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Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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1985, 16 April | 700 young Europeans participate in Paris in a conference called EGEE and the first local “EGEE” branches were born. 1988, January | EGEE is now called AEGEE, counting 12.000 members in 50 local branches. 1988, July and August | The Birth! 10 language courses with 320 places are organised. The fee is in ECUs. 1989 | The Berlin Wall crumbles and AEGEE opens its doors to the East: 16 courses in 6 countries. 1991 | The first Summer Universities in East Europe take place in Budapest, Cluj-Napoca, Moskva, Pécs, Praha and Riga. 38 courses. 1992 | The first 5 TSUs are reality. 1993 | 68 Courses! 1994 | Types: Summer University, Summer University +, Travelling Summer University, Summer Camp. 1995 | Creation of the SUCT: responsible for both Summer and Spring universities. 1998 | 10 years of Summer Universities with 84 courses. 1999 | New application procedure for the SU! Instead of handing in the applications on paper, the locals are asked to collect the applicants’ data in a database.


CONTENTS TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF THE

SUMMER UNIVERSITY PROJECT Dreaming for 25 years 4 A project that inspires 6 The Summer University Project 8 Back when it all began 14 The SUCT 16 It all started with a Summer University 18 The SU “firsts” 22 A great help from Local Authorities 24 Make your selection - rise to fame! 26 Connecting the Caucasus Region to Europe since 2006 30 A new logo for the Summer University Project 33 European Night - a Key to Integration 38 The other side: Being an Organiser! 40

TIPS for a pleasant lecture Click on the chapter you want to read and you will go directly to it. If you want to get back to this contents page, just click on the page area at the bottom corner of Twenty-Five Years of the each spread: Summer Unversity Project 3

ESSU what? 44 The Summer that changed my life 47 One week to create the perfect SU 49 How AEGEE goes beyond societies 51 A different perspective 53 Much more than expected 55 A thank YOU note 58

The TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF THE SUMMER UNIVERSITY PROJECT anniversary booklet is published by AEGEE-Europe Rue du Noyer / Notelaarsstraat 55 1000 Brussels, Belgium +32 2 246 0320 headoffice@aegee.org

The TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF THE SUMMER UNIVERSITY PROJECT anniversary booklet is made possible by the financial support of the Youth in Action programme of the European Commission and the Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation.

This is an anniversary booklet with a circulation of 400 copies. Also available online under: aegee.org/press/publications


DREAMING FOR 25 YEARS Luis Alvarado Martínez | President of AEGEE-Europe Dear readers, AEGEE-Europe/European Students´ Forum was created in 1985 with the objective to empower young students in Europe and provide them with a platform to make their voices heard in the international institutions and policy making levels, a platform which would enable them to experience Europe not through text books or lectures, but through meeting young people, discovering European cultures, and breaking geographical distance. One of the most powerful tools that AEGEE offers is the mobility of students and young citizens in Europe. Indeed, AEGEE has provided thousands and thousands of students from many different generations with the possibilities to travel and get intense cultural exchange experiences all over our continent. Mobility and student cultural exchange has been one of our key values and pillars making young people lose their fear to the unknown and broaden their horizons, get to know other cultures, becoming thus more tolerant and open, more European.

Summer Universities are arranged by young people, for young people, and this is what makes them so special

This is what our Summer University Project has achieved over the years. It has provided our members with intense intercultural and life-changing experiences for already 25 years, having reached almost 100 000 students. Summer Universities are arranged by young people, for young people, and this is what makes them so special: participants of such events will discover the culture of a country, its traditions, its reality, but at the same time, they will also interact with 30 other young people coming from everywhere in the continent, a unique chance to explore Europe, to explore one’s own beliefs. 27 years ago, our founder Franck Biancheri dared to dream of a better and more united Europe. The 25th anniversary of the Summer University Project of AEGEE-Europe, which also coincides with the passing away of

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of our visionary founder, proves what an enormous impact our organisation has had with this project since 1988. Thanks to the vision and perseverance of this man and all the people to whom he transmitted this inspiring message, we can look back very proudly today and say that our organisation has changed the lives of thousands of students across Europe through different generations. Summer Universities is also the place where many AEGEEans started a deeper involvement becoming active volunteers within AEGEE and thus changing the lives of other young people. Indeed AEGEE opens the door for new opportunities and empowers young people to become more independent, develop their competencies, skills and their understanding of Europe, learn languages, make friends all over Europe... and, last but definitely not least, feel their European citizenship.

Don’t miss your chance to experience it yourself. It will definitely change you.

The Summer University Project has changed, changes and will continue to change the lives of young Europeans. Same as our organisation, the project has its own soul, which continues to further develop with time. Who knows? You might be about to read the story of the next European Youth Mobility Programme. Don’t miss your chance to experience it yourself. It will definitely change you.

Luis Alvarado Martínez President of AEGEE-Europe/European Students’ Forum

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A PROJECT THAT INSPIRES

Hara Kogkou | Editor-in-chief

“It’s a lifetime experience!, It’s something you will never forget. It will be in your mind for a long time after it finishes!” This is what I first heard and what the majority of the fresh members hear when they join AEGEE. The truth is that Summer Universities have a different meaning to each person: it is an assemblage of emotions, new experiences, new friends, new cultures, and new challenges. For me, it was all the above mentioned and still something else. It was my entrance to a different world, a whole new destination, the so called “European Level” in a NGO where you are given the chance to develop yourself, work with a group of people from all over Europe, and realise that you have not only the ability but also the opportunity to do things that you had never imagined. After two years being the project manager of the Summer University Coordination Team I have seen, heard, and experienced myself many of the stories gathered in this booklet, and all I can say is that the Summer University Project truly inspires generations of young Europeans year after year, all working, across Europe, on the same project, with the same goals in mind. It may be because in a Summer University you break free, you get ideas, and you start thinking out of the box. You face reality, you see the world as it is, and you want to do something out of the ordinary. You see people as they really are, not defined by their origins or the language they speak, which is no more than an add-on making the trip more interesting. It may be because you realise that this is your chance to offer and get more things back in the end. Whatever it is for, the feeling is real, and I doubt there will ever be an AEGEEan who will not confirm these words.

All I can say is that the Summer University Project truly inpires generations of young Europeans year after year

Our project could not exist without its 25 years of history, 25 years full of young volunteers organising Summer Universities, 25 years full of experiences and stories spreading around, 25 years of the Summer University Project itself.

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1803 Summer Universities have come true due to the combination of enthusiastic young people, the help of institutions that see and understand our goals, and the support of every person - parents included - that feel that just a summer can be enough for the change we are looking for. We have learnt from the past, we have evolved, and now we lookahead: more years to come, more Summer Universities filled with new stories. It all started 25 years ago with 10 Summer Universities to arrive in 2012 with more than 80. However, before getting to the end of our story, let’s give a glimpse first to all these years on the following pages.

It all started 25 years ago with 10 Summer Universities to arrive in 2012 with more than 80

Hara Kogkou Editor-in-chief

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THE SUMMER UNIVERSITY PROJECT Hara Kogkou | Editor in chief

The

European Students’ Forum, AEGEE, (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe) was founded in 1985 with the aim to unify young people in Europe in order to foster democracy, human rights, European dimension in education and to strive for creating an open and tolerant society. One of AEGEE’s major goals has always been the promotion of European Integration. With this goal in mind, in 1988, the Summer University Project (SU) was born. The SU, as its name suggests, is a course that takes place every year during summer and lasts between one and four weeks. Each summer, more than 120 of AEGEE’s local branches participate in this project, with SUs taking place in most European cities in which AEGEE is present. Thus, the SU Project reflects AEGEE’s traditional formula: acquaint Europeans with Europe.

The SU Project reflects AEGEE’s traditional formula: acquaint Europeans with Europe

The Project is coordinated entirely by the young members of the European Students’ Forum, who strive for the idea of a united Europe on a voluntary basis, and includes activities that range from purely academic, such as intensive language courses, to cross-cultural ones. Therefore, participants are offered the chance to - for instance - become familiar with the Finnish culture, Spanish history, Greek mythology, or learn how to sail, attend a photography course in Turkey, or go hiking in the Polish woods. Moreover, each SU follows a concrete theme throughout its duration. Some of the SU themes chosen so far have been European integration, international politics, active citizenship, education, culture, peace, youth unemployment, personal development, and many more.

The Project is coordinated entirely by the young members of the European Students’ Forum

Exploring and understanding the multicultural dimension of the European continent, removing national borders, fighting for tolerance, and becoming openminded citizens are some of the reasons why 20 to 50 young

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Europeans from all over Europe come together in each SU. In 2012, all AEGEEans celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Summer University Project, which makes it the longest lasting project in the association’s history. In the past two decades, almost 100,000 people were involved in the SU project, and events took place in over 260 cities, in more than 40 European countries, making it the biggest volunteer-based mobility project in Europe.

