How do I actually pronounce AEGEE? What does the acronym mean?
The acronym AEGEE is of French origin and therefore should be pronounced [ah-eh-ʒeh]. It stands for Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe which translates as European students’ forum.
I have already heard about the AIESEC organization. Is AEGEE something similar?
Even though at first glance these organisations might seems similar (name, blue colour, many abbrevations, similar target group of students) then in reality they are fundamentally different. AIESEC as worldwide largest student association provides internships of between 2 and 12 months with additional training. AEGEE as the largest European student association stands for European integration etc. AEGEE unites students of various aimings and skills, and it doesn’t have any national level since its cornerstones are individual university towns and its members. AEGEE membership is based solely on voluntary basis and is not obliged to any compulsory work or responsibility. We value our members for their personalities, not for their participation. Among our greatest benefits are active cooperation with the European institutions, interculture exploring, wide scope, and the opportunity for improving language, managerial, and travel skills of our members.
I still don’t get it. What is AEGEE doing?
You’re not the only one in this case. The actual question is: What is AEGEE not doing? It is difficult to sum up what AEGEE includes but basically we organise events with an European reference. Here everyone can be part of several working groups, committees and projects on a local or European level. It doesn’t matter if you are a law student, IT-guy, or International Culture and Business Studies student. Maybe you just want to travel the world on low expenses and get to know new people? This is also a main part of AEGEE. The best is to not get scared off by the prime confusion – the experienced members help you with all questions you have. After one semester you totally got everything and turned into a real AEGEEan.
What activities make up most part of an AEGEE membership?
A member of AEGEE has lots of various activities to choose from. He or she can attend meetings, keep in touch with other AEGEE-Tallinn members, and attend ou events. The member may also be involved – directly or indirectly – in the decision making and organizing. Furthermore, the membership entitles people to attend tens of workshops, conferences, trips, language courses, seminars, and projects that are held throughout the year all over Europe. There is also a possibility to take part in exchanges with the other AEGEE antennas in various European cities and towns, to host foreign AEGEE-members in Tallinn, or to travel individually and visit friends abroad.
What types of people join AEGEE? What is a typical member like?
AEGEE is an interdisciplinary organization (contrary to, for instance, business administration or medical students’ organizations), therefore the membership structure is very varied in Europe as well as in the Estpnia. It is primarily the main idea and hobbies such as travelling, exploring new countries and cultures, meeting people, a will to be involved in something interesting, and motivation to change something, that connects AEGEE members. Among them are students and graduates from the Taltech, Tallinn University, Estonian Business School, and other institutions.
In which European cities can I find AEGEE antennas?
The local offices are scattered almost across the whole Europe and also a bit beyond, for instance in Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Find the map of the network here: http://aegee-tallinn.ee/en/map-of-the-network/
Is AEGEE present elsewhere in Estonia?
AEGEE-Tartu is present in Tallinn. There are no AEGEE antennae elsewhere in Estonia. However, if there is a group of enthusiastic young people that are willing to make a long-term commitment, it is possible to initiate an antenna. The instructions for starting an antenna can be found here, the process of becoming from contact to a proper antenna is described here.
Is it possible to travel with AEGEE? Does it arrange excursions or something similar?
AEGEE does not work as a travel company, it is a valuable platform where you can gain interesting contacts and friends from all over Europe and take part in tens of exciting events held from Portugal to Ural. The events are organized by students for students and their purpose is not a financial gain. That’s why AEGEE events represent a very favourable way how to explore other countries compared to other types of travelling. However, the main advantage is something else: while abroad, you are not being viewed as a tourist, but rather as a friend, so you get to places that might stay hidden to other people. Not speaking about the way how you get to know the culture and language! Current members will be happy to share their useful travel experiences. Whoever has travelled somewhere with AEGEE, has gotten bored to death with travelling with a travel agency.
What are the Summer Universities?
The idea of Summer universities was established in the 80s to support travelling and interculture exploring of young people. Students organize about two week long stay in their country for other students (a mixed group of about 30 people from all around Europe). Participants have a chance to get to know local culture and way of life and to build new friendships. The events are thematically focused (for instance on dance, music, languages, sport, history, and so forth) and costs usually don’t exceed 200 euros, food and accommodation included. Many of our former members say that the two weeks spent at the Summer University have been the best weeks of the whole year, and they take part every year again and again. Apart from the valuable contacts from the whole Europe, they have experienced the foreign country in a way that not everyone is lucky enough to go through. AEGEE-Tallinn organizes its own Summer University as well, sometimes with cooperation with some of the neighbouring antennas.
Everyone is talking about travelling but my budget as a student is so limited. How do they afford that?
AEGEE is actively engaged in fundraising and applying for various European Commission grant so that international events would be accessible for AEGEE members. Therefore, there are many events with 0€ participation fee and offer possibility to apply for partial or full travel costs reimbursement.
How big is AEGEE-Tallinn?
