Build­ing bridges across Europe: hard­ly any­thing sym­bol­is­es bet­ter what AEGEE is doing. No won­der that the organ­is­ers of the upcom­ing Net­work Meet­ing in beau­ti­ful Nijmegen chose the slo­gan “Bridges across Europe” as title for their event. 40 lucky par­tic­i­pants will have the chance to learn more about AEGEE, inter­est­ing cur­rent issues and exchange best prac­tices in the old­est city of the Nether­lands – and to spend East­er togeth­er. If this doesn’t con­vince you yet, read what Julia Oost­lander and Willem Lau­rentzen from the organ­is­ing team told the Gold­en Times. The event will take place from 13th to 16th of April and the appli­ca­tion dead­line is on the 28th of Feb­ru­ary. So, be fast and don’t miss this oppor­tu­ni­ty!

GT: Why is your event called “Bridges across Europe”?
Julia Oost­lander: It refers both to the icon­ic Waal­brug, the bridge which is also in our logo, and to our goal to cre­ate metaphor­i­cal bridges between mem­bers of dif­fer­ent locals at our event. Fun fact: with­out set­ting this up, the theme of the AEGEE Day also hap­pened to be “Build­ing bridges”. So, expect to see this theme return in our spe­cial AEGEE Day dur­ing the NWM.

GT: Your event will take over East­er. How will this influ­ence the pro­gramme? Will you make a hunt for East­er eggs?
Willem Lau­rentzen: With­out giv­ing too much away, we can say that we have already pre­pared sev­er­al treats for our par­tic­i­pants to make their East­er cel­e­bra­tion feel spe­cial. We will not send our par­tic­i­pants out­side in the cold and ear­ly morn­ing, but expect there to be some extra tasty snacks for every­one on Sun­day.

Meet the NWM coore team (clock­wise from the upper left cor­ner): Den­nis Bosman, Julia Oost­lander, Willem Lau­rentzen, Sven­ja van der Tol, Jelle van Mer­riën­boer and Lisan Viveen.

GT: What makes the Net­work Meet­ing in Nijmegen unique?
Julia: The cosi­ness and love­li­ness of Nijmegen will make you fall in love with the city imme­di­ate­ly. Espe­cial­ly when you will see the entire city from the high­est floor of the Eras­mus tow­er. The work­shops will be at the sleep­ing loca­tion, so you can just roll out of your bed and be where you have to. If you are look­ing for an NWM with high qual­i­ty work­shops, a full and diverse social pro­gramme, an amaz­ing group spir­it and lots of fun, Nijmegen is the place to be!

GT: How many peo­ple will be able to come?
Willem: We are aim­ing to organ­ise a Net­work Meet­ing for a total of 35 par­tic­i­pants. That being said, our accom­mo­da­tion is large enough to host five more par­tic­i­pants. So, if we receive a lot of appli­ca­tions, we might be able to crank that num­ber up to 40.

GT: What are the pro­gramme high­lights? Is there any the­mat­ic focus?
Julia: The pro­gramme high­lights of course depend on your own per­son­al pref­er­ence, but there will be some­thing nice for every­one! We have a Euro­pean bod­ies’ café, a pub­lic speak­ing work­shop, a dis­cus­sion about pop­ulism – and there will be a lot of vari­a­tion. Oth­er high­lights are the AEGEE Day activ­i­ty that is so close­ly relat­ed to our theme, and of course the con­fer­ence.

The icon­ic Waal­brug by night.

GT: What is the con­fer­ence about? And what kind of work­shops do you pre­pare relat­ed to the Euro­pean lev­el?
Julia: We got a con­fer­ence about equal rights, one of the new focus areas of AEGEE, togeth­er with our For­mal Events Com­mit­tee. We’ll invite some peo­ple with dif­fer­ent opin­ions on the mat­ter, so be pre­pared for an inter­est­ing debate clash! In addi­tion, we pre­pared a lot of work­shops with top­ics rang­ing from HR, PR and FR to pub­lic speak­ing and the­mat­ic ses­sions like civic edu­ca­tion, the Euro­pean Cit­i­zen Ini­tia­tive and bridg­ing Europe. Of course there will be also enough room for open space so you can decide your­self what you find inter­est­ing to dis­cuss!