The Summer University Project is the longest lasting project in the association’s history

The aim The Summer University Project gathers thousands of volunteers each summer who contribute by giving the participants a new perspective on the multicultural dimension of the European continent, providing high-content, high-quality and low-cost summer courses (ranging from language courses to seminars about political, cultural, environmental issues). It also promotes understanding among European students, defying national borders and creating a European feeling. Throughout the Summer Universities, the participants discover the lifestyle of young people living in other parts of Europe. Thus, the participants and the organisers are given the opportunity to experience altogether the sense of the European identity and citizenship. This aim is definitely achieved, as, usually during 15 days, they share the same facilities, their thoughts about shaping Europe, their thoughts about the culture of the country of each volunteer. During these 15 days, they are given the chance to create a small multicultural society, where people with different personalities and nationalities come together with the same goal: to learn how to live together and, despite their cultural, historical and maybe even political differences, to think as one human being. This is why, from the beginning of the project, the exchanges between East-West and between North-South was encouraged.

In a Summer University, participants get a new perspective on the multicultural dimension of the European continent

By choosing to take part in a SU and spend their summer holidays in another part of Europe, the participants are given the Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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the opportunity to experience the real culture of other nations and to abolish the existing stereotypes.

Types Throughout the years, there have been different types of Summer Universities. It all started with 10 Language Courses, where the participants were given the chance to learn, through lectures and workshops, the language of the region where the SU they had chosen was taking place. The Summer University evolved by enriching its types and spreading across different fields, such as Summer Camp, Summer University Plus, Summer Course, Language Course, Summer Event, and the all time classic Travelling Summer University, where during this 2-to-4 week-long cultural trip through a part of Europe the group visits at least four different places.

A Summer University can be organised in cooperation with a Working Group or another Project, giving the organisers a chance to broaden their philosophies and activities in this way

All of the above mentioned are courses on a specific topic related to local culture, language and history lessons, or general interest. A SU can be organised in cooperation with a Working Group or another Project, giving the organisers the chance to broaden their philosophies and activities in this way. For instance, cooperation between the Higher Education Days Project can be realised through lectures and workshops where the participants are given the chance to discuss about Higher Education matters in an international environment that offers different socio-cultural perspectives to them. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity for intercultural dialogue and understanding of the customs and traditions of one country. Nowadays, there are three general types of Summer Universities: Summer Course, Summer Course Plus, and Travelling Summer University. The difference of the Summer Course Plus and the others is that the former requires professional teachers and more tuition hours. At the next page you can see the statistics of these 25 years of Summer Universities: types and number of events.

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25 years in numbers Types of Summer Universities, 1988-2012 These are the proportions of the different types of Summer Universities organised during the past 25 years. The majority of events have been Language Courses (32%), and were the most prominent type of SUs in the 90’s. In recent years, since 2000, the number of Summer Courses and Travelling Summer Universities have increased significantly.

10000000€

ten million of Euros

This is an approximate value of total budget for all Antennae during these 25 years. Big numbers, but little costs. If you shared this quantity for the number of participants, it should show the rate for person: more or less the average cost for each person is 12 euro per day, it makes Aegee’s Summer Universities one of the most competitive low cost travel experiences in Europe. That’s a secret! Do not share it with Travel agencies, they should hate us.

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120 100 81 82

80

68

91

87 89

92

96

91 89

85 84

75 71 77

81

57

60 37

40 20

70

77

84 86

10

16

23

1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

0

Number of SUs | Represents the number of Summer Universities organised during the past 25 years, in total 1803. It all started in 1988 with just ten events, to arrive in 2012 with eighty-one, reaching a top of ninety-five in 2004. Number of applications | Shows the number of applicants, totally more or less 100000, of which, around a half of them (50992) have actually participated to a SU.

6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

0

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25 years in words

Survey made by 869 AEGEEans | The bigger a word is, the more AEGEEans wrote it in the survey answering Write the feeling that comes to your mind when you hear “Summer University�

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BACK WHEN IT ALL BEGAN Monica Ratiu | AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca

One

might know why the Summer University project began, but not really how. The following lines will tell the story of the first 10 Summer Universities in the history of AEGEE, organised in 1988. How was the application method back then? Who were the first antennae organising a SU? What did the booklet look like? Let’s begin with the booklet. At first glance, one could see that it was bilingual: in French and in English. Why both? Because French and English are the two official languages of the association. As for the content of the booklet, we can find an introduction about AEGEEEurope and also a short history, starting with its foundation in April 1985. A history full of events, showing how many great things and ideas young people could implement in such a short time. A description of the Summer University Project could not miss: “Summer University presents European students with the opportunity to study a European language for two weeks at one of the several universities throughout Europe. […] Next to the language course itself, a leisure programme will be offered to introduce the students to the cultural, historical and social backgrounds and activities of their host city.” Besides the introduction of other types of Summer Universities, not much has been changed since then. The Summer University Project was initiated in order to underline the beliefs of AEGEEEurope in a united young society of Europe, in better communication between the states of the same continent, and much more. The main purpose of the project was to get young people familiar with other languages spoken in Europe and also with other countries’ way of living and habits. Who were the first courageous antennae who believed in this project? The answer is: Bellaterra/Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Heidelberg, Kiel, Milano, Amsterdam, Orléans, Paris, Toulouse. Each of them organised, either in July or August, two weeks

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The front cover of the very first Summer University Booklet


of intensive courses of language and culture. These were held both by qualified teachers and students who had just graduated or were on the verge of doing so. Besides the courses, other optional activities were also available, such as going to a bull festival in Barcelona, visiting museums, churches and the Scala in Milan, or exploring the countryside around Toulouse.

The main purpose of the Project was to get young people familiar with other languages spoken in Europe and also with other countries’ way of living and habits

How about the registration? The process differed much from what it is today. Still, the participants could choose two different language courses and be selected for one of them afterwards. The registration form could be found at the end of the booklet and had to be sent by post to the antennae the participants were interested in. If the places for the desired SUs were all filled in, there was a third option, which meant sending the candidate to another Summer University similar to the ones that he or she had applied for. An interesting fact about the first Summer Universities is that they used to be open also for participants outside AEGEE, whereas today all the participants have to be members of the organisation. The confirmation process was similar to the one in use today, the only difference being that the candidate had to pay the fee at least two weeks before the event. Nowadays, the confirmation system provides the applicants with more options, and everything happens on-line. The number of participants differed in every Summer University from 15 to even 40, divided into special groups for each level of proficiency: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The timetable for the courses was usually in the morning, for four hours, while the leisure programme used to take part in the afternoons and weekends. Lodging was provided in student dormitories, hotels, or homes of AEGEE members - not very different from what it is today.

Besides the introduction of other types of Summer Universities, not much has changed since then

Even from the first attempt of organising a Summer University, institutions supported young people and their projects. A few examples are the Rectors from The Paris Academy (AcadĂŠmie des Sciences) and Complutense University of Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). Some companies even sponsored AEGEE-Europe and got involved in supporting the SU Project as well. Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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THE SUMMER UNIVERSITY COORDINATION TEAM Olga Volovyk | AEGEE-Kyiv

Summer

University Coordination Team, or SUCT, as we call them. They are the ones connecting all Summer Universities within the network together. This small team dedicates numerous hours of their life to the success of this project. But, what are they? What do they bring to the job? What do they actually do? And how does AEGEE pay them back?

Summer University Coordination Team logo, created in 2013

As the number of SUs starting from 1988 kept growing and growing, it was clear that the Comité Directeur would not be enough to keep it all under control. That is why the SUCT was created in 1996. Initially it was no other than a team of four people elected by the General Assembly of AEGEE in order to run the project. Keep in mind, as well, that the first team did not have the help of such modern conveniences as the Internet, so their job was quite a bit harder than you would imagine. The main criterion for being selected for this hard-working team was, and still is, enthusiasm. Because if you really set your mind to it, there is nothing you can’t do. Of course some positions, as the IT responsible. for instance, require quite a bit of a background knowledge, but still a good knowledge transfer is usually enough for all other positions. At the end of the day, most of it can be learned on the job, just by doing. The positions of SUCT have changed over the time, but, together with the CD representative, the team is always made up by four people who share responsibilities as follows: • Project Manager • Publications Responsible • PR responsible • T responsible • Treasurer These people spend the whole year together working on coordinating the Summer University as a project, setting deadlines and making sure that these are respected by everyone, including or-

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ganisers, participants, and themselves. They are responsible for the quality of the SUs and help out whenever they can to set up cooperation between organisers and other AEGEE bodies. Unlike other positions, the tasks of the SUCT has remained pretty much the same since 1996: coordinating the applications of locals and participants, preparing common PR material, and developing and improving the project.

