The CD 2010-2011 - from left to right: Alfredo Sellitti, Alla Resheten, Mirosław Krzanik, Manos Valasis, Miroslava Ganzarcikova, Thomas Leszke, Anna Petrova and Michael Makowiecki.

Talkative, hyperactive, energetic and AEGEE-addicted: that’s how Miroslava “Mirka” Ganzarcikova describes herself. In facr, these are perfect qualifications to become involved in the world of AEGEE trainings. The former economics and business management student from Bratislava took exactly this path and became human resources officer in the CD of 2010/11. In the third interview in the Golden Oldie with the members of the European board of AEGEE of the period, Miroslava looks back on her year in the CD and allows a glimpse on her new life. Miroslava is still involved in trainings – even in a double sense: as board member of the AEGEE Academy and by working for an international recruitment event company in Brussels.


Golden Oldie: Where do you live right now?

Miroslava Ganzarcikova: I still live in Brussels, our lovely, grey and rainy city.


1st September 2010 - the first day of the CD 2010/11.

Golden Oldie: What are you doing now?

Miroslava: I’m working for an international recruitment event company here in Brussels. Currently I’m working on a big project for BP called “Future Leaders Programme” and I’m getting deeper into the world of HR management on the international level.


Golden Oldie: What are you most proud of regarding your work in the CD?

Miroslava (laughing): I’m proud that I survived one year in the CD house. But seriously; our CD was trying hard to make changes and improve things in AEGEE and even that we didn’t manage to implement all the things we wanted, we started a lot of reforms and if nothing else, at least we showed people that there is a need for a change in AEGEE. Personally, I was trying to work on the improvement of the AEGEE Academy, you can already see some reforms happening now, the establishment of the HR committee, which was done just recently, and also I’m happy with the work I did within the Informal Forum of International Student Organisations (IFISO) and improved or established partnerships among us and other student NGOs. For us as a team, I think one of the achievements to be proud of, was that we managed to attract and encourage more people to the European level and we also showed the network that the CD is not just a European body that administrates AEGEE, but that the CD can be also a strong team that is striving for a change.


Mirka as chef in the CD.

Golden Oldie: What was your best personal memory about your term in the CD?

Miroslava: Oh, I have tons of amazing memories from our CD term. There were just too many of them – all our common dinners in the kitchen, our garden parties, our little family parties when one of us had birthday; even the memory of our never-ending CD meetings and discussions makes me smile now. And one of my best personal memories would be definitely “arrivals back to the house after the trip” – when I came home tired and exhausted and first thing I saw when I entered the office were smiling faces of my family and a big welcome hug from Thomas and the rest of the team. In that moment it just felt great to be back home after a long trip.


Golden Oldie: What was your worst experience of that year?

Miroslava: Well, there were of course quite a lot of bad moments. Very often we were under pressure and a lot of stress and we were working hard, day and night, we were trying to do something meaningful, but when we saw that our members don’t have time for AEGEE and they don’t fulfil their duties, it felt a bit demotivating sometimes. During the year, all of us went through some personal, working or AEGEE troubles, but what made us strong was that we were always there for each other and supporting each other. So even when I look back to the worst moments, I still have to remember my team that was supporting me from the very beginning to the very end – actually till today – and this makes this memory sweet and not bitter.


Mirka helps Alma and Yvonne.

Golden Oldie: CD means also intercultural experience. What habit, custom or attitude did you learn from others, what did they learn from you?

Miroslava (smiling): First thing that came to my mind is – spicy food. Our guys loved to cook spicy food and our girls didn’t really appreciate it that much. But I guess that during the year, they learnt how to cook less spicy – apart from Thomas – and we learnt how to survive spicy dinner. Also, I was the only person who doesn’t eat meat. I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t eat red meat, so guys learnt how to make nice food out of vegetables, chicken or fish, instead of steaks or meatballs – which wasn’t that easy, as we had a lot of big guys and meat lovers in our team.


Golden Oldie: What was your favourite meal in the CD house? And who was the best cook?

Miroslava (smiling): For me the best cook was Michi – he always tried to cook something nice, extraordinary and special. In general, I have to admit that all our guys were great cooks – much better than girls. But on the other hand, we girls knew how to change a light bulb or repair the floor in the corridor.


Mirka and Guillermo García Tabarés

Golden Oldie: Who was the heart or good soul of the CD?

Miroslava: We were an amazing team of eight different personalities and we managed to create a family out of a team. Both in the good times and in the bad times, we always stayed together, helping each other if it was needed. Surviving the bad times made us stronger, enjoying the good times made us closer. For me, an important person was Thomas, as we didn’t share only one room together, but we also shared all our problems and thoughts and he was my biggest support in tough times. Michi was my partner during our “Discover Brussels” quests and he was a great person for discussions about everything from politics to laws of nature. And of course Manos, who always stepped in when he saw that someone is on the edge and needs help and support.


Golden Oldie: Did the year in Brussels change you?

Miroslava: Yes. It did change me. On the one hand, it made me stronger; on the other hand, I have to say that it made me a bit more bitter, sceptic and more realistic. But I gained amazing friends, I learnt a lot and I had this amazing chance to spent one year in the house full of crazy people, working nonstop 24/7, living together, crying, laughing, enjoying life and fighting for something that we believe in.


Golden Oldie: How hard was it to adjust to “normal” life?

Miroslava: It was actually easier than I thought. I started to work immediately after the end of our term and I was so busy focusing on my new job that the change happened just naturally. Of course that I miss all our people so much, but we are in touch almost every day, we talk online or on the phone, we even send postcards to each other. And we are also meeting from time to time, so it’s actually not that bad. Europe is just too small for us.


Special friendship - Mirka and Thomas Leszke.

Golden Oldie: Are you still involved in AEGEE?

Miroslava (smiling): Yes, apparently it’s not so easy to just quite AEGEE. I spent one year trying to improve the AEGEE Academy, so now I decided to join the board and finish with all the reforms and changes that we have started in last couple of months. I will also try to be an active trainer at our internal training events – as much as my work will allow me.


Golden Oldie: When will you retire from AEGEE and join Les Anciens?

Miroslava: Not so soon, hopefully. Give me some more years in AEGEE and when I’ll feel that my job in here is done, I will gladly join Les Anciens.


Golden Oldie: Unfortunately you couldn’t come to the autumn Agora. Will you be at the Agoras in Enschede?

Miroslava: Unfortunately, I didn´t manage to come to Skopje, as I was not able to take so many days off from my work, but I will definitely come to Enschede, as it’s just around the corner.


Golden Oldie: If you could give your CD team a grade from 1 (very bad) to 10 (excellent) what would that be?

Miroslava: As I mentioned already, there were good times, there were bad times. Now when I look back, I can remember only the good times and I think that once I will be telling my grandchildren about this life experience with the smile on my face. I would give us 10 for sure, because we came, we tried and we didn’t give up. And because we love each other like a real family.


Read also these interviews: