Former Network Commissioner Alexey Korostelev from AEGEE-Münster considers the Agora Bucuresti/Constanta in 2003 his favourite event. Here is why.

Golden Oldie: Why do you consider the spring Agora Bucuresti/Constanta 2003 your best event?

Alexey Korostelev: Many things just came together well. I was very enthusiastic, wanted to do more for the network. I liked the country very much, I like Romanian food and drinks. The moving from Bucuresti to Constanta was very well organised – and I met a lot of very nice people there.

Golden Oldie: How many people were there?

Alexey Korostelev: About 900 participants, I think.

Golden Oldie: Most participants went by a rented train from Bucuresti to Constanta. Were you on the train?

Alexey Korostelev: Yes, I was on this train. It was a great experience – a special AEGEE train. Nice way to see the country outside the capital. Surprise number one for me – a lot of Romanian villages near the Black Sea had mosques instead of churches. Surprise number two: for the first time in my life I have seen people in Europe living poorer than in Russia. And one experience I always remember: 900 people shouting “AEGEE” at the Constanta railway station.

Golden Oldie: Any other interesting things about your journey?

Alexey Korostelev: This was the first and only time I was a millionaire: for my 50 Euros I’ve got over 3 Million Lei.

Golden Oldie: You expected the event to take place in Bucharest. How did you react when you hear the location was changed?

Alexey Korostelev: I heard about it about a week before the event and was ready for bad surprises. But I was surprised in an opposite way – how smoothly the event has been transferred.

Golden Oldie: Can you share other special moments or anecdote of the event?

Alexey Korostelev: On the first day in Bucuresti, Roel Visser and me were looking for some lunch. We found a small family cafe serving mamaliga, a kind of polenta, and mititei, which are meat balls. It was cheap and tasty food. Coming back to the hostel we told everybody about the place, and the owner enjoyed about 20 to 30 AEGEE people having lunch there during the next two days. It was the event of the year for the local people.

Golden Oldie: What were the strong and the weak points of the organisation?

Alexey Korostelev: Lodging was in a one-star hotel, but it was ok. Good parties, also with national music. Good organisation, transport, food. The weakest point: the security at the last party: several personal things got stolen.

Golden Oldie: Agora means long plenaries and workshops, long discussions. How do you remember it?

Alexey Korostelev: It was the first time I candidated for the European level, for the NetCom, to be precise. It was my first speech in front of the plenary.

Golden Oldie: Were you very active in AEGEE at that time?

Alexey Korostelev: I was an active Subcommie in the NetCom and member of Visa Freedom Fighters, so I took part in their workshops. Plus, as I said, I joined the NetCom at this Agora.

Golden Oldie: Was it your first time in that part of Europe? Did you ever go to Romania again?

Alexey Korostelev: This was my first time in Romania. I never had a chance to visit it later, or to visit other cities of the country, since the post-event was cancelled. But after the Agora I took part in the Diplomatic Seminar in Bucuresti for five more days.

Golden Oldie: How many events did you visit in total?

Alexey Korostelev: Oh, hard to count. I went to all Agoras between 2002 and 2008 except Athens, Izmir and Leiden. I visited several PMs and EBMs, including Cagliari, Aachen and Wroclaw, 3 Regional Meetings in Eindhoven, Münster and Tilburg, AEGEE 20 in Prague, conferences in Moscow, Ljubljana, Prague, Amsterdam, Paris, Utrecht, Osnabrück, Thessaloniki, fun events in Cagliari, Riga, Köln, Maastricht, Erlangen, Heidelberg, Kraków. Numerous local events in Netherlands. I am sure the list is actually much bigger. However, I’ve never been to any Summer University!