Summer University is AEGEE’s oldest and most popular project. Summer Universities are organised by volunteers within AEGEE. AEGEE-Tartu also has a history of organising it every year. The aim of the project is to allow young people to experience multicultural Europe, help them grow more tolerant and open-minded and offer a platform for discussion. The project started in 1988 with the aim of integrating young people from different cultures. Over 50 000 students have participated in Summer Universities ever since.
Shortly put, Summer University is a thematic programme somewhere in Europe that lasts on average two weeks and during which you’ll participate in workshops, get acquainted with the local lifestyle and spend fun time together with your new international friends. SU’s are organized by people of your age which allows you to see the real local life closer than you’d see it as a tourist. Some of the SU’s are held in major cities, others include camping in nature, so there’s something for every taste.
In order to participate in a SU, you have to be a member of AEGEE. However, you are eligible to apply to SU straight after joining! In order to apply, you need to write a motivation letter or produce a video instead. The people going through the applications care more about your motivation and enthusiasm; your previous AEGEE experience is less important. The participants usually don’t know each other before which means that you’ll all become friends quite fast.
The price of a SU includes accommodation, meals (two per day), program and transport during the program. Sometimes additional activities are offered for a small extra fee which you may refuse to have free time instead. Transportation between Estonia and the place of the SU is your responsibility and cannot be compensated. It is also recommended to have some pocket money with you. The cost of the Summer University is usually 14 EUR per day (the exact cost therefore depends on the length of the program), however, some SUs are more expensive due to unusual kind of program.
There are currently four types of SUs:
Summer Course (SC): An SU with a specific theme that includes at least 14h of training per week. The themes may be as diverse as the local language, history or culture, environmental sustainability, civic education, sports, personal development etc. In addition to the workshops there will also be a social program. The participants are usually also taken out of the town to hiking or cycling, to the beach or something like that.
Summer Course Plus (SC+): A more intense thematic course than SC that includes at least 20h of training per week and has its main emphasis on workshops and developing specific skills. Professional trainers are involved in delivering the workshops. There will obviously be a cultural programme too.
Travelling Summer University (TSU): An SU organised in collaboration of at least two antennae that takes you to at least four different places which may be in several countries. TSUs still include some workshops (at least 10h per week) during which you may be taught, for instance, folk dances or cooking. The main emphasis of TSU is, however, on travelling and seeing as many different places as possible.
Summer Break (SB): A short version of SU with a duration of 6-8 days that is organised by only one antenna. Thematic trainings take up 10h per week. SB is a new format of SU introduced in 2018 for the first time and as for now it is uncertain whether it will be continued.