After our activities in the Basque Country, it was time to go to Burgos. Our stay there would be different from all others from one point of view: we would be lodged together with another 25 Spanish participants from all over the country, gathered to celebrate the 5th anniversary of AEGEE Burgos. It was a very good opportunity to meet our Spanish members and discuss the European elections with them. This fact was particularly important given that throughout our journey, the attendance of local AEGEE members to our activities was (disappointingly) low, despite the Spanish organisers’ effort of involving them in the debates and street actions. Another highlight of our stay in Burgos was the fact that we received more PR material (initially blocked at the Spanish custom) which we so much needed and were dearly waiting.
Not surprisingly, our busy agenda would include a street action in the city centre, a debate with politicians and the preparation of a workshop on the importance of voting, that the participants themselves would deliver next day to our Spanish colleagues. And so, with the thought of our next activities in mind, we left Bilbao in the morning, to arrive there just in time for lunch.
The early afternoon proved quite challenging for our street action since there weren’t many people on the streets. This is precisely the type of constraints we had to overcome quite often, since we were usually left with few options due to our ever-busy schedule. The strategy adopted to overcome this inconvenience was that of an active city tour: we would be taken to the most popular places of Burgos and given some time to talk to the locals before moving on. Eventually, our dynamic and flexible approach paid off, giving us the opportunity to cover a larger area, while allowing us to deciding on a case-to-case basis how much time we would be spending in each place, depending on the results we had.
The late afternoon, however, proved less busy than we thought initially: the debate with the politicians had to be called off altogether, given that four of our five guests cancelled at the last moment. We were faced again with undesirable circumstances but we used it in our favour by taking more time to prepare the workshop to be delivered the next day. A challenge of the latter was the fact that it had to be conceived and delivered by no less than ten people, therefore good organisation was needed and the extra time was used well. Truth be told, it proved to be easier than we had initially thought: the participants knew each other well and worked excellently together.
After the preparation, the following day was performance time. The Spanish participants gathered to listen to us and discuss on topics regarding the European Parliament, the Spanish parties and the importance of voting. While attendance was voluntary and not all Spanish participants managed to come, those who did proved to be open-minded and willing to give the issue a serious thought.
All in all, we considered our stay in Burgos to have been quite fruitful and a good lesson provider, given the inconveniences we had to overcome. As usual, we were always helped by the local organisers who did their best to assist and help us adapt to the changing circumstances. For this reason, we left Burgos with the impression that we couldn’t have done things in a better way. And ultimately, making the best out of each circumstance is what matters most.
Lavinia Manea, AEGEE Bucuresti – EU Affairs Trainer/Content Responsible