The new CD might actually consider opening a restaurant in Brussels. A lot of candidates like cooking, just like Barış Refik Özçelik from AEGEE-Istanbul, who attended culinary art school for two years. However, the 20-year old Network Commissioner has also a thing for numbers, since he is running for the position of Financial Director at the upcoming Agora in Bucharest. And he might also found a Contact in Ibiza, while planning his way to the top in Turkey.

Barış Refik Özçelik

GT: Do you usually read candidate interviews in the Golden Times or AEGEEan Magazine?
Barış Refik Özçelik: Both of them, I am a simple man, if I see a candidate interview, I click on it!

GT: Where would you be now/what would you do now if you hadn’t joined AEGEE?
Barış: I am asking that question to myself every now and then, I still haven’t come up with an answer.

GT: How did you join AEGEE exactly?
Barış: It was the first semester of my uni and I have always loved travelling. An old friend fooled me saying, “yeah, join that organization, they will take you to Ibiza for 40 Euros in summer”. Apparently none of it was true but I joined anyways because of the local community there at first. It was a good environment back then, where you would feel like you belong there. However, deep down my mission is to found a contact in Ibiza.

GT: How long did it take you from the first moment until you signed the membership form and joined AEGEE?
Barış: After I heard AEGEE, I searched through the Internet all night and in the morning I just went to the university to join. Signing took three to four minutes. I wasted the first two minutes because the person at the info point was talking to me – about the exact same things I searched through the internet all night…

GT: What’s the typical drink & food you bring to European Nights?
Barış: There is a dessert that we love here named bomba. It is basically a small round thin pastry and inside there is a huge amount of melted chocolate but it’s actually lava. There are good sides and bad sides of it. Once I have burned my tongue, I can’t taste anything for a week. And if you eat two of them has more than a thousand calories. However, it is out of this world. Humankind does not deserve this food – we are not good enough.

GT: At an AEGEE party where will we find you? On the dancefloor? Talking at the bar?
Barış: It depends on the music and the people I am with, so I do quite both of them.

GT: What was your first position in the local board?
Barış: I was the board assistant for treasury.

GT: What was your favourite event as organiser – and why is it your favourite?
Barış: This should be EPM Izmir, because my team was simply amazing in every phase of the organization. It was so smooth, sincere, honest and in control, and it was great to receive amazing feedback from a lot of people. It really means a lot when you sacrifice nine or ten months of your life for just four days.

GT: What was your first Agora and how did you feel there? Happy, excited, overwhelmed, lost?
Barış: It was Agora Enschede in 2017. It was bit of everything for me, source of motivation, with being lost and seeking for more knowledge, getting to know people, impressed by ambitious people and goals. Also it was the event that made me realize two things. First, I knew I would definitely go beyond local level. And second that was the time where I thought that I want to definitely organize a statutory event. Which I did both of them later on. Literal goosebumps.

GT: Have you ever hitchhiked to an AEGEE event?
Barış: No, I have never done that, but thought many times of doing it because of my limited budget. Thanks, Turkish Lira.

GT: Do you like cooking and what is your favourite dish you like to cook?
Barış: I have been in culinary art school for two years, I know some fancy stuff, so I am confident to say I can cook well. However, all the fancy food aside I love making pizza, I am doing it at least twice a month – with a proper Italian recipe. However, it doesn’t really go well with the diet…

GT: What is never missing in your fridge?
Barış: Herbs and Sauces I can say, because without those food is basically tasteless. Also cheese. Cheese is life.

GT: What do your parents think about the idea that you are so active in AEGEE and even want to move to Brussels?
Barış: It took some time for them to understand, what I am doing. I am not quite sure whether they fully understand it. About moving to Brussels they think I will be unhappy because of the weather there, since Izmir is always sunny.

GT: In a typology of members there are the three aspects fun member, career member and idealist – to which percentage are you which of these aspects?
Barış: I believe the ratio should be 70% idealist, 25% fun and 5% career member.

GT: What other hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Barış: Cooking, watching movies and TV series, playing basketball and talking politics with friends.

GT: Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
Barış: Yes, I have been born and grown up in a politically chaotic environment and all my life I have been critical about this environment, so I think I have done enough complaining about issues that we all know. At some point I would love to take a greater action to try my best to contribute to the good of the country.

GT: What do you study – and why?
Barış: I study Business Administration, mainly because of the interest I have for management.

GT: What’s your dream job?
Barış: I have dream jobs, which totally have nothing to do with each other: President of Turkey or being a tourist guide.

Barış Refik Özçelik with his NetCom team in Brussels.

GT: What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
Barış: Mytilini, Bologna and Leiden. I just can’t choose between those, but I feel I can live in those places, because of the vibes these cities have – and many other reasons.

GT: And where would you really like to go?
Barış: I really want to go to Egypt. First, I was always fan of Ancient Egypt and Egyptian Mythology and also that’s where my origins are, so I have an urge to discover the country.

GT: What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Barış: Way too much drama!

GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Barış: Family, home.

GT: How would you describe yourself in a few keywords?
Barış: I would say I am enthusiastic, emotionally stable, a realistic optimist, self-driven, goal oriented and a chill person.