Italy is famous for its deli­cious food. There­fore it is no sur­prise that AEGEE-Berg­amo, AEGEE-Bologna and AEGEE-Gen­o­va put the amaz­ing cui­sine of their coun­try in the focus of their Trav­el­ing Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty (TSU) in 2018! The title of the event: “Train your taste: a BiG voy­aGE BeyOnd your flavours”. 30 par­tic­i­pants will have the chance to par­tic­i­pate in this event which starts on 13th of July and ends on 29th of July 13th. The Gold­en Times spoke with AEGEE-Berg­amo, which orga­nized one of the best ten Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties in 2017. Margheri­ta Pel­le­gri­ni, main orga­niz­er of the suc­cess­ful event in 2017, told us what made last year’s event great. And Ste­fano Maz­zan­ti, main orga­niz­er this year, told up more about their new plans.

Margheri­ta Pel­le­gri­ni and Ste­fano Maz­zan­ti

Gold­en Times: Your Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty was one of the top three SUs in 2017. How did you man­age this?
Margheri­ta Pel­le­gri­ni: Hon­est­ly, when the SU rank­ing was out, we were all speech­less and amazed by the result. Our anten­na has always been orga­niz­ing Euro­pean events – for exam­ple the Net­work Meet­ing in 2013, Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties in 2014 and 2015 and of course the Spring Ago­ra Berg­amo in 2016. The Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty we orga­nized in 2017 was more a train­ing-ori­ent­ed event than a fun­ny and relax­ing one. This was pos­si­ble thanks to dif­fer­ent fac­tors:

  • The good and hard work done by the core team, espe­cial­ly because we most­ly worked remote­ly… but it was not all peach­es and cream, of course we had ups and downs!
  • The vital knowl­edge trans­fer and tips we had from for­mer orga­niz­ers – it is always amaz­ing to be able to rely on some­body who had the same expe­ri­ence already!
  • The help and involve­ment of AEGEE-Berg­amo mem­bers dur­ing the event.
  • The coop­er­a­tion with the AEGEE Acad­e­my train­ers, who pro­vid­ed train­ings and added val­ue to our SU.
  • The coop­er­a­tion with the munic­i­pal­i­ty of Berg­amo, which played a cru­cial role in the orga­ni­za­tion of our SU: it pro­vid­ed us accom­mo­da­tion and trans­porta­tion for free and it pro­mot­ed our event through­out its chan­nels – web­site, local news­pa­pers and TV. Besides, we coop­er­at­ed with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Berg­amo and oth­er locals NGOs.
  • Last but not least, the great rela­tion­ship between orga­niz­ers and par­tic­i­pants: they were 24 amaz­ing AEGEEans who cre­at­ed a strong group and who real­ly cared about us and want­ed us to enjoy the event!

Gold­en Times: What’s the main top­ic of your SU in 2018? And why did you choose it?
Ste­fano Maz­zan­ti: The main theme is food. Italy is the home of good food and the best way to dis­cov­er this is to trav­el in it. The vis­its and all ses­sions will be car­ried out around the world of food and what it can offer.

Gold­en Times: SU means Sum­mer and Uni­ver­si­ty. What’s the Uni­ver­si­ty aspect, what is in the tuition part?
Ste­fano: The strength of orga­niz­ing an event with sev­er­al anten­nae is to bring togeth­er the strengths of mul­ti­ple peo­ple. AEGEE-Berg­amo has always learned by col­lab­o­rat­ing with mem­bers of oth­er anten­nae and there­fore we think that hav­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tion for one of the most impor­tant projects of AEGEE is a win­ning move to bring an unfor­get­table expe­ri­ence for our par­tic­i­pants to life. That said we have all the resources nec­es­sary to man­age the whole part of the lessons.

Gold­en Times: Let’s talk about the Sum­mer part of your SU. What are the three main pro­gramme high­lights in this area? And which cities or land­marks will you vis­it?
Ste­fano: We will vis­it three cities by train. The first city will be Bologna, home of spaghet­ti and Ital­ian deli. The sec­ond one is Berg­amo, “the city with two hearts”. The ancient heart is stone and res­olute, but the young one is fer­al and Euro­pean. And final­ly we will go to Genoa, the land of the hun­dred seas and thou­sands ways. This trip will have as main theme the food, in par­tic­u­lar the craft pro­duc­tion in Italy, so the places of great­est inter­est of our vis­its will be brew­eries, dairies and agri-food com­pa­nies, where par­tic­i­pants will observe the process of pro­duc­tion of the best prod­ucts of Ital­ian cui­sine and then eat them.

Gold­en Times: What will you improve in your SU com­pared to 2017?
Ste­fano: The SU of 2017 has been our best result since the first Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty we have orga­nized, so we have a lot to learn from the pre­vi­ous coor­di­na­tion team. The chal­lenge of this year is to orga­nize a sum­mer trav­el that cer­tain­ly implies greater efforts, high­er costs and requires a more sol­id and pre­cise orga­ni­za­tion, so we must be more care­ful and scrupu­lous than last year.

Gold­en Times: Can you say a cou­ple of words about your anten­na: what makes it spe­cial?
Ste­fano: What makes our anten­na spe­cial is the atten­tion to the detail and the search for a good result. This is essen­tial in obtain­ing a goal and above all to work calm­ly and accu­rate­ly. The col­lab­o­ra­tion and coor­di­na­tion of each sin­gle mem­ber in a sin­gle syn­er­gy can trans­form a small idea into a great project and a great project in a spec­tac­u­lar event.

Gold­en Times: How did you choose your co-organ­is­ers?
Ste­fano: The project start­ed with AEGEE-Bologna after our pre-Ago­ra Cata­nia event “The Tran­si­tal­ian Dream”. After that event we decid­ed to do a TSU and chose Bologna to work with because of the good col­lab­o­ra­tion we had! AEGEE-Gen­o­va came after, we are friends with their board and we were hap­py to work on a project togeth­er.

Gold­en Times: Where can inter­est­ed peo­ple find out more about your SU?
Ste­fano: The clas­sic com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels like SU site, Face­book page and much more. AEGEE-Berg­amo will amaze you as it is our habit to do.

Gold­en Times: Any­thing you would like to add? You can give a mes­sage to poten­tial appli­cants here…
Ste­fano: We already start­ed to work. The main top­ic of the SU will be food: Italy is indeed famous for it. Gen­o­va is known for beau­ti­ful land­scapes, pesto and focac­cia. Bologna is not just famous for the old­est uni­ver­si­ty in Europe, but also for all the tasty food you can get there. Berg­amo the city of cason­cel­lo and of the two lions defend­ing the walled city. So don’t miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to Train Your Taste!