Unlike other positions, the tasks of the SUCT has remained pretty much the same since 1996

Even though most of the work is done on-line, it is those real life meetings that end up being the most memorable for them, and sometimes even influential for us. Since the very first meeting in cold February in Maastricht, SUCT meeting have become legendary, at least between SUCT members. Hara Kogkou, project manager 2010/12, remembers one of these meetings as follows: During the live meeting in Athens, after a very long day of working non-stop visualising the project for the whole following year, we were extremely tired, but at the same time our fantasy was so strong that we were ready to choose the motto of the year and send a few e-mails to the network. Luckily, we waited till the next morning to revise everything before sharing the information with AEGEE members. Curiously, many other past SUCT members also remember that meeting as one of the funniest moments of their term. As a network, we gain tremendously from their work. They join for the love of the project and stay for their devotion to it. The most valuable skill that they gain on their position is working in a multicultural team. As Alma Mozgovaja, CD representative 2011/12 highlights: 90% of success is good teamwork. Moreover, the work carried out make some of the team members more comfortable with their capabilities and definitely more aware of them. Veronica Braun, project manager 2009/10, believes that being in the SUCT helped her become an HR Manager in a small but international e-commerce company, and our honorary member and longest SUCT member ever, Kamala Schütze, is also working in HR at the moment. It seems like a trend., then, and even Raúl Avilés Poblador, IT responsible 2010/11, strives at beating the trend and can now proudly say that his master degree combined with his web development experience in AEGEE scored him a job in Intel.

The most valuable skill that they gain on their position is working in a multicultural team

They may all be different, have different responsibilities and hobbies, but they are the ones who keep AEGEE’s oldest, most famous, and probably most successful project alive. And they improve it year after year. Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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IT ALL STARTED WITH A SUMMER UNIVERSITY Anita Kalmane | AEGEE-Ogre

The

first glance, the first date, the first love… And it continues for (almost) a lifetime. For some people their first Summer University (SU) was just the beginning of their European journey where they realised how European they were, something which continued with participating in European competitions, starting a career in the European Parliament or marrying somebody from another country. Let’s hear what they have to say!

Through the war zone “I joined AEGEE in the summer of 1994. I was supposed to go on holiday with a friend of mine but for some reason he went elsewhere. Instead I went with Stephan van Uijtregt - another friend - who ‘knew’ someone in Zagreb. There Stephan arranged our lodging, and the next day we could even follow Croatian lessons with other European students. I enjoyed that very much. Later that evening, at one of the many parties of that SU, someone explained to me that I actually was at a SU and this was AEGEE. Afterwards two other guys convinced me to go to Dubrovnik. Great place to visit, although they just forgot to mention the war which was going on. Apparently I was a bit naive in those days... Nothing happened in the end and we got home with great stories,” Michiel van Hees (AEGEE-Nijmegen and AEGEE-Arnhem) starts his story. He has loads of them to tell – about going to Zagreb with his mother’s car, about great student life with constantly going abroad on a low-cost budget, about marrying his German love, met through AEGEE, working together with people he also met in AEGEE, and many more… Michiel really appreciates that SU. AEGEE made it possible for him to work

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The front cover of 1994’s Summer Universitiy Booklet - 2013 poster honours its design


on European integration in the most relaxed way possible.

Low in cost, but rich in experiences Angelos Pappas (AEGEE-Athina) has a different first-time story, more than 15 years later: “Back in 2010, just a couple of days before my university life began, I was desperately looking for a travelling community that was low in cost but rich in experiences. The CouchSurfing community seemed to be a decent answer to those needs, but I still felt like there was something missing. In a local CouchSurfing event in Athens, a completely random guy approached me and told me about AEGEE and its wonders. After just some minutes into the discussion, I was actually feeling guilty for not being a member of AEGEE yet! So the next summer, there I was - easy-riding around the Netherlands on a bicycle, along with thirty amazing friends from all over Europe! That random guy back in 2010 was right — it was a lifetime experience, there’s absolutely no doubt about that!”

Summer University Booklet front cover for 2010

This first-time experience lead to many more happenings in Angelos’ life, including adopting his true European identity, winning the European Commission’s “Generation 1992” competition in 2012 and getting ready for an Erasmus exchange next year. Angelos admits that the SU and AEGEE helped him discover Europe from within, develop and adopt a valuable, active European identity.

Outside the geographical Europe “My first SU was organised by AEGEE-Izmir and AEGEERhodos. It was my first time outside the European geographical borders and in such an international environment. At the beginning I felt a little weird, as I had the feeling that everybody knew each other already for a long time and I was the only new person, but then after a few days I realised that it was just the AEGEE way of meeting people! I enjoyed very much being in another country and not feeling like a foreigner. And I was amazed by seeing how two persons I considered confronted Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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were so similar to each other and how both locals had such tight relations,” remembers Felipe Gonzalez Santos (AEGEECoruña). At present, he has moved from his hometown to Brussels, where he is an intern in the office of one of Members of the European Parliament (MEP). He also contributes to AEGEE in a much higher level both assisting the international board as the Policy Officer of Youth Participation and as the project manager of YOUrope Needs YOU!, which in 2009 won the Charlemagne Youth Prize. Thanks to his first SU and his following AEGEE experiences, Felipe has now increased his self-confidence to be in any international settings and join new start-ups.

SU helps to get a job Also Michele Turati (AEGEE-Brescia) has various stories to tell and he opens up with mentioning a time when he got hired to organise Summer Schools after an employer found his name on a SU press release. Michele (or Mickey for friends) joined AEGEE back in 2003, started going to his local weekly meetings and that summer went to a summer university in Craiova. Ten years later, he is still helping out his local. That was the case also back in 2010, as he tells us. I was helping AEGEE-Brescia’s SU writing a press release for a local newspaper. One person read that article, found my number in an indirect way and asked me if I would like to organise a Summer Schools for him, dealing with an American University. I said “yes” and begun that working experience the following week. I continued it for two years. His own first SU experience was not the best one, but it motivated him to stay in the organisation and organise one himself to see if he could do any better. And he could! This is what Michele has to say about SU in a nutshell: “It is a 2-week experience of something you will only understand how good it was for your career once it is over” Although at the moment he is living and working in Wroclaw, Poland, Michele still remembers his days back in Italy and confirms that AEGEE showed him how Europe should ideally look like and what we all should do to achieve this ideal.

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2003’s front cover of the Summer University Booklet


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THE SU “FIRSTS”

Olga Volovyk | AEGEE-Kyiv

At

the moment there are truly a lot of different Summer Universities offered. We have Travelling SUs (TSU), Summer Courses ranging from activities based on cooking, dancing, photography or music, and Summer Courses Plus (SC+), a more extensive course such as a language course. However, all of it started with only 16 Antennae organising two weeks (one even three weeks) of language training and a lot of fun aimed at their fellow members all over Europe. The very first Summer Universities in 1989 were a big challenge. The Berlin Wall had not come down yet! Former president of AEGEE-Salerno, Alfonso Giordano, talks about the very first Summer University organised by their local. “We really had no idea of what a SU could or should be like. There was no official coordinator but only a group of friends who were all coordinators. An invented day-by-day programme, not so full of events or trips, but plenty of curiosity, novelty, friendship, willingness to know each other and prove the stereotypes wrong”. And the stereotypes crashed for sure. With the “military” precision and punctuality in the years to follow, some participants claimed You can’t act like that! You’re Italian! The excitement for the next years only increased. The project grew, evolved, and came to what we know as a SU today.”

At the moment there are truly a lot of different Summer Universities offered. (...) However, all of it started with 16 Antennae organising two weeks (one even three weeks) of language training and a lot of fun

The time came to diversify the summer experience and so did AEGEE-Eindhoven in 1996 with the very first Bike SU, even if stepping away from tradition is not always easy. As Michiel van Hees, SU organiser says: “All in all it was much more difficult, much more work, but also much more fun and more stories to tell your grandchildren. I still look back at those great two weeks with great participants and organisers”. Their efforts did not go in vain and locals, still today, do their best to improve their ideas. If AEGEE-Eindhoven managed to do around 300 km in two weeks, some years later, in 2012,

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AEGEE-Köln, together with AEGEE-Düsseldorf, managed to make their participants bike and accomplished almost 550 km in only seven days. We never stop improving! The first IT courses were offered at a Summer University way back in 1989. Yet AEGEE-Patra together with AEGEE-Peiraias kept the tradition alive even in 2012. Their ITSU was one of the most surprising and popular events of the year. Even though the participants were split up into “IT nerds” and “AEGEE nerds”, this didn’t stop the AEGEE-spirit from infecting each and every one of them. Moreover, as George Dimitrakopoulos, the main SU organiser, says: “We wanted to organise an IT event with the main objective of developing the new Online Membership System (OMS)”. Who says you can’t kill two birds with one stone?

Volunteering Summer University 2004 by AEGEE-Zaragoza

With the idea to put all the positive SU energy to a good use, AEGEE-Zaragoza came up with the idea of a Volunteering Summer University. The first one, with four more to follow, took place in the summer of 2004. As the participants travelled around small villages in Spain, they played with children, made performances, supported immigrants to help fights against discrimination and xenophobia, etc. The theme song of the VSU was “Imagine” by John Lennon, and as so we would like you to imagine too all the possibilities and opportunities that our SU project can give to you. You won’t be disappointed. The Summer University project remains the same. It always improves, finds new possibilities, and conquers new heights.

