In July 2019, AEGEE-Tartu and AEGEE-Eindhoven organised a summer university “Time Travel Through the Flatlands” which focused on the historical and political situation of Europe since the Second World War. The project came to life thanks to the collaboration with the “My Europe, My Say!” project.
Out of all AEGEE summer universities, the one that we organized was special due to its set focus on the political and historical topics, and the international scope of the different locations visited. In the course of two and a half weeks, we discovered Eastern Estonia, Tartu, Riga, Brussels, Eindhoven, The Hague and Amsterdam. In order to have a successful trip through the complicated history of Europe, all the participants attended non-formal education workshops, which were illustrated by visits to places of historical significance. Some examples include The House of European History and the European Parliament in Brussels, the museum of the former KGB cells in Tartu, and The Wings of Liberation Museum in Best (focusing on the liberation of the southern Netherlands at the end of World War II).
Coming from different countries and background systems, we might take our own socio-political situation for granted. Our project aimed to create a dialogue between the participants as representatives of different countries. The workshops were an open and safe space for them to express their views on the situation in their country as well as hear about others. AEGEE-Tartu and AEGEE-Eindhoven are located on different sides of Europe and it is quite obvious that the countries of Estonia and the Netherlands have a different social and historical background. When “travelling” through different time periods in both countries, one came to an understanding of how the two societies have evolved into what they are today.
Tarthoven’s time machine was however not only packed with new knowledge, but also joyous parties, new friends from 11 different nationalities, weather ranging from pouring rain in Ida-Virumaa to scorching sun in Eindhoven, lots of shared laughs, and cherished experiences. Our participants visited the border town between the European Union and Russia, had a chance to camp by the lake Peipus, biked like real Dutchies, baked stroopwafels, and probably started to appreciate hot showers more than ever before! We flew from Riga to Brussels with around 30 AEGEEans in the same plane, so it’s safe to say that it was a true AEGEE plane.
Without much doubt, the participants of the summer university now have a broader understanding of the history of the (post)-soviet world in comparison to the history of western Europe. All the participants and organisers really had the time of their lives and will never look the same way at Europe again.
Tarthoven SU team