It is hard to believe that Natasha Klimenko joined AEGEE just two years ago. The 21-year old student from Moscow, who is now living in Passau, did more things for AEGEE on European level than most other members. Just two highlights of 2018: Natasha was first Content Manager of the EPM in Yerevan and afterwards became editor-in-chief of the Key to Europe. Now she keeps the latter title but changes the publication: Natasha wants to take The AEGEEan magazine out of its hiatus.
Golden Times: Hi Natasha! Congratulations for being selected as new editor-in-chief! What’s your motivation for taking up this new challenge?
Natasha Klimenko: Thank you very much! Journalistic work somehow keeps coming back to me again and again, maybe it is a sign to choose this career track [smiling]. I love challenges, and reviving and reformatting The AEGEEan is a challenge which, if properly dealt with, will bring fresh air to AEGEE’s internal communication and external representation. Luckily, I have such supportive CD members by my side – we’ll get it done!
GT: Did you apply or did the CD approach you?
Natasha: The offer was from the CD side. It was a total surprise and a big honour for me! I never really thought of joining the AEGEEan Core Team. So far I’ve just written one article for the magazine. I took a couple of hours to consider the offer and eventually said yes… Saying “Yes!” to everything never lets you down!
GT: Now you are looking for editors, proofreaders, journalists, IT people, graphic designers and photographers… How many people do you want in your team?
Natasha: From my experience, seven to ten people is the optimal number for the core team. Some positions can be taken by the same person. Plus, any AEGEE member will be able to send us their articles, so in practice the number of people who contribute will be flexible.
GT: Do the journalists and editors need previous journalistic experience?
Natasha: I require no specific experience from potential journalists. I see The AEGEEan as the opportunity for people to gain experience in journalism and intercultural teamwork — and turn it into their skills or even a competitive edge in the job market if appropriate. It’s from the field work that one learns! For potential editors, though, some experience in journalism or PR might be desirable, but what still counts much more for me is motivation and readiness to dedicate some time of your lives to the magazine [smiling].
GT: Do you plan to provide a training for them?
Natasha: I would like us to have a live meeting and a little training then would be a good idea, but I know some people within AEGEE who have broader experience in journalism than me, so I would approach them to ask for a brief training.
GT: What is your idea of the editorial concept of The AEGEEan? What do you want to focus on content-wise?
Natasha: I adore personal stories and deem that this is what appeals most to readers. AEGEE is so rich in outstanding members, behind each of whom there is a story to tell: how AEGEE has changed their world, what skills they have learnt here, what fears or prejudice they have got rid of… I love interviews and would like to focus on that; besides, success stories of locals, interesting trips of AEGEEans, maybe stories of the daily life of CD members would be other focal points.
GT: You were editor-in-chief of the Key to Europe this year. How much did you enjoy this work?
Natasha: I enjoyed it a lot! Our whole team was very responsible, motivated and creative, and this is what has led to a wonderful result. I already got my personal copy brought to me from Agora Istanbul and we proudly presented the Key to Europe at the Fair at the University of Passau.
GT: What is your journalistic background outside of AEGEE?
Natasha: Mostly, writing articles about international relations or society in Russian and English, as well as a few interviews with celebrities, entrepreneurs and scientists. I used to write for several students’ magazines and serious online newspapers when doing my Bachelor.
GT: Can you tell us more about yourself? How old are you, where are you from, what kind of hobbies do you have and what do you study?
Natasha: I am 21 and just moved from Moscow to Passau, a little town in southern Bavaria, where I study for a Master’s degree in Kulturwirtschaft — International Cultural and Business Studies — with the focus on South Eastern Asia. In my spare time I love ball dances, different sports, baking pastries and have a lot of social work responsibilities beside studies anyway.
GT: Are you enjoying your stay in Passau?
Natasha: Absolutely! Every moment of it. The university and the town in general were totally worth the efforts. I feel so relaxed, motivated and simply totally happy like never before. Learning Bavarian dialect [laughing] and enjoying the hospitality of this wonderful region. In this 50,000-people’s town there is more to do than in Moscow, let alone it’s more beautiful, has a better environment and is also more affordable in many aspects. Besides, I am slowly getting integrated into AEGEE-Passau and I must say there is a big difference between this local and the one I come from, AEGEE-Moskva. However, this is a subject for a long discussion. Or maybe for an article!
GT: For sure! How did you join AEGEE in first place?
Natasha: In March 2016, I wanted to go to a Summer University and somehow ended up doing stuff on the European level. When I say AEGEE has turned my life upside down, it’s not a joke. Enough to say I wouldn’t be in Germany now if I hadn’t joined AEGEE two years ago.
GT: You did many things in just two years! Aside from the Key, what were the highlights of your AEGEE career so far?
Natasha: Oh god, I wouldn’t call it a career but rather ways of channeling the surplus of energy into good things. My personal highlights would not be huge European events, instead, the dearest memories I have are from those first local events where I was organizer. Now I hope to serve AEGEE well also as a part of the Liaison Office. Apart from that, I really loved working in the European Citizenship Working Group 2017/18 and miss giving workshops, compiling booklets and our ever buzzing Telegram chat. Would love to have the 2nd live meeting!
GT: Thank you! Anything you would like to add?
Natasha: Always say “Yes!” to new opportunities! Apply for the core team of The AEGEEan, you won’t regret it!