It was a shock at the last Agora: no candidate for Financial Director! Even after several open calls! Finally Ioana Duca, who is already working as financial assistant in Brussels since March, decided to become Interim Financial Director from 1st of August until 2nd of November, the end of the autumn Agora in Cagliari. The Golden Times asked the former President of AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca and big fan of Brussels, about her AEGEE experience and her life in general.

Ioana Duca Board 2013-14
Ioana was President of AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca. This photo shows the board of 2013-14.

Golden Times: Congratulations to your new task! What motivated you to become Interim Financial Director?
Ioana Duca: Thank you! I think my experience, but also the fact that I like to work with budgets, finances, reports, when apparently nobody else likes this… I’m really happy and excited that I was selected! I can’t wait to start working with the new team and to have this new adventure in my life !”

Golden Times: Is it a task only till Agora Cagliari or will you continue as regularly elected CD member till next year?
Ioana: I hope so! I’m sure that I will candidate at Agora Cagliari.

Golden Times: How much experience do you have with financial tasks already?
Ioana: I can say I have a lot, as I’m working as financial intern since 17th of March! I have been doing almost everything: budgets, reports, reimbursements and many more things.

Golden Times: Can you give some examples?
Ioana: For example, handling requests and filing all the financial proofs for Y Vote Brussels, Y Vote Spain, Y Vote UK and Europe on Track, I was helping with the General Subvention 2013 and reimbursements for QUAT, writing emails and asking locals or people for clarifications for different expenditures of some projects, plus some other small daily things.

Ioana Duca 1st Brussels
Ioana was already CD assistant two years ago, cleaning up the archive.

Golden Times: You are living in the Brussels headoffice since March. How do you like it there?
Ioana: It is not something new since I had this experience before, in 2012. But now is a different team and a new house!

Golden Times: You were active in AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca. When and how did you join?
Ioana: I joined in 2010, looking for an opportunity to go abroad for the summer and I found by accident Summer Universities and my local. After I applied for my first SU I decided to join some meetings so I got involved in organizing my first SU. After only five months I organized one event, and participated to three, so I became kind of AEGEE addicted!

Ioana Duca First SU
Ioana’s first SU in 2010, the TSU “Europe’s got Talent” organized by AEGEE-Ljubljana

Golden Times: Which other local and which European AEGEE experience did you collect so far?
Ioana: I organized a lot of events in my local, I was involved also in the board as Secretary in 2011-2012, as President in 2012-2013 and SU Coordinator in 2013-2014; being CD assistant two times I learned a lot about AEGEE history by cleaning the archives, but I also learned a lot about finances, reports and budgets. Also being delegate to several Agoras helped me a lot to understand the European level of AEGEE.

Golden Times: If you were not in AEGEE, how would your life look like?
Ioana: Wow, tough question. Honestly I can’t imagine my life without AEGEE, all my friends, travels, things that I learned, all the events I organized, I met even my boyfriend through AEGEE, but he is not an AEGEE member!

Ioana Duca First SU as Organiser
Just a few days afer participating in her first SU, Ioana was SU organiser: “Try the Transylvanian Trail” TSU in 2010

Golden Times: In most CDs, the CD members cooked for each other. Are you a good cook?
Ioana: I have some experience in cooking. For me it is a hobby, it is relaxing. I have been cooking for some AEGEE events: some fancy appetizers for our Anniversary Gala 2011; for team building – 12 people, three days, three meals per day; for our Network Meeting 2011 – the same with 20 people; for the CD in 2012 plus for some extra activities. Check my cooking album on Facebook! I like to cook and bake and I’m really happy to see people enjoy my food!

Golden Times: What was your best and your worst AEGEE experience so far?
Ioana: My best experience? I can’t name only one, all AEGEE experience were amazing for me, the worst one is probably Agora Budapest, when I ran for SUCT and wasn’t elected.

Golden Times: Which experience or moment did make you decide to join the European level?
Ioana: I’m not sure when, but since my first Agora I was sure that I want to do more on European Level, but I was too involved in my local. The perfect opportunity was the open call for Archives Assistant. During my time in the CD house I realized that if I would ever want to candidate for CD, I will choose to candidate for Financial Director. It was one of my dreams for my way in AEGEE!

Ioana Duca LSS
Ioana at the Leadership Summer School 2011.

Golden Times: To how many events have you been so far?
Ioana: Not so many, but there are some: Leadership Summer School 2011, one SU, one YIA project in Madrid in 2010, six Agoras – Istanbul, Skopje, Enschede, Budapest, Rhein-Neckar, Patra, one RTC 2012 and two LTCs in Iasi, where I was trainer.

