Soon the Agora Salerno stage will be full of candidates who want your vote! For sure you have read all about their programmes in the official booklet, so now you want to find out more about them, their hobbies, whether they can cook and which AEGEE member they would take with them on a deserted island. In short: classic first date questions from the Internet! The GT will take you on a date with the candidates. In this edition: Veva Chmelárová, running again for Chair. Get ready, your date is starting now!

Golden Times: Are you afraid of your candidature speech on the Agora stage? And how will you prepare for it?
Veva: I have to admit, I have a natural respect towards presenting myself at the Agora even after all these times. I am not afraid of it, but there is something about opening yourself up and presenting your ideas to so many people that still makes me nervous. Weirdly enough, sitting at the Chair table in front of everyone has become quite comfortable.

GT: Where would you be now if you hadn’t joined AEGEE?
Veva: I guess living a boring yet responsible life of a law student finishing my degree.

GT: How did you join AEGEE exactly? How did you find out about it?
Veva: My first meeting with AEGEE was almost exactly four years ago, it was during my introduction week, when I was fresh 18, just started university and wanted to become active in a political party or an NGO. One of my class mates wanted us to do something together and visiting the meeting of a mysterious political student NGO is apparently the best activity.

GT: How long did it take you from the first moment you heard about it until you signed the membership form and joined AEGEE?
Veva: I did take my sweet time to sign up… probably even 45 minutes. Then I couldn’t resist any longer.

GT: What’s the typical drink and food you bring to European Nights?
Veva: It highly depends where am I coming from to the event. If I am coming from Berlin I just have to bring the Berliner Luft, if I am traveling from Slovakia I usually bring Tatra tea and some other traditional drinks. Food is always a bit of a problem though, so I mostly stick to drinks.

Veva is already Agora Chair – here at Agora Bucharest, guarding the AEGEE-Europe flag

GT: At an AEGEE party where will we find you? On the dancefloor? Talking at the bar?
Veva: Both. But I usually am somewhere there.

GT: What was your first position in the local board?
Veva: My first was Secretary.

GT: What was your favourite event as organiser – and why is it your favourite?
Veva: Completely favorite was my very first event as organizer. During our local meeting they needed someone to help out with an exchange with Prague and since I can understand and speak a language they understand I volunteered. You have to understand that back in 2015 I had no idea what I volunteered for and the board has made me the main organizer. Everything that came after was a bit of a rollercoaster for me, it was a perfectly new experience. I have made some long-lasting friendships and in general this is probably the event that has made me active.

GT: What was your first Agora and how did you feel there? Happy, excited, overwhelmed, lost?
Veva: The Agora of the 1000, Bergamo in 2016. I think as everyone at their first Agora, I felt all of those things, occasionally all at the same time. It was a huge Agora with a lot of people, it was also my first Agora as a delegate and I did crack my ankle on day 2. I remember feeling such a responsibility, that I kept going to all sessions despite this event until a fellow member of my local dragged me to the doctor. I did not miss out on the European Night still, so I guess the AEGEE spirit held me on my feet. To this day I remember the Agora and the atmosphere which was indescribable. I have never missed an Agora after.

Vava, a bit younger than today.

GT: Have you ever hichhiked to an AEGEE event? If yes, what’s your favourite hitchhiking story?
Veva: Not yet, but it is on my bucket list.

GT: There is a classic typology of AEGEE members, dividing them according to the three aspects fun member, career member and idealist – to which percentage are you which of these aspects?
Veva: I do like to think that I am 33,33% of each of those categories.

GT: What do your parents think about the idea that you are so active in AEGEE?
Veva: Let’s just say they are not exactly happy about it and would have me quit in a second. But they do respect my decision of being active most of the time.

GT: What other hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Veva: I am still a student, so my free time is pretty limited lately, but as all of us, I do love to travel, not only to AEGEE events, I do love reading books, painting and drawing, I volunteer in an animal shelter, more and more since recently, go to art exhibitions or museums and theaters and hang out with friends. I have a pretty normal and boring life outside.

GT: What was the last book you really got into?
Veva: The last one I really loved was a collection of the tales of Nordic mythology with an analysis of how it affected certain cultures and their languages in the future. Also took me a while to read as it was a concentrated pack of information.

GT: What TV series do you keep coming back to and re-watching?
Veva: My all-time favorite is The Big Bang Theory, spent 12 years watching it which is more than half of my life.

GT: What are some obscure things that you are or were really into?
Veva: I do have some weird tastes which most people that really know me probably noticed, like the combo of Nutella and prosciutto.

GT: What’s your favourite app on your phone?
Veva: Mail app.

GT: What nickname do or did you have – and why?
Veva: Well, even Veva is a nickname as it is an abbreviation of my name in Slovak. This one stuck to me so much that many people do not know my full name is Veronika. Why? I guess as a 13-year old I thought it is cool to have it as Facebook name and people adjusted.

GT: Do you like cooking and if yes – what’s your favourite dish you like to cook?
Veva: I prefer baking over cooking. I can bake pretty much anything and do like to experiment and push my limits. It is also a way for me to get a bit artistic. Mostly my parents wait for me until I get home for Christmas holidays before they even mention baking so that I would do it.

The last plenaries in Bucharest demanded a lot of attention.

GT: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Veva: Lemons or oranges.

GT: Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
Veva: I did consider it a couple of years back and am still considering it for later, for now I am focusing on volunteering.

GT: What do you study – and why?
Veva: I study law and my focus is in public European law and EU law.

GT: What’s your dream job?
Veva: This is something I am figuring out right now, but since I am considering a master in Human rights or a future focus in data privacy, it should be something in these fields.

This is how it started – Veva’s first Agora in Bucharest,

GT: What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
Veva: I do have a couple of favorite places and cities, among which is definitely also Berlin. But if I’d have to choose a place it would be the north-east side of Iceland. I just fell in love with that place and would love to go back or even to move there in perspective.

GT: And where would you really like to go?
Veva: Right now Colombia and New Zealand are on the top of my to-go list, so I’d love to visit those.

GT: If you could take one AEGEE member to a desert island, who would it be? And why?
Veva: This is a hard one, as most of my very close AEGEE friends are no longer members, but one that I really much appreciate – and we go a long way back – is Tekla Hajdu.

GT: This Agora is about walls – what was the most difficult wall you had to overcome?
Veva: I believe to answer this question I would have to go very deep into my personal life and it is not something I would like to share in detail. However, saying it generally, it might be and still is fear in different forms and self-doubt. But these are also walls that we are all overcoming on regular basis as everyone has their insecurities.

GT: What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Veva: In AEGEE and in life – not used potential.

GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Veva: An opportunity to develop myself.

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