AEGEE-Tallinn has close to 40 members of which one thrid is active. Our board officially consists of three, but other members also more or less contribute to the management of the organisation.
Is it necessary to be a member in order to take part in AEGEE-Tallinn events?
No, the events organized by AEGEE-Tallinn are open to everyone. You can come and see by yourself how AEGEE works, meet the people, take part in some of the events held across the Czech Republic and only then decide whether you will join us. However, some events are for a participation fee and for our members is with a discount.
How can I join AEGEE?
That’s very simple! Fill in a registration form and pay the yearly membership fee 15€. After that register in our OMS (Online Membership System) and click “Request to join” on AEGEE-Tallinn page. After we have received your fee payment, we accept you as a member you are free to sign up for all AEGEE events on a European level!
Are there any conditions for membership?
The meetings and events are basically open to everyone. If you want to take part in some of the AEGEE international events, it is necessary to become a member. It is pretty easy, you just have to fill in an application form, register in MyAEGEE and pay a fee of 15€. After that, you become a full member. We don’t keep the money, it goes to AEGEE headquarter in Brussels which distributes the money among specific projects.
Do I have to study at any particular university in order to become a member?
No, The only obligation is to be either a current or former student of any university or higher technical school. Among our members are young working people as well as foreigners currently spending time in Tallinn, often as a part of an exchange program. You don’t have to be a student, we are open to everyone, graduates included!
I just graduated from high school and in autumn I am going to an university. Can I already join AEGEE?
Yes, we welcome recent high school graduates who fit in the age limit!
I have other than Estonian/European nationality. Is it an obstacle?
The very nature of AEGEE is based on diversity and understading, so any new culture contribution is welcome! The diversity is reflected in the membership base because the members are mostly active students like you, who have travelled a good deal of the world, experienced a lot, and definitely don’t lack tolerance. It is not necessary to speak good Estonian , however, AEGEE offers a great opportunity to practise the language with open and tolerant native speakers. The membership is not limited only to Estonian students – on the contrary, national diversity is typical for a big part of Boards in Europe, Tallinn included.
Do I have to speak any particular language? What language is spoken in AEGEE?
English is spoken on international European events, so you’ll need it on communication level. On local events are in Estonian or English depending on participants. If your English is not perfect yet, do not worry! AEGEE is a fantastic opportunity to practice language skills. In addition AEGEE-Tallinn is a great place to practice estonian if it’s not you native language.
I don’t know anybody in AEGEE, can I still join?
YES! AEGEE is based on the idea of meeting new people with similar hobbies and goals. Everyone who came for the first time, was once a newcomer. Every member can confirm that after two or three meetings they have felt in AEGEE at home and if it would have been possible, they would had joined AEGEE sooner.
Being a member
Is it possible to combine AEGEE membership with studies and work?
Absolutely, without problem. It is true that the organization offers so many opportunities that it would come in handy if a year had 15 months, but the membership itself is not much time-consuming. Nobody is obliged to work, any help is based strictly on a voluntary basis. It is up to the members what they like to do and how or where they can contribute. However, any initiative and willingness is much appreciated and in this regard, AEGEE offers its support to everyone. Still, the most important thing is to have lots of fun and, at the same time, to take part in something useful and interesting.
Is it necessary to actively work in AEGEE?
AEGEE is about opportunities, not obligations. Instead of a hierarchy, it is a big group of friendly people who like to have fun together and who voluntarily participate in organizing interesting events not only for AEGEE-Tallinn members, but also for our European friends or even wide public. It is your choice to what extent you want to be actively involved, every member’s activity is solely his or her own decision. Nevertheless, there is an executive branch – Board – whose members are elected for one year and who have certain rights and responsibilities.
What is Board and how does it work?
Board is the nonprofit organization’s executive branch. It is composed of several members, usually of about 6, who have deeper interest in ensuring functioning of the organization and in developing AEGEE’s opportunities and also their own skills. They are concerned with organizing activities, human resources, fundraising and strategic partnerships, bookkeeping, general coordination, and so forth. The other members take part in various thematic projects and educational programs and have a chance to lead them. Several times a year, the Board representatives take part in European sessions held in some of the Europe’s capitals.
What does volunteering as a Board member give me?
Working on the AEGEE Board is strictly voluntary and provides a wealth of experience for future life. You will gain hands-on experience in international management, project management, marketing, human resources, IT, public relations, etc. The AEGEE experience is a value in your resume. Many of our members have got their dream job thanks to volunteering experience in AEGEE.
I would like to try out organizing an event. Is there such a possibility in AEGEE?
If you want to organizae an event, AEGEE is the great opportunity. We plan lots of interesting activities of all kinds at our meetins and informal gatherings, from the thematic meetings, barbecue, joint trips, or sport events to those big events such as the Summer universties. Every help is warmly welcome and you can count on good team and insightful advice of the experienced members.
I want to see how AEGEE works. What should I do?
If you don’t want to miss out on anything that happens in AEGEE, follow our FB page (https://www.facebook.com/AegeeTallinn/).