Golden Oldie: When and where were you born?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Hilvarenbeek, the Netherlands, 11 June 1972

Golden Oldie: Where and what did you study?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands.

Golden Oldie: When did you join AEGEE and how?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I joined in the summer of 1991 because I heard good stories about it from Stephan van Uijtregt. I joined AEGEE-Eindhoven’s 1991 September “boot camp”, went to “Rhine and Dine” in Koblenz, and the rest is history.

Golden Oldie: Are you still member? If yes, of which antenna?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Yes, I am. AEGEE-Eindhoven, although at this point I am more of a silent sponsor, I suppose.

Golden Oldie: You are best known for being president of AEGEE-Eindhoven. How did you end up doing that?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I wanted to put my studies on the backburner for a year to focus on something else and I had already been involved in several working groups in AEGEE-Eindhoven before. So, for me it was a logical next step to become a member of the Eindhoven board.

Golden Oldie: What where the biggest challenges and rewards of these tasks?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I really enjoyed working with Jeroen, Hedwig, Inge and Jelco. We had a good group and very often all of us could be found together in our local pub at our weekly ‘borrel’ – after the board meeting of course – or somewhere in Europe. The main challenge during our year was to have new people join; most of the existing members were getting close to graduation and we needed to keep the momentum going. We had a lot of fun trying to think of things to attract new people and get them to visit events everywhere.

Golden Oldie: Did people appreciate the work?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I hope and believe they did.

Golden Oldie: What was your favourite AEGEE event?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Easy one. The Presidents Meeting in Eindhoven of course. That’s when my wife and I first hooked up. Other than that, I think it was a great event with a great crowd.

Golden Oldie: What other great moments did you experience?

Dirk van Gisbergen: There were other great things too. I got to go to places where I would never have gone without AEGEE. In particular: I met some people from Skopje at the Agora in 1994 and ended up spending six weeks with them in Macedonia that summer. I am still in contact with one of them. This is also how I got in touch with Igor Kos, another oldie.

Golden Oldie: What were your worst moments in AEGEE?

Dirk van Gisbergen: We were in Skopje for a conference a few weeks after the President’s meeting. One night, a number of people got into a car accident and one of them died.

Golden Oldie: Any things you regret that you haven’t done them in AEGEE?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Not really. The only thing I can say – in retrospect – is that I should have gone to more and different places. But, obviously money is a limiting factor when you’re a student.

Golden Oldie: Did AEGEE influence your career decision?

Dirk van Gisbergen: No, it did not. That said, I do think AEGEE improved my understanding of and appreciation for the different ways of life we have in Europe and in the world. I have been working in multicultural environments ever since I graduated and do like to think that AEGEE has contributed to make me successful in that.

Golden Oldie: How would your life be if you hadn’t known AEGEE?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I’d be sleeping under bridges and begging passers-by for money all day long.

Golden Oldie: In your opinion, has AEGEE changed since you became member? In what way?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I do not really know. I tend to say: less hitchhiking, more Ryanair, but essentially not too much changed. I hope that’s true. I also hope that today’s students see the value of joining an organisation like AEGEE to broaden their horizons in more ways than one. Life is short; you might as well enjoy it.

Golden Oldie: What are you doing now as main occupation?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I am an independent IT project manager working in the US for a Japanese shipping company.

Golden Oldie: Are you single/married/married with 5 children?

Dirk van Gisbergen: None of the above. Married with no children.

Golden Oldie: Which languages do you speak?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Dutch, English, French – although that’s probably getting rusty by now – and German, even more rusty.

Golden Oldie: Where do you live now?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Hoboken, New Jersey, right across the Hudson river from New York City. I am looking at the Manhattan skyline as I am typing this. Snow is falling, but it’s still awesome. I never get tired of this view.

Golden Oldie: What do you like/dislike about your city?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I think New York City is the greatest place in the world. It has everything you can think of: culture, nightlife, architecture, fantastic food, etc. We have a couple of good friends here and enjoy our spare time a lot. On the flip side, you can also see the painful gap between rich and poor in places like New York. 1 out of 8 New Yorkers depends on food stamps or other forms of aid to get by, which is quite sad.

Golden Oldie: What are your best and least liked cities?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Best: New York. Least: Albany.

Golden Oldie: What is the furthest place you ever went to?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Seattle, San Fransisco or Bangkok. Not sure which one is furthest. Depends on the reference point, too.

Golden Oldie: Which country would you like to visit in the near future?

Dirk van Gisbergen: I have been away from Europe for nearly five years. I would really like to go back to Italy and experience some dolce vita.

Golden Oldie: What are your hobbies?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Reading, 80’s music on vinyl and scuba diving.

Golden Oldie: What’s never missing in your fridge?

Dirk van Gisbergen: A few nice beers, some mineral water and milk.

Golden Oldie: How would you describe yourself in five keywords?

Dirk van Gisbergen: Need To Go To Work.