He joined AEGEE-Zagreb because he heard of free trips to Europe. Knowing the truth did not stop Marko Grdošić from becoming president of the antenna. At the Agora in Alicante he was elected CD member. “My mum started to cry at home, watching the live streaming,” Marko told the Golden Oldie exclusively. From September the European Institutions, fundraising and PR will be in his versatile hands. Being also a former AIESEC member, Marko Grdošić explained the Golden Oldie where AEGEE is better and what AEGEE can learn from AIESEC.


Golden Oldie: Marko, tell us a few words about yourself. How old are you, where do you come from, what do you study?

Marko Grdošić: Hey there! My name is Marko, coming from Croatia. I lived in a small town called Karlovac until the age of 18 and moved to Zagreb to study. I’ve finished there my degree in business administration, accounting and audit. After that I moved to Sweden to do my Master in Economic development. I’m 23.


Golden Oldie: Why did you chose Sweden for your Master in Stockholm?

Marko Grdošić: Why Sweden is a question I often get and I never know how to answer. I always appreciated this country for several reasons and the school was good, the scholarship also.


Golden Oldie: What do you like and dislike about Sweden compared with your home country Croatia?

Marko Grdošić: What I kind of learned from living in Stockholm is to always come on time! Punctuality is something Swedes appreciate a lot. The huge difference here is the way everything works perfectly, the metro comes on time, the politicians are not corrupted, studying makes more sense. When it comes to dislikes – that would definitely be the coldest weather ever, higher prices then my mum’s credit card can hold and cold people. It took me quite a time to make true blond friends.


Golden Oldie: How well do you know your future home Belgium already?

Marko Grdošić: I’ve been to Brussels several times, but the rest of Belgium I haven’t explored so far.


Golden Oldie: How do you like Brussels?

Marko Grdošić: Brussels is nice, the weather is so-so. Maybe it’s a bit too multicultural for my taste, but cheap kebab is definitely something I’ll appreciate in the next year. Beer is not on the list of my priorities, but waffles, french fries and French language are for sure!


Golden Oldie: You joined AEGEE-Zagreb four years ago. How did you join?

Marko Grdošić: It was late afternoon, I had a coffee with a good friend of mine. She told me about this association that offers free trips around Europe for students and we should join them tonight, because it’s the deadline to apply for some free summer schools. We went to the bar where the social meeting was held, found the people there pretty weird and didn’t know whether we should talk with them. In the end we did, I went to the Summer University of AEGEE-Magusa – and the rest is history.


Golden Oldie: You were really active in your antenna in a short time: president of AEGEE-Zagreb for two years, organiser of a lot of events. What were your biggest challenges and best moments so far?

Marko Grdošić: The biggest challenge was definitely to take over AEGEE-Zagreb with no knowledge, no experience and no active members. We got stronger and the local works very well at the moment, but it will always be hard to achieve a lot as long as people think that our name means „Croatian Railways“! What really makes me happy is seeing happy and satisfied participants, knowing you’ve done a good job. And what makes me really happy and proud is following the work my successors in Zagreb are doing. They are achieving great things, things that never came to my mind.


Golden Oldie: You were also active in AIESEC Zagreb, associated to corporate relations. How is the AIESEC spirit and organisation, compared to AEGEE?

Marko Grdošić: My AIESEC period was very energetic and I learned a lot. The spirit they have is really good, but sometimes it gets too intense and their heads have too much of elitism, which I never liked.


Golden Oldie: What can AEGEE learn from AIESEC?

Marko Grdošić: Their huge advantage is the identity, coming from a very clear mission and vision, easily described work and goals, points which we are missing. What always amused me was their recruitment process for fresh members and the way they make all of them become active in order to keep their members status. Of course it’s much easier to act like that when you’re not charging membership fee, but still I’m sure we could focus on that point, finding ways how to pursue fresh members to become active on local level, and don’t use AEGEE for Summer Universities only.


Golden Oldie: 30th of April, 8.15 pm. The announcement of the election results in Alicante. How did you feel in that moment in time?

Marko Grdošić: Huuuuge relief. Seeing my name on the wall made me drop the head on the knees. Balkan girls were jumping around me and it took a few seconds for me to join them. And my mum started to cry at home, watching the live streaming.



Golden Oldie: Did you expect to be elected?

