She is the speaker of the Network Commission, founder of AEGEE-Sheffield – and now also candidate for the Comité Directeur: Oksana Prokopchenko. Her original motivation for joining AEGEE was to go to Paris and improve her French. Well, if she gets elected at the upcoming Agora in Bucharest, she will speak French on a daily basis – not in Paris, but by living in the headoffice in Europe’s capital Brussels.

Golden Times: Do you usually read candidate interviews in the Golden Times or AEGEEan Magazine?
Oksana Prokopchenko: Of course! That’s the best opportunity to find out more about candidates and their ideas.

GT: How did you join AEGEE?
Oksana: It was long time ago, when I was a student in Kyiv, trying to find any way to go to France and improve my French. At one of the language exchange meetings, a guy told me about AEGEE and showed me a map of Summer Universities, which impressed me so much that I signed up immediately! In the end, unfortunately I wasn’t accepted to my dream SU in Paris back in 2012, but instead went on an SU with European School in Patra – and that’s when I really fell in love with AEGEE.

GT: How long did it take you from the first moment until you signed the membership form and joined AEGEE?
Oksana: I think it was just a few weeks until the next meeting for newbies in AEGEE-Kyiv, where I became an official member.

Oksana in Brussels? That might soon be reality.

GT: What’s the typical drink & food you bring to European Nights?
Oksana: It largely depends on which country I represent. Normally a cranberry liqueur for Ukraine and gin&tonic for the UK. As for food, if there is a kitchen on the venue, I really like to cook something Ukrainian, such as varenyky – our typical dumplings.

GT: At an AEGEE party where will we find you? On the dancefloor? Talking at the bar?
Oksana: Constantly rotating between both spots.

GT: What was your first position in the local board?
Oksana: After coming back from my first SU, I became an HR responsible in AEGEE-Kyiv.

GT: What was your favourite event as organiser – and why is it your favourite?
Oksana: I think my favourite ones were events organised by AEGEE-Sheffield together with AEGEE-Manchester and AEGEE-London – the Brexit conference in 2017 and the SU “505 Unknown pleasures of Britain” in 2018. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be physically present at the SU, but worked the whole time in preparation. My teammates were simply the best, very reliable, organised and full of ideas. Moreover, it felt great to make history by organising events in the UK, which doesn’t happen so often.

Oksana is currently NetCom speaker – here a photo with her first team.

GT: What was your first Agora and how did you feel there? Happy, excited, overwhelmed, lost?
Oksana: My first one was Agora Rhein-Neckar in 2013, which took place in Mannheim, and I went directly as a delegate of AEGEE-Kyiv. It was overwhelming indeed, but also definitely exciting, especially the voting part. I remember that overall I slept so little that on the way back we collapsed in a train and almost missed our stop…

GT: Do you like cooking and what’s your favourite dish you like to cook?
Oksana: I do! Particularly I enjoy baking, but always need a special inspiration for that.

GT: What do your parents think about the idea that you are so active in AEGEE and even want to move to Brussels?
Oksana: Luckily, my parents are very supportive, especially about things I’m passionate about. Although I do think they are a bit confused about what I’m actually doing here…

GT: In a typology of members there are the three aspects fun member, career member and idealist – to which percentage are you which of these aspects?
Oksana: Mostly an idealist for sure, with a bit of a fun member type. I think I am too clueless about my career now to qualify as a career member.

GT: Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
Oksana: Not at the moment, although the shocking results of the last Ukrainian presidential elections did make me think more about politics in general.

Oksana founded AEGEE-Sheffield

GT: What do you study – and why?
Oksana: I have recently graduated from a joint Masters Course “Crossways in Cultural Narratives”, specialising in French Literature. Studying literature was very enriching as an experience overall, and hopefully made me a better person, even if not as valuable on a job market. [laughing]

GT: What’s your dream job?
Oksana: My dream job is the one where I am my own boss.

GT: What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
Oksana: London is where my heart is.

GT: And where would you really like to go?
Oksana: Recently I am often thinking about the Middle East, but need the right company and a bit more free time!

GT: What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Oksana: I feel very frustrated when people don’t use their full potential.

GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE for me is…”
Oksana: AEGEE for me is family, youth power and place for the craziest ideas.

Oksana with Laura Blake, founder of AEGEE-Angers