GT: How will the NWM pre­pare the par­tic­i­pants for the Ago­ra?
Julia: Dur­ing the NWM the par­tic­i­pants will share sto­ries with each oth­er and are able to ask peo­ple like the Net­Com, ACT or CD about any­thing they wish to know about Ago­rae. After all, Net­work Meet­ings cre­ate a plat­form for dis­cus­sion and learn­ing, which will be easy dur­ing all the inter­est­ing work­shops where we will have a nice and com­fort­able atmos­phere after all the ice break­ing games. And if that’s not enough, we’ve even pre­pared a real Ago­ra sim­u­la­tion where you can expe­ri­ence what an Ago­ra is like your­self!

GT: Many par­tic­i­pants will be for the first time at a Net­work meet­ing. Is there any spe­cial pro­gramme for them?
Julia: We haven’t real­ly brain­stormed about this actu­al­ly, as our main focus now has been logis­tics, loca­tion, plan­ning and pro­mo­tion for now, but it’s def­i­nite­ly some­thing we will dis­cuss lat­er in the process! We can send them an NWM for Dum­mies — like the one for Ago­rae — or pre­pare some Skype meet­ings for them to attend before the event starts. But if you hap­pen to be a New­bie, don’t hes­i­tate to apply, as the best way and actu­al­ly most fun way to learn is to be just thrown into the deep!

GT: Who will be train­ers and speak­ers?
Julia: We have at least five excel­lent train­ers dur­ing the NWM: Loes from Net­Com, Joan­na from CD, Diede from the AEGEE Acad­e­my, Sven­ja from ACT and Lennart, Loes’ Sub­Com. We haven’t decid­ed on the speak­ers from the con­fer­ence yet, but also their names will be pub­lished soon!

GT: What can you tell us about Nijmegen?
Willem: Nijmegen is a city as old as Dutch record­ed his­to­ry itself. It is the city of emper­ors like Charle­magne, Nobel prize win­ners, and the largest free fes­ti­val in the Nether­lands. From the Roman walls to the medieval streets, to the breath­tak­ing 19th cen­tu­ry hous­es, there is no part of the city that lacks in beau­ty.

GT: What are the high­lights of the social pro­gramme?
Willem: We have our nev­er before seen Bridge Crawl by Night, and many oth­er awe­some par­ties that will sim­ply blow you away. We will also pro­vide bicy­cles for our par­tic­i­pants, but if you can­not ride a bike don’t despair. Con­tact us, and we may be able to find a solu­tion on an indi­vid­ual basis. Most of the pro­gramme can be done on foot.

GT: Can you tell more about the par­ties?
Willem: We want­ed to have par­ties that would tie in with the themes of our NWM, but that would also still allow you to take your mind off. We will talk about equal rights, so we decid­ed to high­light this with a Sex Exchange par­ty; as our theme is Bridges across Europe, we’ll have a Bridge Crawl by Night; and for Euro­pean diver­si­ty of course the Euro­pean Night.

GT: AEGEE-Nijmegen is a very active anten­na. How many mem­bers do you have and how many events do you orga­nize per year?
Willem: We cur­rent­ly have more than 160 mem­bers, and we organ­ise an aver­age of two to three events per week for a total of about 180 each year. We also have social drinks every week on Tues­days, our week­ly lunch on Wednes­days, and our active pro­mo­tion of oth­er events of AEGEE by oth­er locals.

GT: Let’s talk about your local team: how many peo­ple are work­ing on the event?
Julia: We got six very enthu­si­as­tic core team mem­bers, three helpers who applied before the appli­ca­tion was even open, and a col­lab­o­ra­tion with two oth­er com­mit­tees of AEGEE-Nijmegen. The group spir­it in our team is real­ly awe­some and we always have a lot of fun dur­ing our meet­ings when we come up with crazy new ideas. We also have a lot of amaz­ing team build­ings of course. In con­clu­sion I’m very lucky with hav­ing such an amaz­ing and hard­work­ing team to help me and I’m very much look­ing for­ward to hav­ing this NWM with them!

GT: Where can poten­tial par­tic­i­pants find more info and apply? And what’s the dead­line?
Willem: The best way to get info is to check out our Face­book event: https://goo.gl/xsjIYP or the Intranet: https://goo.gl/XfCvuZ You can apply via the form, here: https://goo.gl/SQqwxo. You can con­tact us at nwm.nijmegen@gmail.com. The appli­ca­tion dead­line is at the 28th of Feb­ru­ary.

GT: Any­thing you would like to add?
Willem: Come to NWM Nijmegen 2017! We are hap­py to wel­come you all and give you an expe­ri­ence of your life­time. Fol­low our event on Face­book for more cool stuff, and don’t for­get to apply. Cross that bridge into Nijmegen and see you soon!

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