In autumn 2014 Oksana Spolyak visited her first Agora. Now, almost five years later, she will experience the plenary hall of the upcoming Agora in Bucharest from a different perspective – as candidate. The AEGEE-Lviv member is one of five people running for the four available positions of general CD member. Find out more about her in this interview.

Golden Times: Do you usually read candidate interviews in the Golden Times or AEGEEan Magazine?
Oksana Spolyak: Occasionally.

GT: How did you join AEGEE exactly? How did you find out about it?
Oksana: Quite ordinary as for an AEGEE member – via SU promotion at my uni department. Later I googled and realized that’s a project from an organization. Fun fact: my friend and I applied for an SU – plus two more girls from Lviv – and everybody was chosen but me. If you wonder why – quote of St. Augustine is the answer… [smiling]. Nevertheless, it didn’t discourage me and now I can boast of another fun fact: I have been SU organizer for five times but never a participant.

GT: How long did it take you from the first moment until you signed the membership form and joined AEGEE?
Oksana (smiling): Around one week – until the first social meeting of AEGEE-Lviv and SU deadline.

GT: What’s the typical drink & food you bring to European Nights?
Oksana: Ukrainian sweets or chocolate from Lviv and horilka with pepper or local coffee liquor.

GT: At an AEGEE party where will we find you? On the dancefloor? Talking at the bar?
Oksana: On the dance floor, for sure.

GT: What was your first position in the local board?
Oksana: I was Secretary of AEGEE-Lviv.

GT: What was your favourite event as organiser – and why is it your favourite?
Oksana: I think Summer University as main organiser. It was my first experience at the time of coordinating a big and quite long European event – including plenty of challenges and the nicest memories. I still have a postcard on my wall from our participants of the TSU “Tale of Slavic Twins” 2016!

GT: What was your first Agora and how did you feel there? Happy, excited, overwhelmed, lost?
Oksana: It was Agora Cagliari 2014. I remember I was expecting how it is to be among a thousand of people. Sounded a bit overcrowded. However, when I arrived, I didn’t feel it – on the contrary, quite comfortable but unknown what to expect next. Overall, I didn’t feel it fully, I would say, as in my opinion you can feel a true Agora only in the role of a delegate – yeap, I do mean it.

GT: Have you ever hitchhiked to an AEGEE event?
Oksana: No, somehow it never came to my mind or as an offer.

GT: What do your parents think about the idea that you are so active in AEGEE and even want to move to Brussels?
Oksana (smiling): I think they don’t realize to the full extent what I am doing in AEGEE and what keeps me attached for so long. Besides, they are used to the fact I am often out of town – due to work business trips, AEGEE events or personal travels. In any case, my parents are happy for my choices and achievements.

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: I would say: fun member 20%, career member 35%, idealist 45%.

GT: What other hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Oksana: Travelling – unless it’s considered AEGEE-related, watching theatre or ballet and reading detective stories.

GT: Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
Oksana: No. Working in Lviv City Council and being active in an NGO provides me currently with sufficient opportunities of having my say and contribution to policy making.

GT: What do you study – and why?
Oksana: In Ukraine we usually finish school at quite a young age, 17 years old, which makes the choice of future career quite immature, in my opinion. Won’t call my choice fully mature, however, I am glad it was independent and genuine – following what I indeed wanted to learn further at that time – English. That’s why I entered the foreign languages department. Additionally, my mom is a linguist, so I guess languages and correcting people are in my veins [smiling].

GT: What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
Oksana: I will always feel attached to my native city of Lviv. When it comes to so far visited countries – Italy and Germany are among those I would like to continue exploring. If to answer with a specific place, I would call Monschau, which is a fairy-tale-like city in Germany – it impressed me and exceeded my expectations.

GT: And where would you really like to go?
Oksana: Right now I am craving for Portugal.

GT: What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Oksana (smiling): Hot showers and tasty food at statutory events.

GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Oksana: Spirit.

GT: How would you describe yourself in a few keywords?
Oksana: Proactive responsible grammar-nazi.