Marko Grdošić: Well, I hoped, and a lot of people gave me support and were there with me, so I felt pretty good. However, a few days before the Agora I prepared mentally for both cases, so I wouldn’t have got too disappointed in case I hadn’t got through.



Golden Oldie: Among the CD candidates, several had similar preferences. Is it already decided what you will actually?

Marko Grdošić: We already had a meeting discussing it and I’m sure that we came to the best possible solution. My tasks will consist of the European Institutions for the general AEGEE purpose, fundraising and PR.



Golden Oldie: On European AEGEE level, you were in the Audit Commission and the IPWG. What qualifies you for European Institutions and fundraising?

Marko Grdošić: I always had good relations with numbers, studied finances, audit, so the Audit Commission was a logical way. Out of this year I wish to gain new knowledge and experience. That’s why I didn’t wish to go for Financial Director. Both European Institutions and fundraising have in a way a lot to do with numbers. I worked in these fields on local level, during my AIESEC period and on the European level projects I was involved with in AEGEE.


Golden Oldie: Regarding fund-raising you said that that the current rate of use of available funds in AEGEE is not high. Creating more projects could raise the competition and hopefully the quality. Do you think AEGEE could make actually more projects?

Marko Grdošić: We’ve seen already during the Agora in Alicante that the three candidates for Flagship project were really good. Besides the elected one, I also truly believe in the two of them that were not elected and it seems like they can achieve a lot. Besides them we should find a way how to motivate members and locals to create other projects. Youth exchanges are nice, but often don’t create a higher value. There are plenty of creative youngsters in AEGEE. Projects are something we should be recognised about, and besides fundraising for them, they will give us the base for the broader fundraising, especially private one.


Golden Oldie: You also want to teach AEGEE members application writing for funds at Network Meetings. How will that work?

Marko Grdošić: My general idea wasn’t jumping around Europe and holding workshops. I had in mind creating a platform of knowledge, maybe a kind of manual. There is also the Fundraising Working Group which I would like to develop and actually discuss all of this with them. This group can give a big feedback to all the locals, give them support and knowledge they need. Of course there are workshops at the Network Meetingss, Local Training Courses and statutory events.


Golden Oldie: What do you want to achieve concretely in one year?

Marko Grdošić: Visual identity is something that has been dragged for a while now. For me AEGEE is still pretty diluted, things we do are too broad and not even active members are sometimes capable to explain what AEGEE really is. Visual identity is not just a logo, colours and social networks, it’s all of this. Having all of this clear will give us way more opportunities for recruiting new members, for better fundraising, especially talking about private companies. There are more things but it’s hard to think about them from this position. I know that stepping into that house and getting more into it will create a mind explosion. One other goal I have is to make the house looking better than ever. I’m a bit of cleaning and arranging psycho!


Golden Oldie: How does it feel to be CD member-in-waiting? Are you already impatient to start?

Marko Grdošić: As the last exam in Sweden is done, it feels amazing. All my thoughts are in Brussels and I can’t wait for the end of July to come. It feels so good to think what we’ll be able to achieve, and how hard we’ll work to make difference in our AEGEE and in our Europe.


Golden Oldie: Finally, a bunch of personal questions. How do you want to manage a good work-life balance in the CD?

Marko Grdošić: The most important thing is not to get stuck in the house for a week. There should always be some activities to make you freshen up your body and brain. And we already have plenty of ideas for that. I volunteer for dancing lessons in the social room once a week.


Golden Oldie: What are your hobbies?

Marko Grdošić: I’m not sure what I can actually call a hobby. I love to travel but that’s something we all love. I love reading books, listening to Swedish schlager songs. I was a professional dancer for ten years and from time to time I have to have some dancing hours.

Golden Oldie: What do you want to do after finishing AEGEE?

Marko Grdošić: No idea! Part of me wishes to go back to Croatia for a while, part of me wishes to stay abroad. In any case I have to start working and see how it feels to earn my own money.


Golden Oldie: As a child, what did you dream to be your future job after growing up?

Marko Grdošić: Singer.


Golden Oldie: What are you most afraid of?

Marko Grdošić: Snakes, loneliness, failing, disappointment.


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

Marko Grdošić: Frozen chicken and ice cream.


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

Marko Grdošić: Weird, entertaining, happy, charismatic, enjoying life.