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A GREAT HELP FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES Monica Ratiu | AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca

The

Summer University project is a very complex one requiring resources, whether they are material or intellectual . City Halls, universities and other institutions, as well as companies, get involved in the Summer University project every year, helping antennae with the needed support. Whether we are talking about lodging, rooms for courses, promotional materials, or city tour guides, institutions are always welcomed in being AEGEE’s partners. It is not always easy to find such partners in every city where a Summer University is organised. The most important factor for the partners is to understand the role that NGOs play in the development of a city, says Liana Miclaus, event responsible at Cluj-Napoca City Hall: “It is a foregone fact that a democratic society requires the involvement of all its citizens, younger generations and non-profit organisations included. Ever since we started having joint projects with AEGEE, Cluj-Napoca City Hall has always recognised AEGEE’s significant component to our civil society and our involvement and support to them has developed greatly since we started working together.”

The most important factor for the partners is to understand the role that NGOs play in the development of a city

Even if the main concern for which we turn to institutions for the Summer University project is lodging and equipment, we must not forget that moral support is also necessary. It is crucial for an NGO to have the patronage or the support, even if it is not financial, while organising events, as more doors will be open for them and they will be broadly known and accepted for their work. In any case, it is not only NGOs benefiting from the collaboration with the institutions, but also the other way round. Indeed, there are two types of benefits : the short term ones, because the events organised help citizens and foreigners know the city; and the long term ones, since people who get to know and like the city will come back or advice other friends and acquaintances to come over. During a Summer University, people from other countries visit a new city and explore its local culture, habits, and people.

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This is the major benefit from our project. And the best part in it is that not only does the city benefit from it, but also the participants do. What can be more useful than getting to know a city in a fun way? This is better underlined by AEGEE antennae mottos “In the Heart of Transylvania, meet, love, discover Europe!” or “I’ve lost my heart in Heidelberg”.

What can be more useful than getting to know a city in a fun way?

With all the recommendations received from AEGEE members all over Europe who have visited cities like Maribor, ClujNapoca or Lanzarote and fell in love with them, we cannot deny that the Summer University project has had a big contribution in those cities winning the title of European Youth Capital or, at least, being nominated for it. Another important, yet not crucial aspect in this collaboration is continuity. Cluj-Napoca City Hall is a good example of this aspect, being AEGEE-Cluj’s partners from the early years since they first got involved in the Summer University project. As Liana Miclaus points out: “We are always open to support the initiatives that have a significant impact on the local community and on the development of both local and foreign people”.

Official opening of Cluj Napoca’s 2012 TSU

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MAKE YOUR SELECTION - RISE TO FAME! Alfredo Sellitti | AEGEE-Salerno

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years ago Internet was not what we are used to have now. No Facebook, Twitter, no e-mails not even a smartphone. 25 years ago we didn’t have a Schengen area, and no low-cost flights were available. Still, 25 years ago, Europe was already our playground. 25 years ago students didn’t have so many possibilities to travel as today, but you could feel already the wish to discover, meet friends and build up a better Europe. AEGEE was already there lighting up the dream of a unified Europe without borders, and students from a few corners of Europe had, for the first time in their students’ career, the perspective to learn from their foreign peers, the occasion to travel abroad during summer time, the wish to bring back emotions and knowledge to complete their studies at the best.

25 years ago students didn’t have so many possibilities to travel as today, but you could feel already the wish to discover, meet friends and build up a better Europe

25 years ago AEGEE tried out an experiment that became, year after year, the longest and most successful project ever: the Summer University.

A fortnight of experience, culture, and knowledge in a foreign country while resting and enjoying holidays. The combination was amazing since the very beginning, bringing, together with the success, the hard but necessary steps of selecting participants. The combination was simply too great not to be famous, and way more people than available places applied to enjoy their Summer University around Europe. How to select participants? It was clear that locals could not handle all the applications by themselves, a European coordination was needed – that’s why a local, at the beginning, was appointed to handle that coordination. SUCT didn’t exist yet, nor the Internet: SU description was submitted on paper and sent to the coordinating local , which would then collect all the descriptions and send them to the Network. And, of course, get back the applications from the members and make a preselection: for the year 1989, the second year of the Summer University Project, there were 2500 applications for just 475 places!

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This pre-selection was very similar to what happens today: out of the three choices available in the application a computer sorted out the participants comparing the local of the applicant, their mother tongue, and their knowledge of the target language, addressing a list of possible participants to locals, who would have the duty to make the final selection. The easy move of today was way slower and longer, and once the pre-selection was made, it was necessary to send the pre-selected participants to locals in order to make the final selection – meaning sending via snail mail all the applications!

For the year 1989, the second year of the Summer University Project, there were 2500 applications for just 475 places!

And then, both today as well as 25 years ago, local organisers could proceed with the selection, creating their own system and trying to balance participants and select the ones fitting most of the programme and their very own expectations. Everything is easier today. Year after year the IT knowledge got better and the whole process became way easier: everything moves virtually, no more snail mails and phone calls but rather e-mails and Facebook made the process work smoother. In the next two pages you’ll see how things have changed in these twenty-five years. Grandfather and gradson together: the picture in the left is the very first registration form from 1988; the one in the right, the very last online form, from 2013. However, the concept hasn’t changed that much: on a central level the system avoids pre-selecting members twice for the same local, or too many members from the same local applying to the same SU. And, of course, the biggest fun remains the final stage, when the organising local finally gets all the motivation letters and has the duty to decide, out of those words, who will participate.

From organisers’ point of view, selection is probably one of the funniest moments organising a Summer University

From the organisers’ point of view, selection is probably one of the funniest moments organising a Summer University: few lines, some expectations, gathering all staff members together to read, comment and have fun, imagining how the participant would be or behave from their presentation: their Summer University, at the end of the day, will also be amazing thanks to their participants!

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1988 form


2013 form

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CONNECTING THE CAUCASUS REGION TO EUROPE SINCE 2006 Miguel Gallardo Albajar | Projects Director of AEGEE-Europe

When

I got accepted for the Travelling Summer University (TSU) in Caucasus in 2006, I could have never imagined how this journey would inspire me. I had already been to two Summer Universities before, in Central Turkey and in Montenegro, and if I applied for a third one it was, of course, because I had already fallen in love with the project. I had been preselected for another SU, but since that one had to be cancelled, I got the possibility to apply for this TSU, and I dared to do it, even if it was already the most popular one of that year. It was a SU taking place in the Caucasus area for the first time - AEGEE members would definitely not let the opportunity escape. Luckily, my convincing letter got me in, and I joined the other participants. AEGEE-Tbilisi and AEGEE-Bak覺 were very young antennae, but before arriving there I could feel that they had everything very well organised. I guess that when you plan to travel with 25 young Europeans around Georgia and Azerbaijan you obviously need massive preparations and a great team of motivated members to make it happen. Both AEGEE locals were ready for the challenge and so were we, the participants. We started our trip in Tbilisi, where the Georgian part of the organising team welcomed us warmly. The list of things that surprised me most during the time we spent in Georgia was huge, from the striking language and alphabet, to the delicious food and the love that Georgians profess to music, singing, and dancing. The city of Tbilisi was very interesting, but even more so were the areas outside it that we had the chance to visit, with rivers, lakes, and impressive mountains. In fact I still have a pending visit there, and that is to climb Mt. Kazbeg after the trip to Gergeti, and the Holy Trinity Church, with its breathtaking landscapes. When we arrived in Bak覺 the same feeling of amazement appeared, as, even if they are neighbouring countries, Azerbaijan

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Front cover of the 2006 Summer University Booklet


and Georgia share very few features at first glance. Everything looked different there, the city on the Caspian shore, the architecture, the way people were dressed, the gastronomy... it took me a whole day to start finding out how many things they share with Georgia: the sense of hospitality, the love for music and dancing, the strength of traditions. We visited several places near the capital, like Sheki and Qobustan. My favourite visits were, however, the mud volcanoes and the city of Sumqayit, the former because they are extremely rare on Earth and the latter because industrial areas are not often included in tours for foreigners, even if the importance of those industries is crucial for understanding the past, present, and future of Azerbaijan.

I came back from the trip as a different person because of the people I met there and the things we went through

Still, all the wonders of the Caucasus would not have been enough to produce the impact this TSU had on me. I came back from the trip as a different person because of the people I met there and the things we went through: participants with an extreme appetite for learning and discovering the Caucasus, and organisers for whom AEGEE was the door to an otherwise ethereal and far away Europe, always hospitable and kind and with the great smile of those who are enjoying their work... We were a family, and as a family we reacted when we were suddenly stricken by tragedy in the middle of the event. A car hit two of the participants on the street, with fatal consequences for our friend Elisabeth and grave injuries for Uros. No doubt that was one of those situations you can never be prepared for... Nevertheless, the reaction from the organisers after such a shocking event was determined, well coordinated, and extremely caring. They contacted families, they took care of all of us, and we all supported each other. We managed to put our broken spirit together and we continued the trip, as we could not leave any of us alone through our mourning. Hard times forge characters, and all of us learned that day that we should not take anything for granted, that any given day is an opportunity you have to grasp. The next days we grew wiser, older, and became altogether stronger.

