Couchsurfing is becoming incredible popular in Europe. You need a place to stay? You want to offer a place for a friendly traveller, and everything for free? That’s couchsurfing. So what could be better than offer couchsurfing in AEGEE, an organisation which is built on mutual friendship ad openness? That’s the idea that Krzysztof Ignaciuk from AEGEE-Poznań had in mind, when he created an AEGEE Couchsurfing group in the end of July. He told the Golden Oldie about his motivation.

Golden Oldie: Krzysztof, you are founder of an AEGEE couchsurfing group on Facebook which is rapidly growing and has already almost 1000 members. Can you explain to our readers what couchsurfing is?

Krzysztof Ignaciuk: Couchsurfing is about mutual hospitality. I hate to use a cliché, but it’s about giving and receiving at the same time, be it while hosting or being hosted. I believe it’s far more than just putting up people for a night.

Golden Oldie: Can you tell us a few words about yourself?

Krzysztof: I’m 21 and I study ethnolinguistics in Poznań. Frankly, I’m not very experienced with AEGEE. I’ve taken part in 4 or 5 events since 2009. I’m far more involved in the European Youth Parliament (EYP) – it was and still is my first youth organisation, sorry AEGEE! Apart from EYP, in my free time I occupy myself with writing pointlessly long answers, playing the guitar, immersing myself in black, politically incorrect humour and discovering other means of blissful procrastination.

Golden Oldie: How did you react when you heard about couchsurfing for the first time? Did you think this is weird or did you immediately think it’s something great?

Krzysztof: My reaction was very much positive, I embraced the idea from the very beginning.

Golden Oldie: Have you done couchsurfing yourself? And did you also host other couchsurfers?

Krzysztof: Yes, I have, but only recently and I’m not a very experienced couchsurfer yet. I also had couchsurfing guests at my place in Poland. Last time, those were two Estonians hitch-hiking from Germany to their home country. They didn’t have to do anything, they just asked if I could host them, that’s all.

Golden Oldie: Now you want to introduce couchsurfing to present and former AEGEE members. What’s your motivation for that?

Krzysztof: I’m quite sure that some of AEGEE members are familiar with couchsurfing. I didn’t have any particular motivation, I just had a brainwave, that’s all there is to it. It may be that nobody from AEGEE thought about it before I did, but I don’t consider it particularly creative or innovative.

Golden Oldie: When you made your Facebook group on AEGEE Couchsurfing, how did people react?

Krzysztof: Everyone was very enthusiastic; there was only one person who, as an experienced couchsurfer, was sceptical and not convinced of the added value that AEGEE Couchsurfing brings, but in the end he also admitted that the group seemed to have grown popular. One can still argue about what AEGEE Couchsurfing actually brings, but if we can have both, why not have both? I agree that original Couchsurfing is reliable, but if its AEGEE counterpart appears as a more trustworthy community then I think the group serves its purpose.

Golden Oldie: Have you already got some couchsurfing offers or requests in the group?

Krzysztof: The moment I’m replying to this question – four days after I set up the group – we have 100 people offering a sleeping place in more than in 60 cities. If somebody feels like offering, all they have to do is to put their city and name on the list.

Golden Oldie: What should people do who want to either offer or request couchsurfing with AEGEE? How can they join the group?

Krzysztof: It’s simple, just find the group on Facebook and request joining. One of the administrators will just verify if you really have AEGEE background by checking mutual friends and the number of people you know who are already in the group.

Golden Oldie: Anything you want to add?

Krzysztof: I would like to thank people who help me as admins, without them the group would not have become any successful. These are Lavinia, Michał, Patrick and Perçin – thanks! Other than that, I wish you all enjoying yourselves while surfing each other’s couches!