The name Réka Salamon is currently very often heard in AEGEE. The hyperactive member of AEGEE-Debrecen – an antenna with some of the most active people in the network – member is Vice Speaker of the Public Relations Committee (PRC) and just finished coordinating the “Europe on Track” project, where six members travelled across Europe with Interrail tickets, while meeting and discussing European issues with the AEGEE antennae and other people on their way. “AEGEE is an alternative universe where I have the opportunity to test and improve my skills,” Réka told the Golden Times.

Reka Europe on Track PC
“Europe on Track” – Press Conference

Golden Times: Réka, currently your name is everywhere in AEGEE. You are vice-speaker of the Public Relations Committee (PRC), you coordinated the “Europe on Track” project… Don’t you need to study?
Réka Salamon (smiles): You know the feeling when you find something you love spending time with? Something you care about more than anything else? Sounds like I am another serious case of AEGEE obsession, but I prefer to describe it as if… AEGEE was my boyfriend. And he definitely comes before my studies!

Golden Times: Good choice. By the way, tell us about yourself: where are you from, how old are you? What do you study?
Réka: I was born in Miskolc in Northern-Eastern Hungary and grew up in a region badly hit by the economic recession after the Socialist era. Inhabitants of the former industrial capital and mining centre of the country, people in my hometown have a unique bound-to-soil attitude towards life. Well, me and my 22 years of wisdom are on the other hand, more of the reckless adventurous globe-trotter type. After visiting the US, I decided to continue my studies in the American Studies Masters programme at the University of Debrecen until AEGEE stepped in and made me realise I can learn more, experience more, act more…

Reka AgoraEnschede
Réka and CD member Beáta Matuszka

Golden Times: How and when did you join AEGEE-Debrecen?
Réka: I joined one of the Summer University information lectures of the local promoting 2011’s SUs and I became right away interested in active citizenship and AEGEE’s role in politics! A little later I went on an EU study trip organised by the university in April where I fell in love with Brussels. One plus one added up to me joining AEGEE-Debrecen and becoming the PR responsible of the local from the beginning of the semester in September 2011.

Golden Times: What was the best event you’ve visited so far in AEGEE?
Réka: Agora Budapest, for sure. Not only because it was incredible to see the capital of my country flooded with AEGEE people, but also I had just got home from Finland. In Budapest I made the decision to move to Brussels – upon the CD’s consent – to coordinate Europe on Track. Seeing friends and family again after months and making life decisions with two-three hours of sleep per day, well… it was intense – and fun!

Golden Times: Please complete this sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Réka: An alternative universe where I have the opportunity to test and improve my skills, to meet and learn from amazing people; the most exciting chapter in my life so far.

Golden Times: Tell us about the Public Relations Committee. How is your work there going so far and what do you want to achieve in your term?
Réka (smiles): PRC is dear to me for it is an inspiring team of like-minded creative people; work is fun! Our most important project for now is definitely the Visual Identity Manual – soon to be published! Also we are setting up a central mailing list for PR responsibles in the Network and are looking for enthusiastic want-to-be film-makers who would be interested in reviving the AEGEE.TV project. Dear reader, if you are this enthusiastic person, call me maybe? (smiles)

Reka IE_Debrecen
Joint conference with AIESEC and ESN in Debrecen – with Thomas Leszke and Marko Grdosic. Réka: “I’m really proud of it”

Golden Times: You were “Europe on Track” coordinator in 2012, one of the best projects in years. Did you make the travel route, contact all locals and define the daily programmes?
Réka: Europe on Track was indeed a unique project and an exciting challenge for me. Starting from scratch, I had to draft the routes for the teams, develop the thematic framework, contact and coordinate with the locals on logistics, prepare the materials for the travelers and keep an eye on the publications and online presence. But it would not have got out of Brussels without the travelers… thank you Mathieu, Manu, Bennie, Natalia, Heloise and Cristina!

Golden Times: There must be many results or events of the railroad trip that impressed you a lot. Can you tell one?
Réka (smiles): It’s not really fair from me to pick one event because the entire project depended on the help from the locals and a bunch of amazing AEGEEans who did magic sometimes while arranging the hosting of the project in short notice. From debates on EU integration in the Netherlands through discussing solutions to tackle youth unemployment in Italy or Spain to the recognition of non-formal education in Sofia and visa procedures in Istanbul… everyone did an incredible job and contributed a lot!

Reka ESSU_Debrecen
ES SU in Debrecen

Golden Times: Will there be an “AEGEE on Track” in 2013? And what would you change?
Réka: I do hope another edition of this project is coming soon! On top of the list of things maximalist me would change is planning way more in advance. The AEGEEan “last-minute” tradition was the main source of pressure and made arranging things sometimes really hard. This would of course need more people working on the project but I also hope by now we will have more candidates for a coordination team as well!

Golden Times: What are your future plans in AEGEE? Will we see you in the CD?
Réka (smiles): I dream big in life and I dream big in AEGEE as well. Yes, CD is among the plans at one point in the future… but no rush, I’m still new and I have a lot to learn.

Golden Times: Where would you like to travel with AEGEE in 2013?
Réka: To the Moon and back – literally anywhere! I happen to be relocating myself quite a lot anyway…

Golden Times: What other hobbies and interests do you have aside from AEGEE?
Réka: Anything creative. When I have the time I like painting, handcrafts or remaking my clothes. Also recently I have rediscovered my love for jogging – because winter is the perfect time for that.

New Year’s event 2011

Golden Times: As a child, what did you dream to be your future job after growing up?
Réka: Correction: I’m still a child – and I’d like to think all creative people are. I have never really envisioned my “dream job” as such, I still keep coming up with new plans, but PR and design work is definitely something I love.

Golden Times: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Réka: Carrots. Or any type of fruits. Ok, I always have some chocolate at hand as well…

Golden Times: How would you describe yourself in five keywords?
Réka: Paradoxical, perfectionist, intuitive and eternal optimist – with a hint of insanity.

Golden Times: Anything else you’d like to add?
Réka: Yes, I would like to thank our dear CD again for giving me this opportunity and for letting me stay with them – it truly has been a valuable experience for me. Looking forward to working together and keep rocking in 2013 with bigger and even more successful projects!