Just after coming back, I realised that what I had lived through would be a motivation for me to become a true AEGEEan, not only to enjoy travelling, but also to put all my effort in service of the AEGEE Spirit

Just after coming back, I realised that what I had lived through would be a motivation for me to become a true AEGEEan, not only to enjoy the travelling, but also to put all my effort in serTwenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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vice of the AEGEE Spirit. Soon I became president of AEGEEAlicante and just a few months later, I took my first steps at the European Level, teaming up with other AEGEE enthusiasts for different projects, such as reviving the Environmental Working Group and launching a new project on Sustainability in Europe. Several years have passed and I am still active, currently as part of the ComitĂŠ Directeur of AEGEE. Moreover, since 2006 AEGEE has been travelling to the region summer after summer, connecting youth from the South of the Caucasus Mountains to the rest of Europe.

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Satellital view of the Caucasus Region and the AEGEE Locals in the area


A NEW LOGO FOR THE SUMMER UNIVERSITY PROJECT Maurits Korse & Gerardo García Díaz SUCT Publications Responsibles 11/12 and 12/13 respectively

At

the beginning of the SUCT 2011-2012 term we discussed within the team about the balance between tuition and holidays on a Summer University. For sure this is a topic often covered by different SUCTS, by the Comité Directeur and during many Agorae. In the recent years we have seen more proposals during the latter about increasing the content and the quality assurance of the Summer University Project. So if this discussion has been taking place for some time, the question to ask would be where it comes from. Do we want the Summer University project to change? Do we have the feeling that the project has been losing quality over the recent years and in order to increase and assure the quality we have to impose more rules?

In the recent years we have seen more proposals during the latter about increasing the quality assurance of the Summer University Project

Well, the answer is not uniform. One of the indirect reasons why to develop the Summer University further is our network slowly changing due to the changing environment AEGEE itself has to manoeuvre in. And even though this changing environment does not cause any problems at the moment, there is a great possibility it will, sooner or later. And it is not only because of the changing environment, but also the dialectics of the lead is another of the indirect reasons why the network, and thus its projects, is developing and changing. So what is this changing environment then? To start with, AEGEE will see a greatly reduced income from public funds in the upcoming years. So new ways have to be found to gain income in order to keep providing our network with the facilities and services we have built over the past years.

The logo of the Summer University Project since 1997 (or earlier?), 2006 and 2010 respectively

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Having a look at the logo, we concluded that it did not fit the ideal we were after, that is to say, increasing both the content in Summer Universities and the possibility to raise funds with this enormous project. In fact ours is a very contradictory logo. On the one hand, it is a funny smiling sun; but on the other, it pretends to be a teacher and have a serious side. Two characteristics that are difficult to match and certainly to understand for people who see it for the first time. For that reason we carried out a small survey about the identity of the Summer University project, and in particular the logo.

People were very much divided on the question whether they thought the Summer University Project needed a new logo

People were very much divided on the question whether they thought the Summer University Project needed a new logo. Many responses were strong opinions and included emotional arguments. It is not strange if you think that Summer Universities can be life-changing and people have great memories and thoughts about them, all triggered by a small smiling sun with a graduation cap on. The results showed however a slight majority in favour of changing the logo, 55%, versus 45% against changing it. Market research on logos of youth summer schools, universities and local summer camps

After the survey we started the process of looking for a new logo. One of the many responses in the survey was that the logo should look more professional and more appealing. The sun with cap on is not a logo that would convince potential partners to support this project, and therefore to support AE-

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GEE. After some market research we concluded that our logo fit well within the quickly designed logos of small local organisations trying to arrange a summer school or summer camp. Market research on logos of travel agencies and organisations

If we want to achieve the goal of making the Summer University project look more professional and act according to its image as a trustworthy partner for other organisations it would be nice to have a look at other organisations with the same intention. For example, if we have a look at other travel-focused organisations (see the image) then we will not see any smiley or personalised faces in their logos. Why? Because they would look childish and unable to act as a trustworthy partner. Neither for cooperation, nor for potential customers. However, in order to portray the travelling behind them, some resources do come back often: the shape of the sun, bright colours, icons of faraway destinations, or icons representing what they serve you, such as flights, biking tours, hikes, etc.

The one we finally chose still has the icon of the sun, but without the face. Instead, in order to make it more dynamic, we changed the bottom part of the sun to represent water

After consulting more people in the network, from general members to designers, a couple of ideas took shape. The one we finally chose still has the icon of the sun, but we removed the face. Instead, in order to make it more dynamic, we changed the bottom part of the sun to represent water. Therefore the logo can be interpreted as a dawn or a sunset. Dawn in the sense of a fresh start, a beginning of something new. And sunset identifies with warm evenings, a recap of a great day, and a moment to share with Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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close ones. Finally, the name of the project was included in the logo as it makes it easier for externals to identify us. The clean design suits external representation, likewise it complies well with the serious and content-focused part of the project. The 2012 Summer University Project logo, by Maurits Korse

However, the question arising now is how important a different logo for the Summer University project is. At the end of the day the Summer University project belongs to AEGEE, and AEGEE is, for many people, no more and no less than Summer Universities. Would it not be better to use a visually similar logo to represent this unity? In order to ask this question, the logo was further developed for the 2013 Summer University period, and two alternative versions were presented. The compact “SUnset”, which is an evolution of the 2012’s one according to AEGEE’s Visual Identity and the extended “Key of SUmmer” that moves the shape of the SU logo closer to AEGEE’s one. It also features a slogan celebrating the project’s 25th year: “Exploring European Cultural Diversity since 1988”. “SUnset” as part of “Key of SUmmer”, the 2013 Summer University Project logo, by Gerardo García Díaz

The main goal of a Visual Identity is that it can last on time, and survive for years with just some polishing. Whether this logo will do so is impossible to know. What we do know is that it will be the graphic image for the starting of, at least, another 25 years of Summer Universities.

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The very lastest (2013) Summer University Project poster, a tribute to 1992-1995 and 2006 booklets’ front cover, featuring “Key of SUmmer” logo for the very first time


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EUROPEAN NIGHT - A KEY TO INTEGRATION Maciej Gąd | Les Anciens

Every

year hundreds of young people from all over Europe decide to go to a Summer University and have the adventure of their lives. Every single SU is a true mix of cultures and nationalities. Despite the fact that nowadays Europe has less borders than ever, in many aspects, it is still not easy to smoothly get along with someone from a completely different cultural background than yours. How do organisers of Summer Universities deal with that? They have one special tool, which is as old as the Summer University project itself. It’s called European Night. Jean Anthelme Brillant-Savarin, a French writer, once said: “Tell me what you eat, I will tell you who you are”. This describes perfectly the idea of a European Night, which is the conditio sine qua non of every Summer University. Basically, during one evening, every country represented in the SU is welcomed to present specific traditional food and beverages, brought especially for this occasion. Moreover, participants very often go further than that and also dress in traditional clothes, sing songs, show traditional dances, etc. During this one single night you can have pure Europe for the asking.

After one European Night, stereotypes will be overthrown, mind borders will dissapear, and all the people coming from different backgrounds will become true Europeans

Want to try Spanish tortilla? No problem. What is that noise over there? Just the Italians singing “Bella Ciao!”. Do you have a sweet tooth? Turkish delights or Polish bird’s milk are both delicious! Ever tasted Maltese Bajtra made from prickly pear? Now’s your chance! If you’re a beer fan, than there’s no better combination than Czech beer and Bavarian sausage. Is dancing your biggest passion? Then you must learn the steps of this Azeri dance! And look how elegant this Moldavian traditional shirt is! Want to get rich? Dutch Goldwasser might even help with that! After one European Night, stereotypes will be overthrown, mind borders will disappear, and all the people coming from different backgrounds will become true Europeans, with open minds and convictions, creating this one big European family. This is the main aim that the Summer University Project strives for.

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European Night: the taste of Europe condensed in some tables

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THE OTHER SIDE: BEING AN ORGANISER! Monica Ratiu | AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca

AEGEE

is as much about participating in events, as it is about organising them. Many members of AEGEE begin being active after participating in a Summer University. The process of organising a Summer University might look difficult at a first glance, but after the starting of the work, everything simplifies. Of course, there will always be some unpredictable details which might cause headaches, but after months of work and the weeks spent with the participants, everything is forgotten and the only thing that one sees is the smiles upon everybody’s faces.

