On 4th December, few days after a cold wave which stopped the traffic all over the central Europe, I, Michal Šulai, and our beloved treasurer Karolina Jandová went to represent AEGEE-Praha at Autumn Network Meeting Budapest 2014. Right after our arrival, we were really nicely surprised that organizers were waiting for us at the bus station to accompany us to the hostel. During our way in Budapest’s metro I remembered my childhood a little bit. Ticket validating system was similar to one which had been used in Prague twenty years ago. Also the old unreconstructed soviet metro cars evoked me good old times. At the hostel located in the centre of Budapest we shared a room with our friends from AEGEE-Brno, AEGEE-Bratislava, AEGEE-Poznan, AEGEE- Debrecen and AEGEE-Dresden. Therefore, we called ourselves Eastern bloc room. Atmosphere was really warm there, especially after few shots of Tatran tea from our Slovakian roommates.
Official program started in the late afternoon that day on the soil of Corvinus University of Budapest. After the obligated get to know each other games, we were informed about detailed schedule for next three days together and we also reviewed, just to be sure, what AEGEE is. Later we went to a restaurant close to the hostel for tasty dinner. A little disappointment that day was that instead of promised suit up party we went to not very nice looking club. So, after one round of shots of traditional Hungarian palinka we decided to take an unofficial night sightseeing tour around the centre of Budapest.
The next day, because we had a lot to do, we had to wake up at 8 AM and the organizers were really strict about it. After the breakfast we moved to the local community centre H13 and we started to discuss SWOT analyses of our antennae. After lunch and two beers in a close restaurant we returned for an afternoon session. We talked mainly about PR strategies and we learnt more about history of AEGEE. We also got an interesting task to write a letter to ourselves which we are supposed to get by post in six months. The session finally ended at 8 o’clock, so we went back to the hostel for pizza and started preparing for a party with Tatra tea, Becherovka, rum and vodka. Both clubs we visited that night had good atmosphere and we really enjoyed the party.
The organizers prepared for us a very nice surprise on Saturday’s morning. Saint Nicholas visited us and brought us a package of sweets. After the breakfast we went again to the community centre for a morning session. This time we were talking about fundraising and had a practical workshop on this topic. We also learnt more about Action Agenda Coordination Committee. After lunch it was time for an open session. Therefore we split into several groups and discussed topics of our interest. I decided to learn more about Erasmus+ projects. For the evening organizers prepared a sightseeing tour. We firstly went to see the famous building of Hungarian parliament. It was really stunning view. I must confess that I lost my breath for a few seconds. After the walk through the historical centre we ended up at the Christmas markets, where we took a cup of mulled wine. For dinner we had traditional Hungarian deer goulash.
And finally there was time for European night. We decided to have a joint table with our Slovakian brothers. We served Czech traditional spirits – Tuzemák, Zelená, Becherovka and Fernet. To eat we offered spa wafers and other Czech biscuits. There were around twenty countries offering their specialities so it was really crowded there. Strengthened by many shots of different spirits we continued the night in one of the Budapest’s club.
I woke up next morning quite tired after last night. With two red bulls I survived the final session where we provided feedback to the organizers and said them good bye. For lunch we went to local burger place. Last thing we had to do before leaving Budapest was to buy traditional Hungarian salami. Then we headed to the bus station and successfully finished our Hungarian mission.
Author: Michal Šulai