Can you tell us a little bit about yourself – who are you, where do you come from and what are your hobbies?
Hi dear AEGEEans, I'm Francesca, and I am a Statistician. I grew up in a small village in the south of Italy, and moved to Pisa for University. There I finally discovered the joy of being a traveller! Now I am struggling to find a job which allows me to be a traveller full time! Quite challenging, I daresay. However, as we say in Italy "the game is worth the candle" ;)
I think that the best way to describe me is to quote a close friend of mine: I am "a mathematician with a humanistic heart". This also explains my struggles quite well: being in love with almost everything, from science to art and literature, and not being really able to choose, but trying to join/plan all the activities/trips I would like to do! You can imagine what a beautiful mess it is to live with my schedule, always full of activities, but thanks to my enthusiasm and energy it is amazing!
Can you sketch your AEGEE-career for us?
Several years ago a friend of mine told me about AEGEE and the opportunities it offered. I fell in love with the idea of travelling with locals in all those countries so far away and totally unknown...it was something i would never have done alone, so i decided to apply for a SU but sadly i wasn't accepted, so I came back to my student life and I indefinitely postponed these dreams.
I graduated in the spring of 2017, and, overwhelmed by the too much free time, I decided to open the Pandora's box of my wishes and AEGEE appeared again! I mustered all my courage and resolution, I brushed up on my writer skills and I applied for the SU in Transilvania and finally my love for AEGEE started! In September 2017, I joined the active members in Pisa, and in December I became the second PR responsible for the Antenna. In the meantime I was travelling once per month with AEGEE, representing my local in two Network meetings and I also joined one RTC. In the summer 2018 I was the main organizer of our Summer Break and since October 2018 I'm the External Relation Responsible for AEGEE Pisa.
What was your ultimate highlight within your time in AEGEE?
August 2018, Grancanaria, attending AEGEE-Las Palmas SU.
I became really close with a Turkish and a Hungarian girl, and we found our spot "out of time" close to Pico de Las Nieves. We came close to the top with all the SU group, but I wanted to get closer the peak, so I started going out of the path, climbing some rocks. It was sunset time, and we were higher than the clouds, so you can imagine how astonishing was the landscape!
Flóra reached me for first, and, only after, Beste decided to come as well although she was really scared. We were trying to make her feel safe and we came back to help her. At the end we were all together, close to the highest mountain of the island, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by tons of brightest colors. Something so special that i will never forget!
Are there any specific plans or goals (within AEGEE) you strive towards?
I'm working on the idea of creating a new contact antenna in Potenza or Matera (they are close to my hometown) in order to build a kind of regional network. The aim is to introduce the last year highschool students from the cities and from the villages around to AEGEE family( Italians starts the University when they are 19). In this way we could be a bridge between highschool and university an Europe, it could be a new recruitment tool and an opportunity for the students/workers from villages to be connected with Europe.
In these hard times in which the Euroscepticism is rising up again and Nationalism is turning stronger, although AEGEE is a Students forum, we should think about reaching young students and workers not only from the cities, but also from the villages, because most of the time those ones who decide to not go to universities, to stay in the villages are the same who have been less in contact with people from other cultures, and basically they don't feel European at all and neither know about all the opportunities in Europe! This new antenna would be a kind of test.
Do you have a message for the members of AEGEE-Leiden?
Make "challenge accepted" your motto, and be always open to new experiences and new people. Nothing you really strive for is impossible, just choose a good team to work with!