Only two anten­nae in the whole net­work are orga­niz­ing two Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties this year. No, not the big Dutch ones. AEGEE-Ros­tov-na-Donu and AEGEE-Odessa want to show you their hos­pi­tal­i­ty twice this sum­mer. AEGEE-Odessa has a spe­cial sto­ry. The small anten­na in the South of Ukraine was in a big cri­sis in the past years, but recov­ered with great ener­gy and pas­sion. It’s the best exam­ple that some­times you can get out of a cri­sis much stronger than you were before. AEGEE-Odessa Pres­i­dent Valeri­ia Tukhar told the Gold­en Times the secret of their suc­cess – and why you should vis­it the anten­na. “The city is a good choice for lovers of beau­ty, because Odessa is beau­ti­ful – it is impos­si­ble not to fall in love with it”, says Valeri­ia. “If you want to enjoy life to the fullest, then we are wait­ing for you in Odessa. Join us!”

Valeri­ia Tukhar

Gold­en Times: Tell us about your Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties this year!
Valeri­ia Tukhar: We have quite a big plan for 2018 as we orga­nize two Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ties this year. The first one is a coop­er­a­tion with AEGEE-Kyiv. The title is “CrU­A­tiv­i­ty in action!” We will give you cours­es ded­i­cat­ed to pho­tog­ra­phy and blog­ging. We will also show you our local tra­di­tions. In short: we want to have sum­mer fun and do some­thing use­ful. It takes place from 30th of July to 10th of August.

Gold­en Times: Very nice! What about your sec­ond Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty?
Valeri­ia: The sec­ond SU is a coop­er­a­tion with AEGEE-Ros­tov-na-Donu, AEGEE-Voronezh and AEGEE-Kharkiv. The title of this Trav­el­ling Sum­mer Uni­ver­si­ty is “The Slav­ic FOURce”, it’s from 14th to 28th of August and the top­ic is Explor­ing Slav­ic cul­ture and break­ing stereo­types about East­ern Europe. The SU is devot­ed to the friend­ship between Ukraine and Rus­sia. We want to show the world that the Slavs know how to have fun!

Gold­en Times: Sounds per­fect!
Valeri­ia: By the way, maybe we will also try to organ­ise a Net­work Meet­ing in Odessa in autumn 2018. Besides, we have a set of dif­fer­ent local events in our mind.

The new board of AEGEE-Odessa

Gold­en Times: How is your anten­na doing? You just came out of a cri­sis…
Valeri­ia Tukhar: AEGEE-Odessa’s active mem­bers start­ed the reviv­ing process of our local at the end of 2015. Dur­ing 2016 and 2017 they tried to revive our anten­na as well as cov­er debts that were left from the inac­tive peri­od of time. Since there was no knowl­edge trans­fer, it took time to fig­ure out how an AEGEE board must func­tion to ful­fill the cri­te­ria and how to pre­pare the nec­es­sary reports. We are grate­ful for the sup­port of our pre­vi­ous pres­i­dent, Net­Coms, CD mem­bers and oth­er AEGEEans from dif­fer­ent locals who sup­port­ed and helped us dur­ing this process!

Gold­en Times: Was the future of your anten­na real­ly in dan­ger? Or did you always believe you could save it?
Valeri­ia: There was a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion in the past when our local was revived already once. So it is not the first time, but it was prob­a­bly equal­ly dif­fi­cult. We always believed though that we would find mem­bers, who are like-mind­ed and enthu­si­as­tic about mak­ing AEGEE-Odessa grow. So here it comes!

AEGEE-Odessa organ­ised a very suc­cess­ful LTC in Novem­ber 2017

Gold­en Times: What did you do to make the turn­around?
Valeri­ia: We tried to do our best in search­ing for active young peo­ple, who would cher­ish the idea of AEGEE and would be inter­est­ed not just in vis­it­ing events around Europe, but stay­ing active on the local lev­el too. One of the most impor­tant out­comes is that our board mem­bers of 2016 and 2017 became great friends, which con­tributed sig­nif­i­cant­ly to organ­is­ing events in Odessa, where moti­vat­ed stu­dents joined us and even­tu­al­ly formed the board of 2018.

AEGEE-Odessa organ­ised a TSU last year in coop­er­a­tion with AEGEE-Iasi and AEGEE-Chisin­au

Gold­en Times: You recent­ly had a suc­cess­ful LTC. How was it like, what did you focus on?
Valeri­ia: We tried to spice up our LTC not only with major AEGEE top­ics and cov­er­age of its aspects, but also with some inter­est­ing areas that would be use­ful for stu­dents such as an intro­duc­tion to the Eras­mus+ pro­gramme, trav­el­ling & vol­un­teer­ing tips, CV and moti­va­tion let­ter tips, and inter­view advice.