Golden Times: How many events did you organise yourself?
Ioana: I think I organized more than I have been participated in – more that 20: six SUs, three team buildings, one Anniversary Gala, two SU Presentations, one Network Meeting, plus some LTCs, EDLs, CADs and others.

Golden Times: You started with an SU, like many other active people. How was that?
Ioana: It was my first event in AEGEE, in 2010, the TSU “Europe’s got Talent” organized by AEGEE-Ljubljana. For me it was the perfect Travelling Summer University: new country, new friends, a well organized event. I’ve learned a lot of useful things for being organizer. Only two days after my first SU fnished, I was organizer for the first time for my local TSU: “Try the Transylvanian Trail”!

Golden Times: There is a legendary Youtube with you about waking up people. What’s the story behind?
Ioana (smiles): Well, it is not a wake-up song, it is only me trying to be on time with the group. It was during one of our TSUs in 2012: “Cross the Ecopath in Central Europe”, organized by AEGEE Cluj-Napoca, AEGEE-Piliscsaba and AEGEE-Gliwice, when we had 22 participants and 12 were Spanish. Punctuality is important to me, especially when it comes to catch a train or bus who doesn’t wait for us. So I decided to use my strong voice in order to gather people and to be on time. So on the last night some participants decided to record me, some of them set this as morning alarm and one of them, Andreas Peter, had the idea to made this song, it was a surprise, but I like it, it is funny!

Ioana Duca Friends Forever
Ioana with friends: Anca Odobleja, Bretan Cristina, Monica Rațiu and Mihaela Girboan.

Golden Times: Which city or country did impress you most during your AEGEE trips?
Ioana: I love all the places, cities and countries, they all have their own beauty, but I have to say Slovenia and Poland are my favourite countries and Istanbul is one of my favourite cities, but also Belgium and Brussels!

Golden Times: CD members often face criticism. How resistant are you to stress and criticism?
Ioana: I’m quite resistant to stress, imagine working for three SU in the same summer, at the same time being Archive Assistant in Brussels and President of AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca. I can and like to do more things and projects at the same time. About criticism, it depends how it comes, because constructive criticism is always welcome, but it depends on the manner of presenting: diplomatic or rude!

Golden Times: How important is for you career in life?
Ioana: My career comes after my family, friends and AEGEE in this moment.

Ioana Duca
New style: Ioana in 2013

Golden Times: What was your dreamjob as a child?
Ioana: When I was a child I had a lot of dream jobs: teacher, actress, writer, events organizer and having my own bussiness.

Golden Times: And after AEGEE, what will you work later?
Ioana: I’m not sure what it will be after AEGEE, I will see what will come next for me… you never know!

Golden Times: Are you a party animal?
Ioana (smiles): I have some diplomas at home which say that! I’m usually that kind of person, who dances and drinks all night, sleeps one or two hours and starts to work in the morning!

Golden Times: What are the things you don’t like about AEGEE?
Ioana: Hmm, it is not something that I don’t like about AEGEE, but maybe about some people, ignorant and rude people…

Golden Times: And what would you like to change about AEGEE, if you could?
Ioana (smiles): Nothing, except pushing people to be more active!

Ioana Duca Agora
At the Rhein-Neckar Agora in 2013

Golden Times: What hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Ioana: Cooking, travelling, dancing and music.

Golden Times: What was the last book you read?
Ioana: My last book was a Romanian one: “Invitation to waltz” by Mihail Drumeş. I’m looking now for a French book to read next.

Golden Times: What’s your favourite movie or TV show?
Ioana: There are a lot: House, Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones, CSI, Criminal minds, NCIS, but also Masterchef, Britain’s got talent, Romania’s got talent and cooking shows!

Golden Times: What kind of sports do you practice or like?
Ioana: I like aerobics, zumba, kangoo jump, but also volley-ball.

Golden Times: What’s your favourite drink?
Ioana: Non-alcoholic: fruits juices, lemonades, shakes – and alcoholic: wine, martini, beer.

Ioana Duca Felsziget
Ioana with Romanian and Dutch friends at the Peninsula/Félsziget Festival

Golden Times: What are you most afraid of?
Ioana: Mice, rats or hamsters. I hate them…

Golden Times: If you had 1 million Euro, what would you do with it?
Ioana: Well, I will give some to my family, some for donation, some for travelling and some for investing in something for the future.

Golden Times: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is…
Ioana: …a life, a whole world. My life and my world!

Golden Times: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Ioana: I guess cheese. Probably cheese and milk, I can live without meat, but not really without dairy products.

Golden Times: How would you describe yourself in five keywords?
Ioana: Organized, open-minded, punctual, altruistic and dedicated.