Julia Fuß has a unique perspective on Europe. The new NetCom assistant and former president of AEGEE-Mannheim spent eight years living in the United States and Canada and came back home to our continent only a couple of years ago. “Now I feel it is time to travel all over Europe and get to know this diverse continent”, Julia told the Golden Times. In her new task as NetCom assistant she has the perfect chance to discover Europe and get to know many AEGEE antennae better. The Golden Times interviewed this rising AEGEE star.

Golden Times: Julia, congratulations to your task as Netcom assistant! What motivated you to apply for this task?
Julia Fuß: Thank you, I am very excited to start a new chapter in AEGEE. When my term as president of AEGEE Mannheim came to an end, I thought about the ways I could contribute more to AEGEE. Always being ready for new challenges, I decided to apply for the position of NetCom Assistant. After all, this allows me to work together with many awesome locals within our region, and connect my experiences at the local level while getting to know more about the European level at the same time.

Golden Times: What will you do in the NetCom exactly?
Julia: For now I just want to get to know how the NetCom team exactly functions and support the other Network Commissioners wherever I can. Within my own area, I plan to maintain close contact with the subcommissioners and especially be there for the boards. As we have a couple of smaller locals, it is important that the NetCom team is there to help them keep up the fun and motivation when times are tough and they might feel overwhelmed with some bureaucracy. In this sense, I would also like to highlight existing support structures AEGEE already offers, and encourage all locals to organize RTCs.

Golden Times: How did you join AEGEE? Is there an interesting story behind it?
Julia: A friend in my student residence was an AEGEE member and took me to the information session at the beginning of the semester. After a brief introduction, we usually have a quiz about AEGEE and Europe in general. Thankfully, my team was quite good at guessing the answers, so we competed individually for the main prize – which was free membership for one semester. The final question was „What is the average population density per km2 in Europe?“ As I had absolutely no clue what the answer could be, I just guessed 120 because 12 is my lucky number and won the free membership.

Golden Times: Nice story! You basically joined AEGEE when your antenna was busy organising the Agora. How did that feel, how do you remember this time?
Julia: The timing could not have been better. Even though I was not part of the organizing team, it was very inspiring to see how a core team of only 12 people can organize an event of such large scope! Seeing everyone come together from different antennae to make it happen was very impressive. I am thankful that I got to have a look behind the scenes of organizing an Agora as well as feel the great AEGEE spirit by taking part in it as a delegate. After all, you really need to experience an Agora in order to fully grasp what it is.

Golden Times: You are so hyperactive in an association that fosters European understanding and integration, although you actually spent most of your youth in America. Where exactly?
Julia: I lived in Washington D.C. for five years and in Ottawa, Canada, for three years.

Golden Times: How old were you when you left Europe? And how old when you came back?
Julia: I was 10 years old when I left Europe, and 18 years old when I came back to Germany for university.

Golden Times: How German or how European do you feel? And do you also feel a bit American or Canadian?
Julia: I feel both very European but also German at the same time. Getting to know more and more people from all over Europe, I also feel that my sense of what it means to be European is growing. Although I do not feel particularly American or Canadian, I was definitely influenced by the North American culture while growing up there.

Golden Times: How much did you actually know about Europe or follow European news while you were in America?
Julia: I tried to follow news from all over the world – including European news of course. When we still lived in America, we took our time to get to know USA and Canada. So when I came back to Germany for university, I had only little experience with Europe. But this changed dramatically in the past two years, thanks to AEGEE. Now I feel it is time to travel all over Europe and get to know this diverse continent.

Golden Times: You are studying political science. Why?
Julia: What fascinates me about politics is that we all have a voice and trying to understand how society is able to organize itself in order to achieve many great or not so great things. My special interest in the field of international relations was probably very much influenced by getting to know people from different cultures at an early age.

Golden Times: What made you decide to become President of your antenna?
Julia: Before becoming President, I was already involved in the work of our local board as internal responsible. Always looking for new challenges, I decided to run for President because I was ready to make new experiences and be able to learn from them.

Golden Times: And what are your best moments and achievements there?
Julia: Hard question, there were a lot of great moments. Thanks to a very dedicated PR, we were able to become more visible not only at our university and the local area, but within AEGEE as well. A great number of new members also joined our antenna within my term. One of my favorite moments was when we did not have enough chairs for everyone at our local meeting because the number of members attending was about twice as large as the amount of members that were usually present. Also, I think we achieved a lot in terms of strengthening structures and dividing tasks between everyone. This allowed us to organize an RTC, LTC, SU, excursion to a democracy forum, Fiesta Latina party and many other local events. Overall, I get most excited seeing others become passionate about something and getting one step closer to realizing their full potential.

Golden Times: A few words about your antenna. How many members do you have, how was the spirit after organsing the Agora?
Julia: I feel very proud to announce that AEGEE Mannheim has over 100 members now – 101 to be exact. It felt quite awesome to see AEGEEs largest event being organized in Mannheim in cooperation with the other locals in our Rhein-Neckar region. At the same time it was strange to see people you usually meet in foreign places sit in your lecture halls or bump into them at the local supermarket. The spirit afterwards was great! With so many helpers, a lot of new members had the chance to experience what an Agora is like at the same time. Having Agora Rhein-Neckar in Mannheim created a new spark among our members to become more involved in AEGEE. It also helped establish closer ties with the university, which turned out to be quite useful in organizing our summer university.

Golden Times: You were interviewed by the biggest German news agency recently for an article about students associations. This article was published in many newspapers. How come that you were interviewed?
Julia: I was contacted by a representative of the German news agency dpa, because they wanted to write an article about international student networks. When I asked them why they contacted us, I was told that they searched for international student organisations in Google and found us this way. An up-to-date Website and Facebook page is powerful in demonstrating that the antenna is active and worth a visit, so I encourage every local to work on their PR strategies.

Golden Times: Are you active on European level besides in the NetCom?
Julia: I will focus on my work in the Netcom team for now, but who knows what the next months will bring…

Golden Times: What will you work after your studies? What’s your dream job?
Julia: No clue yet, but definitely something international.

Golden Times: Do you have time for hobbies besides studying and AEGEE? I saw photos of you running a half marathon?
Julia: Yes, I enjoy running in my free time because it gives me a sense of freedom and is a nice counterbalance to my work at university and in AEGEE. Other than that I love to cook together with friends or relax by the water.

Golden Times: How enthusiastic are you about the football world cup? Are you watching most games?
Julia: In Germany the atmosphere during the world cup is electrifying, so I too become a football fan for this time. I love watching all these different countries compete and I am especially looking forward to watch some football games together with the participants of our summer university!

Golden Times: How would you describe yourself with five keywords?
Julia: Dedicated, spontaneous, worldly, open-minded, people-loving.