The process of organising a Summer University might look difficult at a first glance, but after the starting of the work, everything simplifies

Both Ani Zakareishvili from AEGEE-Tiblisi and Zoi-Vasiliki Karapati from AEGEE-Athina have experience as organisers and participants in Summer Universities ever since they joined AEGEE, and they have shared some information about their experience. The reasons for joining the organising team of a Summer University depends on every person. It may be, for instance, for the experience that one gains: It gives you knowledge on how to arrange things, a whole new perspective on how things are really done... Plus organising a SU gives you an opportunity to meet people. It is professional development and also some fun, what could be better?, says Ani to that concern. Zoi doesn’t mention anything different: I wanted to support my antenna and also experience a SU from the organisers’ point of view, replies our Greek member. The process of organising a Summer University begins early in winter, right after the Summer University Coordination Team opens the registration process for the SU theme. It depends on every antenna how they manage their time, which can differ from a rush two months to six months or more. It also depends on the complexity of the activities and the length of the trip itself.

It (organising) gives you knowledge on how to arrange things, a whole new perspective on how things are really done

For some countries, the geographical position on the map

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“The advantage of being organiser in a SU is that it gives you the possibility to get to know the participants better in your SU, even if it is also a great responsability”

might be an inconvenient in the organisation, but, as nothing is impossible, every challenging aspect can be turned into a positive advantage. There are lots of cities that are not cheap to travel to, for example Tiblisi, Sankt-Peterburg or Baku, and in fact it often represents an additional obstacle to attract SU participants. But on the other hand, there are always participants who really want to visit these places, they are truly interested in the culture and this makes the cultural part of the SU easier and more engaging. There is also the other part of the story, where antennae are pretty much “helped” by low cost airlines to attract members regardless of their geographical position, antennae enjoying many extra seasonal flights from many countries that the participants can use in order to reach them. Accessibility has never been a big problem for a lot of AEGEE cities when organising a Summer University. The advantage of being an organiser in a Summer University is that it gives you the possibility to get to know the participants better in your SU, even if it is also a great responsibility. We have also asked our two members about the role they enjoyed the most, and their answers are again quite similar. For Ani, both being an organiser and a participant have different places in her heart: As participants we have more free time and we are more relaxed, whereas as an organiser you feel more responsible and surely you will have more stuff to worry about, Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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she remarks. Both of them have given me amazing experiences and unforgettable memories, adds Zoi. Even though both participants and organisers spend a part of their lives together sharing a lot of themselves to others, there are still some things that differentiate them. There are so many things the organiser has to take care of, before the SU starts and also during it. Even the smallest detail makes a difference and there are always some surprises they will face along the way. However it is also very rewarding, especially in the end, when seeing the participants happy with a big smile in their faces makes the organisers realise that all the effort and time they put throughout the year was definitely worth it!

Being organiser is not an easy job, but it definitely gives some satisfaction back

As we already mentioned, being an organiser is not an easy job, but it definitely gives some satisfaction back. Ani and Zoi give some advice to those who would like to be part of the Summer University project as organisers: Give your very best and you will get it all back!, Ani advices. AEGEE, in most occasions, is an organisation where you get as much pleasure and satisfaction as you put in it. Plus, organising an event gives you a inside perspective and a better understanding of how things are made in the real world. From my small experience, Zoi says as his mind gets full of SU memories, I could say that the organisers-to-be have to be very responsible and dedicated to what they do. They need to start the organisation of the SU quite early and take it step by step. Everything has to be done in the right moment. Cooperation and respect between all organisers is essential, and so is maintaining a good communication with all the participants before and during the SU” The Summer University project is so complex that it is hard to be described in just a few words. Still, the girls have chosen the three words that describe best what, in their opinion, a SU is. For Ani those are no other that “Overwhelming fun and excitement”, and for Zoi “Life changing experience!” And the girls are right: the Summer University, whether one experiences it as a participant or as an organiser, is a life changing event: you meet people, gain experience, get to know different cultures, spend days and nights in a country that for some of us would be difficult to reach in other ways, and you are always satisfied when people leave your country with the desire to come back again thanks to your hard work and dedication.

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ESSU WHAT? Miguel Gallardo Albajar | Projects Director of AEGEE-Europe

The

most recognised brand in AEGEE is for sure the Summer University project. Every AEGEE member associates these two words, or even the short version, SU, with unforgettable holidays, everlasting friendships, discovery of new cultures, and endless days full of activities. But there is another combination of two words which is also very easily recognised within AEGEE. The “European School” name brings promptly to the minds of all AEGEE members the concepts of self-development, learn-by-doing, intense days full of workshops, and preparing the AEGEE leaders of tomorrow; all combined in one full week packed with workshops and training sessions on project management, soft skills, personal development, and leadership.

The “European School” name brings promply to the minds of all AEGEE members the concepts of self-development, learn-by-doing, intense days of workshops, and preparing the AEGEE leaders of tomorrow

If the SUs are the door to the AEGEE world for thousands of new members every year, the trainings organised by AEGEE-Academy under the ES brand have shaped generations of active AEGEEans, who year after year take AEGEE one step further, with new projects, revolutionary ideas, and contagious motivation.

It was during a board meeting of the AEGEE-Academy in Brussels during January 2012 that it was decided to combine the two events in one, joining efforts with the rest of Working Groups and Projects in AEGEE in raising the quality of the content in Summer Universities by proposing a European School Summer University (ESSU). It was an idea which had been over the table in the board meetings for already some months. A document for the guidelines of collaboration was drafted and the idea was launched to the network for the SUs of 2012. The ESSUs had been born. As it happens in many cases of great ideas in AEGEE, soon it was discovered that it was not the first time our members had thought about it. Still, in the previous occasions the idea had been dropped due to different kinds of complications. However this time the idea went

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on, and all of a sudden three brave antennae found the idea attractive enough to dare to become the first host locals of ESSUs: Debrecen, Patra and Ploieşti. It happened to be a complicated situation to manage three European Schools at the same time. First, the deadlines of the SU project are not 100% compatible with the timeline of a ES. Second, the presumption that there would be plenty of trainers available in the summer was too optimistic, and to cover all vacant positions and to provide the intended quality trainings was not possible. It was too ambitious for a first year to deal with three ESSUs. Luckily, Ploieşti was able to adapt their plans to a normal SU, and dealing only with Patra and Debrecen was easier. In any case, in the end, AEGEE-Academy managed to build up trainer teams for both Patra and Debrecen under the leadership of experienced trainers. The ESSUs were finally under control.

Some of the participants were not really aware of the kind of Summer University they had joined, and it took some time for them to adapt to the working format of the ES

When participants arrived at the ESSUs the trainers faced an unexpected challenge, though. Some of the participants were not really aware of the kind of Summer University they had joined, and it took some time for them to adapt to the working scheme of the ES. This meant extra work for the trainers, which had to focus on motivating the participants during the first days. Luckily, the European School is a well-tested structure and soon participants were involved in the learning process and enjoying the training sessions as much as the cultural visits or the leisure activities. It was not an easy trip, but in the end this is the kind of challenging experience that a trainer gets the most out of. When at the end of the SU you see that the participants have developed and have grown to a new level, you realise that all those efforts were worth, and you become a better trainer, ready for a new challenge. Also local organisers grow proud when they see the participants of their ESSU already taking responsibilities in local and European projects. This article cannot be closed without thanking the three locals that believed in the project: AEGEE-Ploieşti, AEGEE-Patra and AEGEE-Debrecen; the managers and

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trainers which made it possible with their passion and motivation, and the participants who enjoyed working hard during the hot summer days. It was a bumpy road, but in the end it reached the aimed destination.

It was not an easy trip, but in the end this is the kind of challenging experience that a trainer gets the most out of

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The AEGEE-Academy board which launched the ESSUs was composed of Edouard Mougin, Luis Alvarado MartĂ­nez, Esperanza RodrĂ­guez Medina, Miguel Gallardo Albajar, Florence I.J. Franks and Miroslava Ganzarcikova.

ESSU 2012 in Patra


THE SUMMER THAT CHANGED MY LIFE Zoi-Valsiliki Karapati | AEGEE-Athina

Can

a Summer University of AEGEE change your life? The answer is yes! It might not have been my first one, nor my last, but “TRy the TRansylvanian TRail” was the best Summer University I ever attended! I do not really know why I chose Romania in 2010, but there was something - maybe destiny - telling me to join that particular SU in Transylvania. I just applied, without having second thoughts, and it turned out to be the best choice for me.

I won’t tell you much about how beautiful Transylvania is (...) because what made that SU so special were the people who were involved in it

I won’t tell you much about how beautiful Transylvania is. I won’t write about the imposing mountains, the green countryside, the lively cities, the mysterious castles, the delicious food, and the well organised activities we all enjoyed. I will focus on the people. Because what made that SU so special were the people who were involved in it: 35 participants from all over Europe, and 10 organisers from AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca. We spent only two weeks together, but that was enough time for the creation of a very special bond between us. We all had different personalities, but somehow, through a common sense of humour, common interests, and the great willingness to interact with each other, we managed to form a unique group that had fun in every activity. We were all positive, open-minded, friendly, funny. We played, we talked, we danced, we learned, we fell in love, we challenged and discovered ourselves a bit more. We became real friends. On the last day of the SU I had tears in my eyes, but they were tears of joy and gratitude for all the experiences I had lived, for all the people I had met.

