Student associations: AIESEC

There are student associations and student associations.

My association was mostly noisy bluster and a lot of booze.

Very much like what I had experienced before when I lived in Rotterdam in a student district, and encountered many students. Lots of booze and very rude and noisy – especially the boys of the association nearby. “Hey you ass, you look sober! Let’s do something about that right away!”

Starting students in Coimbra

In Portugal you think of student hazing in Coimbra. Once I walked around in the centre and admonished a hangman-like senior if it could be a little less cruel and cold. The lust for power radiated from her eyes and her acrimonious voice was not bearable.

Large groups had to kneel for hours or sit on the sidewalk, or walk back and forth with a thick book in their hand. What a waste of time and energy!

Don’t think about the meaning of all this. It’s about testing your motivation, I guess. My oldest son has never participated in it – he didn’t feel like being bullied like that. Luckily, he is an XXL, large, fit and strong enough to force respect for his decision of all his smaller Portuguese colleagues.

Reservation of students

Last weekend I had a reservation of a student association. Now Portuguese really are very polite and civilized in general, young people included, so I accepted. Our whole village full of young students – we’ll see!

It was a great fun experience! This student association AIESEC has divisions in 125 countries, and is very active in bringing students of all nationalities together. It was founded in 1948 by a group of six, including a Dutchman. (sorry, national pride ….)

The goal is to avoid global conflicts after the horrors of the Second World War, by giving the opportunity to get to know each other. By getting to know each other’s cultures, you get to understand each other better, and thus promote mutual comprehension. Meanwhile, the target is slightly modified:

What is AIESEC?

AIESEC is the world’s largest student-run organization. Active in over 2400 universities across more than 120 countries and territories, our international platform enables young people to explore and develop their leadership potential for them to have a positive impact in society.

More informations you can find below:

A commendable pursuit. We are happy to cooperate. I already had a vague idea what this association was about, but I  had no time to delve into it further.

Presentations, power points and a party

They were allowed to use our big kitchen and the big room of the bathhouse. There were groups everywhere to give presentations, and regularly they gathered in the hall to watch a PowerPoint presentation all together.

And of course, as the Portuguese do, enjoy a freshly-cooked meal at lunch and dinner all together. At night, there was a party, of course. What’s a gathering of young people without a party?

On Sunday they would leave again. The cook fetched me to check the kitchensink, which was clogged. The cold tap didn’t work anymore. “Do not worry,” I reassured her that “these things happen, we can fix it. A small part of 3 euros for the tap, and for the rest unclogging the drain. No sweat.”

She asked me to wait and then came back with 3 euros. I was touched by so much honesty. It wasn’t necessary, but very sweet.

Studying in Holland

When it turned out that I’m dutch from origin, a clearly portuguese girl said “Goedemorgen!” – with the typically sharp “G” even! She is learning dutch, because she’ll go to Holland to study. In Rotterdam, my old hometown. On the Erasmus. Nice coincidence! I gave her the address of my eldest son, maybe he can show her around a bit.

We said goodbye. They found it an intense, but great weekend. Me too.

When I started emptying the houses, I found made beds everywhere. All the towels were collected in one place, all rubbish was discarded and all the dishes were done.

Never would have thought it could be possible – tidy students. If they’ll do the same with world peace – we’re settled!