“I can’t get enough of AEGEE!” For Teresa Geislinger AEGEE has become a life-changing experience since she joined AEGEE-Passau in 2017. When she moved to Strasbourg for Erasmus last autumn and did not find AEGEE there, her decision was clear: “I decided to bring it back!” And she is not alone: In November Contact Strasbourg was officially founded and already organized some local events.

Golden Times: When did you officially become a contact?
Teresa Geislinger: The official announcement was published on 12th November 2018! But after attending the Network Meeting in Angers and having a talk with Network Director Evrim, who was stopping by in Strasbourg in early November, I was already quite sure to get a positive notification soon after!

GT: So how did you get the idea of starting AEGEE in Strasbourg?
Teresa: When I knew that I was going to move to Strasbourg for Erasmus and looked for an AEGEE antenna, I was quite surprised that it had died in 2013! A European-minded city like Strasbourg without AEGEE seemed like a sad place to me and I was sure that I would really miss the AEGEE spirit there – so I decided to bring it back to Strasbourg!

Europe Café on Human Rights in December 2018

GT: Teresa, you have been in AEGEE before. How long have you been in AEGEE, how did you join AEGEE first?
Teresa: Yes, I became a member of AEGEE-Passau in October 2017 when I moved there for my Master. I went to the student association info day and was convinced by AEGEE right away. I was lucky to become a member of such a strong and long-standing antenna that made me discover this amazing network of dedicated people! I participated in quite some events – my first one was the New Year’s Event in Bucharest, then the Agora pre-event in Lublin and Agora Kraków, AEGEE-Napoli’s 25th Birthday, the WINE Summer University in Torino… I can’t get enough!

GT: Have other members been in AEGEE before as well?
Teresa: One of my fellow founding members, Asya Evloeva, is a member of AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg. Unfortunately she had to move away from Strasbourg for her internship. There were László and Balázs from AEGEE-Budapest living in Strasbourg for a while and at the moment there is Sabine from AEGEE-Groningen and Rosa from AEGEE-Leiden who are on Erasmus!

“Amor’s Social Drinks” on 14th February 2019

GT: How many members do you have in total? And what is the typical profile?
Teresa: Officially registered on the Online Membership System are 12 including me at the moment! We are all either students, interns or young professionals!

GT: How is it going for your Contact? After all, it’s not so easy to start a local from scratch…
Teresa: It really is everything but easy, but so rewarding at the same time! There are still some administrative issues to be solved, like updating the status and presidency at the Prefecture and finding out if the bank account still exists! But AEGEE is slowly becoming known in the city and getting new members, so I’m quite happy with how everything is going!

GT: What kind of activities have you organized so far in Strasbourg?
Teresa: Our first event was a Europe Café edition on Human Rights, of course in combination with a general presentation of AEGEE. We had a board game night, social drinks for Valentine’s Day, a campus info stand and a LinkedIn workshop. In the upcoming weeks we’ll have another Europe Café and a Regional Training Course-like event. After that I would like to introduce weekly meetings!

GT: Where did you look for members?
Teresa: I tried to recruit members with events – make them interested in a topic and then take the chance to tell them more about AEGEE. The campus info stand also worked quite well to catch people’s attention.

GT: What’s the main motivation for students in Strasbourg to join AEGEE?
Teresa: I guess they find the access to the large network quite interesting because other associations in Strasbourg do not offer that many events elsewhere on the European continent. Some of them want to improve their English by meeting other people and traveling.

GT: Strasbourg is a very international place. Does make it easier or harder to motivate members to join AEGEE?
Teresa: There is quite some competition with other very active associations, which offer parties and day trips for Erasmus and international students and who have a lot of experience with that. The problem with students who only stay for a couple of months is that they don’t want to get involved too much in anything.

GT: Does the university or other institutions support you and like the idea of AEGEE?
Teresa: I tried to talk to the University in November last year right after getting accepted as a Contact. Unfortunately that wasn’t very productive. But I am trying again and be more prepared this time! Otherwise, there is “Afges”, a federation of student associations that would be happy to have us.

Teresa at the Boomerang Area Meeting in Brussels in February

GT: There has been AEGEE before in Strasbourg. Did you try to find some of the old members?
Teresa: I got in contact with some former members, but unfortunately couldn’t get a lot of information since no one lives in Strasbourg anymore; there are no more documents for the bank account or the Prefecture for example.

GT: Will you come to the Agora in Bucharest – and maybe even sign the Convention d’Adhesion there?
Teresa (smiles): That’s my plan!

GT: What will be the first European event that you want to organise in your city with AEGEE?
Teresa: I think a Network Meeting would be realistic to start with! Let’s see how it goes!

GT: Do you have a message for the network?
Teresa: Can’t wait to see you at the Agora! And don’t hesitate to come visit us in Strasbourg or organize an exchange with your antenna!


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