No, Isparta is not in Greece. It’s in Turkey. You might not have heard about this city yet, but you will. The crew around Contact Isparta founder Veysel Koca is determined to sign the Convention d’Adhésion already at Agora Bucharest in three months. So it’s just a question of time until many of us will visit international events in this great spot in Western Turkey!

The founder: Veysel Koca

Golden Times: Congratulations for becoming officially an AEGEE Contact! You are President of the board – but you actually have been AEGEE member for a while, in Izmir. How long have you been in AEGEE, how did you join AEGEE first?
Veysel Koca: Thank you for your interest. Yes, we are officially an AEGEE Contact now. I joined AEGEE approximately one year and three months ago. I found AEGEE after my Global Volunteering AIESEC project in Czechia and I wanted to join another non-profit organization, so I joined AEGEE!

GT: Very good choice!
Veysel (smiles): When I joined it, I checked: what is AEGEE? How can I do some interesting things? I was checking European events and working groups. I was just a simple member, but I care about AEGEE. So now we established our Contact in Isparta!

GT: So how did you get the idea of starting AEGEE in Isparta? Barış Refik Özçelik told me that you had a talk during the preparations for Agora Istanbul…
Veysel: Exactly, we had talk at the Agora İstanbul organisers’ meeting in Seferihisar, İzmir. Barış asked me where I was studying and I answered him that I am studying in Isparta. Then he suddenly said: “Don’t you want to establish AEGEE in Isparta? Did you ever think about that?” I replied: “Why not? It’s an amazing idea!” After that we started working on it. With Barış. He supported me simply too much. I would express numerous thanks to him!

Isparta is known as the city of roses, because they grow them there!

GT: When he started working on creating an AEGEE Contact, how did it go? After all, it’s not so easy to start a local from scratch…
Veysel: I was really excited! Yes, I know it is not easy… However, we have really qualified members and we will do our best and will join many events in Europe.

GT: How is it going now? How many members does your Contact have?
Veysel: It is going very well. We have 21 members at the university now. We are still growing up and this semester the number will go up and up – just stay tuned!

GT: Where did you look for members – and was it easy to convince them? What’s the main motivation for students in Isparta to join AEGEE?
Veysel: In Isparta we have another international association like ESN, IEEE and BEST. We, the board of directors, were their members in the past. Our board and I explained them why they should join AEGEE and told them about their potential in AEGEE. We told them about all the ideas and projects that they could think of without hesitation and that they could make Europe a better place.

Isparta has 222,000 inhabitants

GT: When did you officially become a contact?
Veysel: On 1st of February 2019 AEGEE-Europe published us and we officially became a Contact!

GT: Does the university or other institutions support you and like the idea of AEGEE?
Veysel: Of course, our University and Isparta municipality support us. We are still searching for more institutions, which will support our activities.

GT: Did some of your members aside you already attend an AEGEE event?
Veysel: Just me…

Eğirdir is a beautiful place in the Isparta province, less than 50 kilometres away from Isparta

GT: You will be part of the organisers and helpers team at the EPM this week. How many of you will be there?
Veysel: I will be there alone, because some of them are working or doing short internships – and also we didn’t know that our Contact would be accepted before the EPM.

GT: Will you come to the Agora in Bucharest – and maybe even sign the Convention d’Adhesion there?
Veysel: Yes! We will come to the Agora in Bucharest and I am sure it will be great!

GT: What will be the first activity that you want to organise in your city with AEGEE?
Veysel: We want to organise activities with numerous ideas. It is still a bit early to say what we will organise first. We still must think about it.

Eğirdir has a beautiful old town

GT: What can you tell us about Isparta? What kind of city is it? My first thought was that it must be in Greece…
Veysel (laughing): Yes, Greece has Sparta. Isparta and Sparta are really similar – just one letter! I just wanted to say: please wait for Instagram page and we will show you really, really clearly how our city is! And of course we will show you our way of life with the help of videos. You will learn many things about Isparta!

GT: Why should AEGEE members from all over Europe visit you and your city?
Veysel: We will explain it together with all our members via our future YouTube Channel and many videos. This is the best way to introduce Isparta.

GT: What do you study and how old are you?
Veysel: I am 22 years old and I am studying Agricultural Biotechnology at the Faculty of Agriculture.

GT: Anything you would like to add?
Veysel: I would thank the whole AEGEE Family and I really want to meet all of you guys. I will be in Izmir during the EPM and want to meet you face to face. Please find me during the EPM! It will be my pleasure to talk with you! The first date is important!

Isparta at night