There are many of us who became more active in our Antenna after that summer, and I believe this is not a coincidence

So the SU ended, but the story of this wonderful group continues to this very day. There are many of us who became more active in our Antenna after that summer, and I believe this is not a coincidence. Personally, I got very inspired and I wanted to contribute much more to AEGEE, so first I became Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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“I feel that I have made some friends for good”

a member of my local board and then its president. The same thing happened with seven other persons from different locals! Others even got involved on European level. There is no doubt this SU had a great impact on us. It was impossible to quit that easily on what we call “the AEGEE spirit”. We wanted more! What is also amazing is that many of us still keep in touch after more than two years. And we also want to see each other as often as possible, so apart from some AEGEE events where we occasionally meet (General Assemblies, etc.), we organise our own reunions as well. So far, we have had one in Greece, for the Carnival, and one in Poland, for New Year’s Eve; and we are always in search of the next opportunity to meet. There is an open house for each one of us in every country where our friends live, and we are happy to host each other anytime - it has already happened in Greece, Spain, Poland, Russia, and Romania.

The summer of 2010 changed my life for the better, and I am very grateful for that

I feel that I have made some friends for good. They are spread all over Europe, but I know I can contact them anytime and we can talk, laugh, and make plans together. The summer of 2010 changed my life for the better, and I am very grateful for that. Thank you, AEGEE-Cluj-Napoca! Thank you, my Transylvanian friends! Thank you, AEGEE!

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ONE WEEK TO CREATE THE PERFECT SU Michael Sznajder | AEGEE-Warszawa

Hearing

the words “Summer University” always brings to my mind nice memories and warm feelings. The first time I heard about it was during my first few days after joining AEGEE-Lublin in the beginning of 2009. Many experienced members shared with me stories about it: “Every local is proud of organising their SU”, “The Summer University time period is an important one in every AEGEE calendar”, “The SU project is the most important one for the majority of locals all over Europe”, they would say.

It was then when I realised the essential point of AEGEE — it’s about being European and about being part of this unique event

I wanted to see it for myself, live this thing they called “cultural exchange” and understand what it really meant by joining the local SU team as a helper for three days. It was then when I realised the essential point of AEGEE - it’s about being European and about being a part of this unique event. As a newbie in AEGEE, after this Summer University I was motivated by my board to organise a SU as a coordinator. And magic started to happen. I didn’t know anything about leading a team, or about organising such big events. I didn’t attend at any training about management either. Luckily this is AEGEE and everybody was very helpful. I learned in practice, step by step with regular support and with a great SU team. I was warned that it would be a very stressful time for a coordinator but all doubts left me after the first few days – of course, we worked hard but we had still energy thanks to the participants’ smiles and grateful words that motivated us. The expression “the biggest inspiration is people” was proven right throughout our Travelling Summer University, best Polish SU and top 20 SU in Europe. I felt like I had become addicted to Summer Universities and couldn’t wait to do more! I wanted to share my experience, to give some hints, tricks, advice – and so I did, at a workshop about organising SU’s at two Network Meetings in Warszawa and Toruń. Meanwhile I attended the Summer University Project School (SUPS) in Krakow 2011 - my first week of training course. It was a course bound to be perfect for future organi-

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sers, but it made me wonder what advantages it could give me after having been an organiser in three Summer Universities already. I reviewed my knowledge, and, what’s more important, it was a platform where we could exchange our ideas and discover that we can organise SUs in many different ways using stories and experiences from others! I was very surprised that after this brief training everything speeded up in my AEGEE career (like becoming the president of one of the most active locals in Poland: AEGEE-Warszawa). It was a wind of change that pushed me to take more challenging decisions, to share my knowledge with more people and give greater help to projects, including the SU.

SUPS 2012 in Ljubljana

The inspiration and experience was so big that I decided to take it to another level, becoming a trainer on European level at the following SUPS in 2012 in Ljubljana. As a trainer I had a lot to share, but I also got new ideas about how to implement solutions to my local’s projects, to my local SU. Thanks to the active participants every SUPS is different, and you always have a specific topic inside all areas of action: Human Resources, Public Relations, Fundraising, budgeting, logistics, incoming, leadership, management, etc. After each day there is a case study where participants can use what they have learned a few minutes ago on that very day – truly brilliant learning system. Moreover, you learn during SUPS how to manage a project through an example of the most important projects in AEGEE – the SU. After the training I was more than sure that every participant and every trainer was much more confident in their future actions – they could even develop and implement those solutions and ideas on a wider level, into SU projects and other activities! We are all still in contact, helping one another realise their dreams. Organising a SU requires passion, willingness to learn about ourselves, and a bit of bravery, since it is the biggest project in the history of AEGEE. Those who attend the Summer University Project School will not only organise a great Summer University, but they will be empowered to achieve greater things in AEGEE and beyond.

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HOW AEGEE GOES BEYOND SOCIETIES Marko Grdosic | AEGEE-Zagreb

What

makes young people different to the older generations is the tolerance our mind has, the easiness of life, no stress, no worries. And this is why young people are the ones with full potential to change society and to change the world. In the following lines you will read a story of a regular Summer University, of hardworking organisers, of enthusiastic participants – something that makes all of the Summer Universities the same. AEGEE-Zagreb organised in that summer 2009 a two weekslong SU together with AEGEE-Rijeka and AEGEE-Zadar. For some of us it was the first organising experience, and a great adventure ahead.

What makes young people different to the older generations is the tolerance our mind has, the easiness of life, no stress, no worries

At the same time, AEGEE-Ljubljana was organising their SU with AEGEE-Beograd and AEGEE-Novi Sad. Another very interesting event to attend After one year in AEGEE, I had got to know a lot of people. Attending the Agorae made me enlarge my list of Facebook friends far beyond expected. And at the same time, I had spent the most of that time hanging around with people from my region, from the Balkans. I had gained friends, in a nutshell, from Ljubljana, Beograd, Novi Sad, Rijeka, Skopje, etc., and some of them were now organising this Summer University, connecting the capitals of Slovenia and Serbia. Since their programme was taking them from Ljubljana to Beograd by bus, it came out as a funny idea for them to stop in Zagreb and join us for a day – city tour, refreshments, dinner, social programme. We would be a bigger group merging those two SUs,a group of around 100 young people. And we made it. The bus arrived in Zagreb from Ljubljana, participants enjoyed the city tour, and afterwards we joined the two SUs for a dinner and the party. I remember it was a great night. The whole bar was rented for us, and lots of friends coming, all of them

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AEGEE friends. People I hadn’t seen since the last Agora. I remember being there all the people that brought me to AEGEE, and all of the ones I owe the length of my stay inside the organisation. The next day they left for Beograd and the programme continued for us. The SU finished, successfully. And the story is over. Period. At first we heard people from the AEGEE Network talking about it, then we saw an article. Few years later most of us don’t talk to each other that often,but we all realised that night what the point of it all was. It wasn’t until the others pointed fingers at it that we noticed the awkwardness of the situation.. We were young people from different countries, former Yugoslavian countries. Our parents might not have been the happiest with what we were doing that night, but we didn’t even consider it. Because in the young person’s mind there is no space for irrelevant and unexisting problems. We don’t create new concerns, we create happiness. Rather than thinking on the country we come from, on the family background or religion, we sometimes care about the other person’s favorite singer, colour of their eyes, or favourite drink.

Participants of Zagreb, Rijeka and Zadar’s 2009 SU

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When someone finally pointed it out, when other cases of other European regions thought to take different sides joined together, we saw the strength and power our activity had. It was an organising team made of different nationalities, coming from locals who didn’t communicate at all until few years before that. It was a process in which we were friends, and we didn’t see ourselves further than that. This is the power young people posses, the power AEGEE members posses. Working together, achieving big things, seeing in each other pure friendship, overcoming the boundaries society sets for us. We should all learn from this, since there is a need for this world to go further. There are still parts of our Network in conflict, and we should find a way to overcome it together. Because in the end, in the very end, we are all the same – not just the future, but the present of Europe, the generation that sees further than the limits.


A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

Pavel Zborník European Institutions and Communications Director of AEGEE-Europe

Let’s

take a look at the Summer University Project from a different perspective, this time as a mobility programme. Would it be possible? No doubts it would. There are many mobility programmes, all of them divided into target groups: young people, people with fewer opportunities, minorities, etc., either organised by governments, states, or international institutions, also NGOs. In order to shortlist the former, and given our fields of work in AEGEE, we will only focus on mobility programmes targeting young people and taking place in Europe. We can find several programmes which facilitate mobility among young people. On the one hand, we have institutional programmes like the Erasmus Programme, Leonardo Da Vinci, or Grundtvig. On the other, we have civil society NGOs whose aims are similar to those big programmes with a greater budget. AEGEE is not the only student NGO providing mobility programmes. Taken into account here should also be IAESTE and AIESEC, which provide internships for students, and many other NGOs working with volunteer programmes in a variety of lengths, either organised just by themselves or in alliance with other NGOs, like, for instance, WWOOF. We can’t forget either civil service programmes such as the European Voluntary Service (EVS), definitely one of the most popular, supported by the Youth in Action programme.

