Four countries and 1800 kilometres in one event! Maybe the Travelling Summer University of AEGEE-Eindhoven and AEGEE-Tartu is the most spectacular this summer. It takes place from 8th to 24th of July 2019. The concept is amazing: in the year of the European Parliament election, in the year that marks the 15th anniversary of Estonia joining the European Union, these two AEGEE antennae celebrate how Europe has grown together. The titel of this event full of politics, history, culture and fun: “Tarthoven presents: Time Travel Through the Flatlands”. The main organisers, Hanna Marrandi from AEGEE-Tartu and Wouter Boerjan from AEGEE-Eindhoven, told the Golden Times more about the SU concept. Their motto: “We will show what the European Union has brought us!”

Hanna Marrandi

Golden Times: Your Summer University is very unique, since you travel half across Europe in this event. How did you get the idea?
Hanna Marrandi and Wouter Boerjan: We wanted to do something special, something that is really European. What better to do than organise something together with a local on the other side of Europe, showing what the European Union has brought us: free travelling and easy communication between countries. Our locals were twin antennae for some time and we are certain that we can pull off this crazy idea of four countries and 1800 kilometres in one SU!

GT: You start in Estonia and end in the Netherlands. Altogether you will visit four countries… Can you tell us more about this trip?
Hanna and Wouter: We start all the way in the North East in Estonia, next to the Russian border. Slowly we will make our way down to Tartu, exploring the small villages and natural beauty of Estonia on the way. Since the locals are far apart from each other, we will take a flight, from Riga to Brussels. So we will also fit in a short visit to Latvia and include Brussels in this adventure. Eventually we will end our trip in the Netherlands, visiting several cities again, such as The Hague and Amsterdam, with our base in Eindhoven.

GT: How can you make sure that you all will have a place on this one flight?
Hanna and Wouter: We already booked the flight, 25 places in total. By contacting several flight companies we could get a deal that worked for us and with a bit of risk we just took this opportunity and booked the flights. This will be a real AEGEE plane!

SU Eindhoven in 2018

GT: Your event is dealing with politics and history. And it has time travel in its name. Sounds complicated. So what is the content all about? What are the thematic highlights?
Hanna and Wouter: The theme came about because both countries are far apart and have really different histories, but not such a different lifestyle in the current time. This makes learning about it interesting, the way the Second World War and the politics after it played a role in the development of today’s Europe.  With the help of our trainer from AEGEE’s Politics Interest Group, we will give our participants insight into politics of the last century in Europe.

GT: Can you tell more how the Politics Interest Group will contribute?
Hanna and Wouter: We were lucky to get help from the Politics Interest Group. They were eager to work together with us and already from the start liked what we were working on. There will be a trainer present during the whole SU, Roberto Meneghetti, who will be guiding us on the journey through the politics in past and present time. We will, for example, be discussing propaganda and freedom of speech, but we will also focus on the liberation and freedom movements leading towards the European Union. After this SU our participants will even know more about fake news and populism in nowadays politics.

Wouter Boerjan

GT: You will spend some time in Brussels and visit the European Parliament as well as the AEGEE-Europe head office. What will people see there? Does AEGEE-Europe know that you will come with 25 participants?
Hanna and Wouter (laughing): Of course AEGEE-Europe knows we will come with a big group, they agreed to host us in the attic of the house, on the condition that we clean it first. Brussels is the heart of the European Union, but also of our own association. When we saw that Brussels would fit in our programme perfectly, it was not even a question for us that we need to see the AEGEE house – we will actually be sleeping there to get the full experience! But we will also explore the city and see the beauty of the golden age of Brussels. The day after we will get a tour at the parliament where we will get to know everything about the EU.

GT: Aside from the mentioned ones, what other workshops or other thematic highlights will there be?
Hanna and Wouter: In Estonia we will have a panel discussion with people from the local Russian minority and experts on the field, to understand the challenges of this area and how a majority group became a minority group with the fall of Soviet Union. Another place that is worth mentioning is The Hague, being the centre of the Dutch politics and home to the International Court of Justice. The Hague will be a very interesting and multicultural city to visit.

GT: Every SU has a cultural and fun part. What are the highlights in this respect?
Hanna and Wouter: We know it sounds like a very serious Summer University, but no worries, there will be lots of fun included! The participants might twist their tongue trying to learn the basics of both Estonian and Dutch, but the mouth-watering stroopwafel workshop will fix that issue in no time… To not overwhelm them with all the huge important buildings of EU, we will have zen-moments underneath the stars beforehand and go camping in the Estonian nature. And although it might come as a surprise to many, the summers in the Netherlands can be really hot as well, so we will have time to enjoy the beach and watch the sunset. We have also planned a pub crawl and of course several parties!


GT: This sounds packed! Will the participants have time to sleep?
Hanna and Wouter (laughing): Well, right in the middle of the SU there is the flight. This should give them a few hours of sleep.

GT: Where can interested people find out more about your SU?
Hanna and Wouter: As always with SUs, the AEGEE.SU website has a lot of information, but definitely also check out our Facebook event.

GT: Anything you would like to add? Do you have a message to potential applicants?
Hanna and Wouter: Don’t be afraid to try something new, dare to learn more this summer and join a contentful Summer University – we promise you that you won’t regret it! Join us on this adventure through space and time!