska: The idea of Europe on Track is that selected ambassadors travel by train across Europe for one month to deliver workshops, interview young people and organize local events in cooperation with AEGEE antennae about the main topic of each edition. Although, the aim of the project is not only to travel and have fun, but above all to raise awareness, to create a space for discussion and to capture the opinions of youth in Europe on important social issues while having an amazing time and connecting different parts of our continent — or even further! This is an amazing journey for everyone involved in it, ambassadors, project team and local organisers, who work hard to prepare this month full of adventures, events with great content and visible outcomes.
GT: What’s new in EoT5?
Ola: There are so many new things! But the most important ones are:
- We got bigger. Three teams instead of two. This year we will have nine ambassadors and go to 36 cities.
- The team. We are currently 16 people working: Project Team, assistants and CD appointed person. It is quite a big team, but it is working great!
- CO2 neutral. This year Europe on Track’s carbon footprint will be measured and neutralized by planting trees and investing in renewable energy projects. We need your help for that!
GT: When will the EoT5 trip take place?
Ola: The actual travelling will take place from 22nd of March to 22nd of April, but the ambassadors will begin their training on the 13th of March in Thessaloniki. After the route, we will have an extensive evaluation and attend the Spring Agora Kraków 2018.
GT: Right now you search for travelers. How many applications have you got for ambassador?
Ola: We have a big number of applications, but we are always looking for high quality applications from AEGEEans! We have mostly applications from people outside of AEGEE and we would love to have more AEGEEans on the board with us!
GT: Until when it’s possible to apply?
Ola: You can apply until 27th November at 23:59 CET for ambassador — check out our application here! The hosting locals’ application was over in October and we already have all three routes prepared.
GT: What human qualities and what practical skills should an ambassador have?
Ola: Basically we are looking for people with experience in giving presentations or developing trainings that are interested in Sustainability and Climate Change. Ambassadors have to be experienced with traveling and problem solving and also need to have the technical skill of a blogger, photographer or videographer. To know more, you can check the full description here. Our ambassadors should also have a bit of craziness or, as we like to say, be “full of AEGEE spirit”! Charisma and open minds of ambassadors make this journey truly unforgettable.
GT: How do we have to imagine the life of an ambassador?
Ola: Being an ambassador is an amazing adventure, but it’s also quite demanding and tiresome at the same time. You obviously move a lot, meet different people every two or three days and need to think about your tasks and responsibilities like preparing high quality workshops and materials even if you spent your night in a train. On the other hand, every two or three days you visit different, amazing city where your friends or future friends are waiting for you, ready to make your stay in the city a unique one. Check out one of the videos from last year!
GT: Let’s come back to the environment topic. Why was it chosen? And how exactly will it be dealt with during the trip?
Ola: Sustainability and climate change was one of the topics suggested by our network. After detailed research we decided to put it as the main topic, because of its obvious importance and the real action we should and we want to take. We feel that this topic is still not that popular among youth as it should be. Irresponsible human activity has severely damaged the condition of the planet: climate change, CO2 and gasses’ levels arising, deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity are all consequences of our actions. As we will be the first generation affected by the current environmental destruction, it’s up to us to finally take action and work hard on our future.
GT: What are the antennae supposed to organise precisely?
Ola: As in previous years, we will offer a range of activities for locals to organize and they can choose the ones they like the most. This year we are planning to give even more possibilities, some of the things we have in mind are classical thematic workshops or panel discussions but also watching a documentary connected with the main topic or eco action in a city — for example taking care together of the green areas in the city. We are also thinking about spending more time outside, not only doing interviews, as the topic is perfect to carry out some outdoors activities.
GT: What’s your task in the team? And who are you?
Ola: My name is Ola Miklasińska, I’m a member of AEGEE-Kraków and Social Media Manager of Europe on Track 5. I’m responsible for all our social media channels but luckily I have an amazing Social Media Team to help me with it! I’m mostly taking care of our Facebook page and promoting the Open Call for Ambassadors with the help of another team member — Maryam, and there’s also Melissa with whom I share Instagram activities and who’s working on Twitter too! Besides, I’m one of three Routes Managers so I will be in contact with the locals of one route — helping them with preparation of the events and taking care of the team, their journey and communication between them and the their hosting locals.
GT: What motivated you to be part of the project?
Ola: This is kind of my dream project, for me it’s full of AEGEE spirit and it combines everything what I love about our organisation, that you can travel so much, meet amazing people in every corner of Europe, have a lot of fun but at the same time do something valuable and important for society and youth in general. During EoT3 I was active only at local level, I didn’t know many people out of my antenna and I simply didn’t know the project at that time. When I saw an Open Call for hosting locals of EoT4, I knew I wanted AEGEE-Kraków to be a part of this awesome journey. I organized a stop in Kraków and I liked it so much that I decided to join the project team of the next edition. I’m upgrading every year so I can’t wait for Europe on Track 6!
GT: Will you also apply as traveller?
Ola: Being an ambassador of EoT is for me one of the coolest things you can do in AEGEE, but this year I want to focus on working in the project team and obviously on the Agora organized by my local. Besides, there are rumors that I’m still studying and I’m even thinking about finishing my studies next year!
GT: Where can members find out more about the project?
Ola: For any updates we recommend to follow our Facebook Page. For some of the backstage stuff and memories from the last edition we use our Instagram. All important info is on our website www.europeontrack.org and on our Facebook event. Besides, if you have any question about EoT, you can always write on our Facebook page!
GT: How will the results of the projects be documented?
Ola: The results of the project will be presented in a quite different way than from the previous editions but that’s one of the surprises that we are still working on! What we can say is that there will be an Open Call for Policy Officer on Sustainability and climate change that will draft the policy paper based on all the data that we will provide after Europe on Track 5.
GT: Anything you would like to add?
Ola: We would like to say huge “Thank you!” for all the kind words we received so far, both from our network and outside, because it’s really a huge motivator to work even more! We said in the beginning we will make it big and after six months we can say we are really going into a good direction! Our cooperation with Interrail is much closer this year and soon we will introduce new partners that will help us to take this project to the next level. What keeps us going is that we really want to bring the topic of sustainability and climate change closer to AEGEE and young people, to take action and to help the planet as much as we can. Personally I would like to say even bigger Thank you to all members of the Project Team because each of them is doing an amazing job and thanks to these people and the atmosphere inside the team I cannot imagine better place to develop myself in AEGEE than Europe on Track.