How one person single-handedly created a Swedish local: The story of Jelmer as the founder of AEGEE-Stockholm!

The year is 2017. Summer is still in the air and I will soon be moving to Stockholm. AEGEE-less Stockholm, that is. The wild ideas of founding an AEGEE local in my new city were plenty and so was the alcohol that gave rise to this idea. After actually moving to Stockholm and settling in my new home I went to agora Catania. I guess you could say I missed AEGEE a bit. There, I came in touch with many people that actually had influence in AEGEE and they motivated me to continue my AEGEE work. Soon after the agora I finished up on the paperwork and the Contact of AEGEE-Europe in Stockholm was a fact. (This will be the last time I use that name, more on that later!)

As I tried to motivate the people around me to join me in this adventure, my Erasmus quickly passed and soon, January was there. My time in Stockholm was about to end and I was in the emotional goodbye phase. In the last week of my Erasmus, we finally organized an event with our new AEGEE contact: an exchange with AEGEE-Helsinki. The four of us took on a little adventure and went with the ferry towards the other side of the sea. You have to picture that it was late January and hence the middle of the Scandinavian winter. Helsinki had a little surprise in the form of a snowstorm lined up for us, which made the way to our host a very difficult one. We had an amazing weekend in Helsinki and the AEGEE spirit in Stockholm was born!

Now it was finally time for me to leave Stockholm and move back to our little paradise in the north (Groningen of course). However, I was determined to keep up the AEGEE spirit and try to officially become a member of the AEGEE-Europe network. Lots of skype meetings, e-mails, paperwork and motivational speeches later, it seemed like we hit a breaking point. To not go into the details too much, we had to decide whether to take the risk and go for it, or play it safe and stay in the beginner level for a bit. After careful deliberation with our network director Marco and Network commissioner Maria (#namedropping), we decided to go for it!

And now I’m sitting here, in the train back from the Europacie excursion to The Hague. Last week, we were present at the spring agora in Krakow. You may have already heard that it was amazing, but for me, it was extra special. I am very happy to announce to you all that we succeeded in officially founding AEGEE-Stockholm and are now the newest local in the AEGEE network! During the spring agora at which we were present with three members of AEGEE-Stockholm, we applied for the status of contact antenna (Which basically means you can call yourself AEGEE-Stockholm). Even though you may not be very interested, active or knowledgeable of the European level of AEGEE, I think you can imagine that for me, this has been a crazy experience. Founding your own student organization gives you an incredible energy boost and inspires you to do more!

I’ll wrap it up for now, but I can say a last few inspirational words. This has been an incredibly inspirational experience for me and it has really taught me that you can achieve your goals if you are willing to work for it. Nobody, including me thought that I would actually achieve in founding AEGEE-Stockholm. Now it is May and I am officially the fresh president of my little lovely student organization. Thank you very much to all the people that worked with me!