The 2nd of July 1988 marked a turning point in AEGEE’s history. At this day, the very first Summer University took place – it was a Dutch language course organized by AEGEE-Amsterdam. The title of the event: “Amsterdam, cultural melting pot of Europe”.

Altogether ten courses took place in the premier year of AEGEE’s signature project. These were the courses at one glance:

  • 3-16 July 1988, Orleans: French language
  • 3-17 July 1988, Barcelona: Spanish and Catalan language
  • 4-15 July 1988, Milan: Italian language
  • 4-15 July 1988, Heidelberg: German language
  • 8-21 July 1988, Kiel: German language
  • 10-24 July 1988, Paris: French language
  • 17-31 July 1988, Sevilla: Spanish language
  • 18 July – 2 August 1988, Madrid: Spanish language
  • 1-15 August 1988, Toulouse: French language

The Golden Times asked Jeroen Hoogerwerf, Honorary Member of AEGEE-Europe and in 1988 President of AEGEE-Amsterdam, about his memories of the very first Summer University.

Jeroen Hoogerwerf in 1990.

GT: Jeroen, how important was organising one of the first SUs for your antenna?
Jeroen Hoogerwerf: We were asked by the first coordinator of the Summer University project, Daisy Kopmels, to have a Dutch language course. She came from AEGEE-Amsterdam, and we thought it was a very good idea.

GT: Making an SU was quite different from the classic short conference, a new direction for AEGEE. Did everyone in your antenna like the idea?
Jeroen: We did not see it as a leisure-oriented event, but more in line with exchange of culture and languages, fitting the goals and idea of AEGEE.

GT: You offered 35 places. But only 15 people came. was the topic Dutch language not attractive? Or did you reject many people?
Jeroen: No people were rejected. But it was the first course. So I think we only had 15 applicants. In any case we were happy: 15 students came to get some knowledge of Dutch, which is not an easy language to learn.

The cover of the SU booklet of 1988.

GT: You offered a Dutch language course for beginner and intermediate. Did both levels take place?
Jeroen: As far as I know only the beginner level took place.

GT: Was it hard to find accommodation or to make a programme?
Jeroen: All people were accommodated at student houses. As it was summer holidays, local organizers had the keys to student rooms from other members. Also the programme was made easily. There is a lot of Dutch culture in Amsterdam.

GT: Who were the language teachers?
Jeroen: We worked with NT2-teachers, meaning “Nederlands als tweede taal” – Dutch as second language. They were professional teachers from the University.

GT: What about the social part? How were the parties?
Jeroen: Of course we had a big social part. For example, we had BBQs, parties and went to famous discos.

You can download the first SU booklet here.