Have you ever visited Novi Sad, or attended an AEGEE Event? AEGEE-Novi Sad offers you an amazing chance to do both. If you are one of the lucky participants of our upcoming NYs event or you are still hesitating to apply for one of our future events, let us share some amazing stories from our past participants!

Namely, we talked with Nils from Belgium, Victor from France and Nadeshda from Germany. They participated in the Agora Celebration Event that AEGEE Novi Sad organized in August.

Here is a glimpse of their impressions!

Nils, who is AEGEE member from 2015 says that, when the pandemic started he wasn’t able to see his AEGEE friends for almost 1.5 years. So, the AEGEE event on Novi Sad came as the perfect opportunity to meet them again. He cleared his schedule and booked tickets right away.

“To be honest, I didn’t have any expectations, because I had gotten my hopes up a few times before and the pandemic had always come in the way. I was assuming this event was at high risk of being canceled as well, but luckily it wasn’t! Not having any expectations made the event actually much more enjoyable. The program looked amazing (“boat party” are my two favorite words), so we were definitely off to a good start, but as I said, you never know”, Nils explained to us.

Similar to Nils, Victor applied to join the event so he could see his friend after a long time. He didn’t have any plans around the time of the cent and suddenly everything started falling into the right place.

“I got a two week break between quitting one job and starting another, so it just made sense. As such I basically applied and went with no expectations, I didn’t know the Balkans at all before coming and I wanted to keep an open mind. I find that the best trips are often those decided on a hunch, without any expectations, so I fully committed and basically drew out my plan in the month before the event”, says Victor.

When it comes to the overall experience at the Winter Madness event, Nils says he had so much fun and that it was “so good”.

“The organizers are clearly very experienced, so everything felt very easy. If we were too lazy to walk (which clearly I always was), there were taxis almost instantly. Whenever you ask Novak a question about the history you get a 30 minute long TED talk with information about the city. And best of all is that the organizers included themselves in the group very well, there was no divide between participants / organizers, because they were having fun as well”, he explains and says he would recommend our event to other AEGEEans.

Victor adds that it was obvious how much effort organizers put into such an event.

“ Everything was very well planned and the organisers were exceptionally patient with the participants (including me) who were late to everything and not in sync with the program. The variety of activities was incredible. I remember looking at the program and thinking, there’s no way we’re going to do this many things or that they’re going to be as nice in real life as they sound on a paper”, he is saying.

Nadeshda describes the atmosphere as crazy, adding she would recommend the event as well.

“I enjoyed the day programme which was great for us who wanted to get to know Novi Sad and the Serbian culture.I also loved the parties at night which especially in this period of time were something I really timemissed. The atmosphere of the event was chill as well as the participants. The organizers were funny and cool”, she is saying.

To all of them, this was the first time in Serbia and in the Balkans. Nils says that was one of the reasons he decided to come.

“Novi Sad is a cute little city, and the old town is really nice. My favorite part however was actually the area where we were staying! The ruins and the catacombs, where the Exit festival takes plac every year, revealed a part of the city’s history that you couldn’t really feel anywhere else. And of course, the Serbians made a party spot out of it! Love it. However, the best part of Serbia and Novi Sad are of course the people. Without the people there, my experience would not have been the same”, he assures us.

Comparing it to European countries, he thinks that it is a bit more difficult to travel to Serbia, purely because of the borders.

“I traveled to the country by bus from Budapest, and the border control was, let’s say, an experience, haha! At the border, we had to wait for a couple of hours because there was an electricity outage, and when we finally got there, they just asked me if I was vaccinated, I said yes, and that was enough! No QR code needed. I had to laugh. The moment I fell in love with Serbia!”, he’s reminiscing about his first encounter with Serbia.

He thinks that Serbia, compared to the EU, a bit more “relaxed”, but compared to the rest of the world everything is still up to a really high standard. He always felt safe and everything was in order.

Victor says that his theory of the second biggest city being the most beautiful turned out to be true. Serbia surprised him because he heard that Serbians are not agreeable, which turned out to be a lie. In fact, he says that “Starting a conversation with just about anyone was incredibly easy, and I got to know so much more about the country by talking to random people. I'm starting to think it’s my countryfolk who aren’t very agreeable!”

“I have a theory (untested for Serbia), that it’s always better to visit the second biggest city in a country than the biggest because it usually has more spirit, and I hold this true for France where Lyon or Marseille (depending on if you take metro population or city limits population) have a lot more character than Paris. I’ll have to see Belgrade to be sure, but Novi Sad was really great. I guess it’s maybe that since it’s not very touristic, it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap, or worse, like being at home. In many other places I went to, which were lovely, I kept hearing people talking French everywhere to the point it wasn’t even surprising anymore. I find you need to get away from that to really discover a country or culture, either by not going to the ‘obvious’ place or by visiting off season, I think Novi Sad had that, an authentic culture”, Victor is saying.

Nils and Nadeshda decided to extend their stay in the Balkans and after the event, they visited Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. Nadeshda thinks that the most interesting thing was the fact that the former countries of Yugoslavia all have their own identities but still have so many similarities.

Nils says he loved everything and that he wishes he could stay longer.

“ The culture is quite different to what I’m used to in my home country Belgium, but that’s what I actually like about it. The food was amazing, the nature was just STUNNING (especially Bosnia), and it didn’t feel overcrowded like some parts of Italy or Spain. I spent a little over a month here, but I could have stayed so much longer, because there was so much more to see and do”, says Nils.

Finally, we were curious whether they are considering to visit Novi Sad again and if they are planning to attend Spring AGORA Novi Sad in 2022... And we are thrilled they all agreed for a positive answer!

It’s evident that their words simply boosted our motivation to dive into NYs Event organization! Alert: we are still looking for awesome participants, so make sure to check our open call! And to all NYs participants: make sure to bring your positive spirit and see you in Novi Sad!