Gold­en Times: How many mem­bers do you have now?
Valeri­ia: Right now we have around 30 active mem­bers who vis­it­ed local and Euro­pean events in 2017.

AEGEE-Odessa was found­ed in 2003. One of its first events was the SU “Bud­mo” in 2005.

Gold­en Times: Some of your mem­bers don’t live in Odessa, but in oth­er cities. How do you man­age to work togeth­er?
Valeri­ia: That’s right, some of our mem­bers live in the neigh­bour­ing city Myko­laiv, since AEGEE-Odessa is the only anten­na in south­ern Ukraine. How­ev­er, Myko­laiv and Odessa are not that far from each oth­er, so when we have events like an LTC we meet in one of these cities. The dis­tance might com­pli­cate some things but it is not a big issue in the cen­tu­ry of online world. It is almost like being a free­lancer work­ing remote­ly, an AEGEE free­lancer. By the way, when there was no AEGEE-Odessa in the past, stu­dents from the South of Ukraine became mem­bers of AEGEE-Kyiv.

Gold­en Times: There are only four anten­nae left in Ukraine: AEGEE-Lviv, AEGEE-Kyiv, AEGEE-Odessa and AEGEE-Kharkiv. There were a lot more in the past. Has it become more dif­fi­cult to make stu­dents join AEGEE in Ukraine? If yes, how?
Valeri­ia: Yes, there used to be way more anten­nae in Ukraine. There was a break­ing point when the war in 2014 start­ed. It caused a huge cur­ren­cy rate increase, which made trav­el­ling to AEGEE events way too expen­sive for Ukrain­ian stu­dents.

Anoth­er impres­sion of the SU in 2005.

Gold­en Times: What’s your strat­e­gy to make peo­ple join your anten­na? How do you pro­mote it?
Valeri­ia: Our main strat­e­gy is to con­duct as many local events as pos­si­ble, as well as pro­mo­tion in uni­ver­si­ties. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, AEGEE is lit­tle known in our city, but we will do every­thing we can to cor­rect this sit­u­a­tion and make AEGEE known in Odessa, Ukraine and through­out Europe.

Gold­en Times: To how many events per year and what kind of events do your mem­ber usu­al­ly trav­el?
Valeri­ia: Mem­bers of the AEGEE-Odessa attend about five or six events per year. Most­ly these are SU, Ago­ra and NWM.

In 2006 AEGEE-Odessa helped organ­is­ing an AEGEE Elec­tion Obser­va­tion Mis­sion.

Gold­en Times: How much does trav­el­ling cost to Cen­tral Euro­pean loca­tions, such as Munich or Vien­na?
Valeri­ia: In most cas­es we leave from neigh­bor­ing major cities, such as Kiev or Chisin­au, or fly with a trans­fer. To get from Odessa to Vien­na by plane, you can for 300 Euros in both direc­tions, and to Munich for 200 Euros. You can also use bus­es, but the price is not much low­er, and it takes a lot longer — up to 40 hours.

Gold­en Times: This is your minute of free adver­tis­ing: Why should AEGEE mem­bers vis­it Odessa?
Valeri­ia: Odessa is a won­der­ful city for many trav­el­ers. Lovers of his­to­ry will find here many his­tor­i­cal, archae­o­log­i­cal, mil­i­tary or par­ti­san muse­ums, as well as will be fas­ci­nat­ed by the numer­ous sto­ries and leg­ends of our city. The city is a good choice for lovers of art muse­ums and sim­ply lovers of beau­ty, because Odessa is a beau­ti­ful city — it is impos­si­ble not to fall in love with it. Our city is also a famous port, is locat­ed on the Black Sea coast and is famous for its beau­ti­ful beach­es, so if you are tired of every­thing and just want to lie on the beach and swim, Odessa is what you need. And of course, Odessa is famous for its night beach clubs, where you can have fun all day and all night. If you want to enjoy life to the fullest, then we are wait­ing for you in Odessa, join us!

Fol­low AEGEE-Odessa. They are wait­ing for you — and have awe­some T-shirts.

The cur­rent board of AEGEE-Odessa

  • Pres­i­dent: Valeri­ia Tukhar
  • Trea­sur­er: Daniel Harus
  • Sec­re­tary: Anna Babenko
  • HR Respon­si­ble: Ellie Dud­ny­chenko
  • PR Respon­si­ble: Elen Mar­tirosyan
  • Events Respon­si­ble: Yelyza­ve­ta Bozhatk­i­na
  • SU/Outgoing Respon­si­ble: Anas­tasi­ia Sheremet
  • Local activ­i­ties: Ali­na Cheban.