Hun­gary is one of the best des­ti­na­tions world­wide to wel­come a new year. The organ­is­ers from AEGEE-Budapest and AEGEE-Pécs jammed every pos­si­ble attrac­tion into the pro­gramme of their event “Win­ter Won­der­land — Mag­ic will find you in BudaPécs”: from wine­tast­ing to ice-skat­ing and vis­it­ing the famous Széchenyi open air spa. No sur­prise that the 32 par­tic­i­pants of the event, which took place from 27th of Decem­ber 2017 to 2nd of Jan­u­ary 2018, had an amaz­ing time.

The group in front of the Hungarian parliament in Budapest.
The group in front of the Hun­gar­i­an par­lia­ment in Budapest.

Gold­en Times: How many par­tic­i­pants did you have?
Mar­cell Buzás: Out of almost a 100 appli­cants ini­tial­ly, we had to select the very best 25. Then it turned out we had some extra space in our Budapest accom­mo­da­tion so we could accept 10 more par­tic­i­pants. In the end we start­ed the event with 25 peo­ple in Pécs and 7 more joined us for the Budapest part, so it was 32 alto­geth­er.

At the famous Városliget Ice-skating rink.
At the famous Városliget Ice-skat­ing rink.

GT: Did your New Year’s event have a theme?
Mar­cell: Our theme as it was writ­ten in the title was “Win­ter Won­der­land”. We jammed the pro­gramme with our favorite win­ter time activ­i­ties and tra­di­tions. We got lost in Christ­mas mar­kets. We vis­it­ed the most famous and beau­ti­ful open-air spa in Budapest. We skat­ed on the biggest ice-rink in Budapest. We spiced every­thing up with our best hot wine recipe and we did all that in hol­i­day spir­it with our addi­tion­al cozy and lov­ing team spir­it.

The best participants you could wish for!
The best par­tic­i­pants you could wish for met in Hun­gary!

GT: How was your new year’s par­ty?
Mar­cell: The after­noon start­ed in one of the most famous ther­mal baths in Budapest to get our sys­tems ready! For the night we have rent­ed a club in Budapest where we had a par­ty togeth­er with 125 AEGEEans. Every­one was there from our event, AEGEEans from oth­er locals cur­rent­ly in town and of course our Hun­gar­i­an AEGEE-BudaPécs and AEGEE-Debre­cen mem­bers. It was a prop­er AEGEEan way to end the old and start the new. We par­tied until around 6 AM!

Winetasting at Gergen Winery close to Pécs.
Wine­tast­ing at Ger­gen Win­ery close to Pécs.

GT: What were the oth­er three main pro­gramme high­lights?
Mar­cell: It is so hard to nar­row it down… We start­ed strong with an extreme­ly suc­cess­ful win­tery wine tast­ing with deli­cious wine, food and great hos­pi­tal­i­ty. The rest of the night is part mys­tery, part leg­endary and part for­got­ten. We have tried to col­lect the lost mem­o­ry frag­ments in our event chat from pic­tures and videos tak­en that night with small­er or greater suc­cess…
The Euro­pean Night also treat­ed our sens­es with plea­sures and chal­lenges. The event turned out to be big­ger than planned. We had a numer­ous del­e­ga­tion from AEGEE-Cata­nia, includ­ing our awe­some Ago­ra Cata­nia orga­niz­ers for exam­ple, and some oth­er locals as well, all of them brought some­thing spe­cial from their coun­try so we had more than enough things to try. After the Euro­pean Night we made our own par­ty again at the exact same loca­tion with our very own sound engi­neers and DJs.
Last but not least the time spent at the Széchenyi Bath in Budapest was a high­light for every­one. We went there before our New Year’s par­ty and we spent around four hours at the spa. Stay­ing in hot pools while it is around zero degrees out­side is already quite spe­cial.  Add some cham­pagne that you can also drink in the pool and some cool AEGEEans and you have the recipe of a good time.

Group picture in front of the Cathedral of Pécs.
Group pic­ture in front of the Cathe­dral of Pécs.

GT: What were the fun­ni­est or most excit­ing moments?
Mar­cell: Just to pick a few:

  • Doing five min­utes long applaus­es and stand­ing ova­tions for every pos­si­ble occa­sion because we just cel­e­brat­ed every moment.
  • Those times when it is either the “break­fast is ready” or “the bus is leav­ing”.
  • The bus ride home from the wine­tast­ing was where the effects of the wine tast­ing real­ly kicked in. We have proven again that AEGEEans can make a par­ty even on a pub­lic bus and Ger­man guys are suc­cess­ful in pick­ing up local girls even with a five liter wine bot­tle in the hands.
  • Singing way too many Hun­gar­i­an songs with orga­niz­ers and play­ing “Sarà per­ché ti amo” on a loop because “Sarà per­ché ti amo”.
  • In the Christ­mas mar­ket in Budapest it was pos­si­ble to get free hugs from Russ­ian par­tic­i­pants for some time…
  • The crazy tasks dur­ing the pub crawl when a part of your team is singing your team’s song “The Mar­velous Bread­fish” while one Ital­ian male par­tic­i­pant col­lects around 20 con­doms from ran­dom peo­ple.
  • Two words: Euro­pean Night
  • How do you spend time at a spa? You make an AEGEEan human train in the spas whirling pool, drink cham­pagne and shout words that you’ve just learnt dur­ing the lan­guage course of the event. We also have a few group pic­tures of the squad from the spa, although we did not bring our phones to the pool. Ask us how it hap­pened…
  • The mid­night at New Year’s Eve where you actu­al­ly felt the love in the group.
  • Fre­quent group hugs to stay warm
  • Poet­ry in the gos­sip box: “Ros­es are red…”
  • and a lot more that I for­got to add now and I will regret it lat­er when I remem­ber.
At the Budapest Christmas Market.
At the Budapest Christ­mas Mar­ket.

GT: How was the group of par­tic­i­pants?
Mar­cell: We start­ed the event with awe­some peo­ple. We could tell it already tell from the moti­va­tion let­ters. In oth­er words: peo­ple were as adver­tised! The ice-break­ing ses­sions worked effec­tive­ly. We had plen­ty of time to social­ize in Pécs and the group cohe­sion start­ed to strength­en from the very first night. The sec­ond day with the wine tast­ing just deep­ened the ties between par­tic­i­pants and orga­niz­ers alike. We built a quite warm and lov­ing atmos­phere. Of course most of all we had a lot of fun togeth­er. Peo­ple were quite ener­getic despite the long nights of par­ty­ing basi­cal­ly every night. As orga­niz­ers we can say it was a plea­sure to spend time with and orga­nize an event for such an amaz­ing team of par­tic­i­pants.

GT: Any­thing you would like to add?
Mar­cell: We miss you all! You deserve the same applause and amount of hugs that we had received from you so many times! You will have quite a lot of chances to vis­it Hun­gary this year again. The Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty Project School is tak­ing place in Budapest from the 1st until the 4th of Feb­ru­ary and there is an open call for the event, so do not hes­i­tate to apply! A bit of Budapest is always good plus you can learn some use­ful event orga­ni­za­tion skills — not only for an SU — from an expe­ri­enced pool of train­ers in this amaz­ing city.
Ago­ra Kraków is com­ing and AEGEE-Budapest is prepar­ing with a pre-event too! The planned dates are from the 20th until the 23rd of April. Fur­ther details are com­ing soon but we can tell in advance that you can expe­ri­ence some of the famous pro­gramme high­lights from our pre­vi­ous events plus you might be able to meet some AEGEE-Pécs orga­niz­ers and helpers in town as well.