How can we compare Summer Universities with Erasmus or EVS? Not in scale, budget or lenght. (...) However, they may both be compared in terms of experience

Erasmus or European Voluntary Service can be considered the most popular programmes, giving thousands of young people a life changing opportunity. How can we compare Summer University with that? Not in scale, budget or length. No matter how intensive the programme is, six months cannot be compared to our 14 days. However, they may both be compared in terms of experience. In both of them participants will get to know a country, sometimes even neighbouring countries, not to mention the local culture and habits and the variety of nationalities within the group of participants. It is real intercultural learning in practise, in many cases in a very informal and Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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dynamic way. Participants in these programmes experience everyday the adventure of going out of their comfort zones and live the enriching experience of the exchange. Participation in the Summer University Project opens the doors to other possibilities. In fact many students decide to participate in other kinds of mobility programmes because of their experience in a Summer University. In a way they may want to extend that experience, even if it can also be the other way round: attending a SU as a way to remember their Erasmus or EVS period, the good old times. Mobility programmes should be taken into account as they are all linked. The link does not lie on the fields of activity or the thematic framework, but on the participants themselves and the need to continue exploring new intercultural experiences. Today, after these 25 years of the Summer University Project, we reflect on the past, on our achievements and numbers behind this project. Now it is time to look into the future and see which shape the Summer University Project should take from now on. Such a project has quite a big potential and would be a pity not to use it for the benefit of future generations of young people in the Europe to come.

Participation in the Summer University Project opens thedoors to other possibilities. In fact many students decide to participate in other kinds of mobility programmes because their experience in a Summer University

Would it be too daring to say that the Summer University Project will become one day as famous as Erasmus or EVS? It might sound impossible, but, is it? The Summer University Project should overcome its own shadow inside of AEGEE and open itself to a bigger audience, and to not only be an exclusive and closed up programme offered to members of AEGEE but also to any young person which is interested in the experiences offered by the Summer University Project. It doesn’t have to be only AEGEE organising Summer Universities, such an opportunity should also be given to other NGOs that are active on a local level. They should also be allowed to participate and, this way, bring diversity in terms of content in a unique way, to enrich future generations of Europeans and make them more tolerant, open minded, and respectful towards other nations within the continent.

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MUCH MORE THAN EXPECTED Beáta Matuszka Network and Human Resources Director of AEGEE-Europe

The

Summer Universities are often promoted as the opportunity to spend the summer of your life, but what if they are not only providing you with unforgettable memories, but also with a whole set of skills and experience that will be valuable for a lifetime? The knowledge that students can acquire within the formal education framework does not match completely the requirements from the employers. Apart from the specific knowledge for each job, they seek complementary skills and competences which will enable the future employees to become good team-players, to be flexible and adapt to a changing environment, and to be able to learn from the company; thus accustomfast to its dynamic environment. This mismatch causes a great deal of problems when recently graduates look for their first job.

Youth organisations are one of the main providers of non-formal education, and employers are possitive toward these skills.

In order to gain these skills and competences, young people need to go beyond the academic curricula, and this is where youth organisations become an important player, being one of the main providers of non-formal education. Non-formal education can be understood as “an organised educational process which takes place alongside mainstream systems of education and training, and does not typically lead to certification. (…) Often, non-formal education in youth organisations is articulated through learning in groups, interactive, participatory and experiential methodologies.” (Souto-Otero, et al., 2012)

The study on the impact of non-formal education carried out by the European Youth Forum in cooperation with the University of Bath and GHK Consulting showed that the more young people are involved in the activities of youth organisations, the higher the level of their skill development is, thus it may occur that employers have a positive attitude to the young people’s involvement in youth work. The abovementioned finding can be also perceived within AETwenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

55


GEE. Our members can develop their skills and competences through our wide range of events and projects, and the intense two weeks of Summer Universities can be very enriching not only on the cultural and thematic aspect, but also when it comes to acquiring skills that will make both for participants and organisers more attractive applicants for employers. Moreover, the concept of the Summer Universities is continuously evolving to adapt to the changes in society. Not only are the expectations higher from both the organisation and the participants, but the knowledge they can learn and the skills and competences they can develop are also diverse, and planned through a clear set of learning objectives.

The SU is much more than the biggest project in our association. Its contribution to intercultural dialogue, increasing tolerance and its role as the platform for cultural exchange are substantial.

The SU is much more than the biggest project in our association. Its contribution to intercultural dialogue, increasing tolerance and its role as the platform for cultural exchange are substantial. Research among almost 1000 SU participants showed that more than a half of them became active in AEGEE after the SU experience, which enabled the members to further develop themselves. Through the SU project they changed their attitude to volunteering, and almost 80% claimed that the Summer University played an important role in changing their perspective about Europe. Communication and intercultural skills play an important role in the employability of young people, and both skills are well developed during the SUs: more than 87% of the answers were positive regarding feeling more comfortable to communicate with foreigners after participating in a Summer University. In general, more than 88 percents claimed that during the two weeks in question they acquired skills such as project management, team management, leadership, conflict resolution, public speaking skills, tolerance, flexibility, and the abovementioned foreign language and intercultural communication skills. (See the chart at next page for more details)

Communication and intercultural skills plan an important role in the employability of youth people, and both skills are well developed during the SUs

Beside the skills, there are further benefits of attending a Summer University, such as networking and building personal connections, getting to know several aspects of different cultures,

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Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project


obtaining skills relevant for studies or work, and having the opportunity to go beyond one’s comfort zone. It can be clearly seen that the 25 years of Summer Universities have given birth to memories which will remain unforgettable to all participants and organisers. But they have also enriched their skills and developed their competences, since they may have a life changing effect that goes far beyond the increase in employability. Self-confidence is increased, young people are empowered and a new perspective is gained, opening up a wide new world of options for young people. AEGEE has had a huge positive impact in many lives along our history, and in a big majority of the cases, everything started in one of our Summer Universities.

Impact and and Impact Skills and Skills Impact Skills

Tolerance Tolerance Tolerance

Tolerance

Self-confidence Self-confidence Self-confidence

Self-confidence

Culturalawareness awareness Cultural awareness Cultural Cultural awareness Networking Networking Networking Networking FeelingEuropean European Feeling European Feeling Feeling European Leadership Leadership Leadership Leadership Intercultural Intercultural Intercultural communication communication skills communication skills Intercultural communication skills Teammanagement management Team management Team Team management Project management managementProject management Project management Project Foreign language skills Foreignlanguage languageskills skills Foreign Foreign language skills 00

10 10

20 20

78,

78,13 78,13

73,48

73,48 73,48 79,17 79,17

79

79,86 79,86

79

8

81,34 81,34 53,89

53,89 53,89

78,

78,71 78,71 62,47

62,47 62,47

55,38

55,38 55,38

78,

78,83 78,83

10070 30 0 40 4010 50 5020 60 6030 70 7040 80 8050 90 9060 100 100 30

Impact and skills gained during Summer Universities. Percentage means the amount of people that gained that skill over a survey made to 869 AEGEEans

Twenty-Five Years of the Summer University Project

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80


A THANK YOU NOTE

to everybody that took part in this booklet

Editor-in-chief Hara Kogkou Editors Patricia Anthony & Zsófia Komáromi Comité Directeur support Pavel Zborník Design & Layout Gerardo García Díaz Design support Jonathan Del Castillo Gil Journalists Hara Kogkou, Monica Ratiu, Olga Volovyk, Anita Kalmane, Alfredo Sellitti, Miguel Gallardo Albajar, Maurits Korse, Gerardo García Díaz, Maciej Gąd, Zoi-Vasiliki Karapati, Michael Sznajder, Marko Grdosic, Pavel Zborník & Beáta Matuszka Proofreaders Roberto Martínez-Carrasco, Cristina Chismore & John Eikosidekas Statistics Giuseppe Cerciello & Costas Deltouzos Helpers Alma Mozgovaja, Gunnar Erth & Les Anciens

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2000 | The official webpage http://www.aegee.org/su is introduced. The fee is now in Euro. 2002 | New Types: Summer Course, Language Course, Summer Event. Increase of the fee. 2003 | Applicants are now asked to apply via website. TSU organised by 9 spanish antennae travelling through the iberian peninsula. 2004 | The SU on its peak: 96 SUs! SUPS: the first one to be organised. Types: SC, SC+, LC, LC+, TSU, SE. 2006 | The Summer University is just for summer: June to October. Deletion of the Summer Event as a type. SU in Caucasus region! 2007 | 20 years of the SU: Celebration event in Istanbul. 2008 | Increase of the fee: 70e/week for the course and 90e/week for the “plus�. Green SUs 2009 | Types: SC, LC, LC+, TSU, SE 2011 | Deletion of the Summer Event 2012 | 25 years of the SU! Types: Summer Course, Summer Course +, Travelling SU. Duration: from June utill September.



25 Years of Summer University Project