This weekend AEGEE’s spring Agora 2021 will take place online. The GT sent interview questions to all CD candidates. Four of them replied. Here are the answers by CD candidate Freddie Ryan from AEGEE-Alicante, running for Financial Director. While Freddie wants to leave his programme to the official channels, he gave us an insight in his AEGEE path, how he almost turned AEGEE-Alicante into a hiking association, and his love for chocolate.

Baby Fred

Golden Times: How would you describe yourself in five keywords?
Freddie Ryan: Curious, easy going, open minded, grateful and joyful.

How did you join AEGEE exactly? How did you find out about it?
Out of the blue I saw an announcement on the cloud at my university in Alicante that promoted cheap travel and unique experiences. This session happened to be in the same building where I was doing an exam that one day with just a gap of 30 minutes between them so I thought it was worth giving it a chance. I was convinced instantly, and I have to say that decision was fundamental for making the most of my entire university life. I think the last three and so years would have been much more boring if I hadn’t decided to join.

What was your first task in AEGEE in general and what was your first position in the local board?
When I was in my Summer University in Berlin in 2018 I got an email saying there was an Open Call for organisers of the Buddy Program. I didn’t even really know what it was about, but I was having such a blast that I didn’t want the experience to finish after the two weeks. Little did I know that I would be coordinating the project almost instantly after landing back in Alicante. After coordinating this project for a year, I joined the board as Human Resources with the focus of advising the new project team and recruiting new members as up to 250 local students are involved in it each semester and I had loads of ideas of how to do this.

That famous SU in Berlin that made Freddie so active

What was your favourite event as organiser – and why is it your favourite?
I have to go with the Summer University in Alicante back in 2019. I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t wait to repeat again so I decided to become main organiser the following year. Although this didn’t happen in the end I look forward to when we organise it again in Alicante in the future.

What’s the typical food and drink you bring to European Nights?
In each event it is a different surprise… I can turn up in the Spanish table with the sangria, chorizo and the turrón from Alicante, but at the same time I can represent the Irish table with Baileys Irish Cream and Guinness which you won’t see that often and that makes it that little extra special. Lastly, Ireland is not that known for food, but I did bring once Irish Christmas cake and this was in August, as we start baking well before the actual holiday… [laughing]

Freddie in Utrecht

There is a classic typology of AEGEE members, dividing them according to the three aspects fun member, career member and idealist – to which percentage are you which of these aspects?
I am sure this has certainly varied with time but right now I would go with 30% fun member, 30% career member and 40% idealist.

Moving to Brussels means also a lot of cooking. Do you like cooking and if yes, what’s your favourite dish you like to cook?
My favorite dish and day-to-day survival food is couscous. Quick to make, delicious while also being nice and healthy. It is also easy to batch cook, and there would always be plenty of it wherever I am!

What’s never missing in your fridge?
My guilty pleasure is most certainly a square bar of chocolate Valor. It is made very near to my home, and it is a must after dinner. But I have heard that Belgium chocolate is not bad either so I don’t think I would need to bring too much with me to Brussels.

What other hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
I am a huge fan of hiking and I have recently also taken up rock climbing. Alicante is known for its beaches, but it’s amazing the number of relatively unknown mountains it has, each weekend I try to discover a new route. Fun fact: At one stage I was organising so many hikes with AEGEE-Alicante that some Erasmus students would end up asking me if AEGEE was a hiking association. My answer was not yet! [laughing]

For Freddie Ryan the only way is up!

How did you spend your time during the pandemic?
Doing a lot of yoga! Luckily I live in the middle of nowhere, so it was nice to do this out in the garden to get some fresh air while stretching the legs.

What do you study – and why?
I am weeks away from completing my degree in Economics and the reason why I pursued this field of study I reckon would be my inner entrepreneurial sense. In addition to the fact that this would help me contribute with what I learned into the family business.

What’s your dream job?
Ideally I see myself being self-employed. The penny hasn’t dropped with the one million dollar business idea yet but I do have some thoughts for the future.

Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
I have been persuaded by close friends of mine to do so, but to be honest it isn’t something that I plan to do right now. Although never say never!

What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
My favorite city in the world is definitely Essaouira in Morocco. I have traveled around a great part of the country, and although I fell in love with so many cities there, this is one of the hidden gems of the North of Africa.

If you could take one AEGEE member to a desert island, who would it be? And why?
As I can’t make up my mind, I will go with the entire board of AEGEE-Alicante 2020-2021 as we did a great job in the last months and we will definitely deserve a celebration once our term is finished! So there goes a shoutout for Alejandro, Andrea, Laura and Tania.

AEGEE-Alicante is family for Freddie – here is the board of 2020-21

What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Seeing the burn-out feeling that some members experience.

Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
…the best decision that 18 year me could have ever made.

Check out Teddy’s candidature online.