CST Transylvania 
The Project 

19 July to 2 August 1998

The Project This so-called Case Study Trip enabled 16 students from all over Europe, to acquaint themselves with the Central Eastern European region of Transylvania. The focus of the two-week study trip was the approach to this area, its social and economic transformation after the overthrow of the Ceaucescu regime, its different people and ethnicities as well as specific problems like environmental pollution. We tried to put as much priority on rural life as on urban. The trip started in Budapest. By public transport we will depart first to Cluj-Napoca. From there we went on to Sighisoara, Sibiu, Brasov, and Baia Mare. In between, we took a lot of time to experience traditional village life. We went to see the famous German castle churches and an orphanage. We met  people from different nationalities and we experienced student life as well. In cities we spent student dormitories. In the countryside we stood with farming families once in a church hostel. The project CST is not to be mixed up with a package tour. We went discovering cuture and people.
The Participants Basically, the trip was open for everyone. It was our aim to gather as many different people as possible. Although the number of possible participants was fluctuating between 12 and 27, finally we ended up with a perfectly sized group of 16 people from nine (!!!) different countries:

Pavel Popek from Czech Republic; Françoise Boissel and Amèlie Clément from France; Eszter Szilassy from Hungary; Claudia Attucci from Italy; Johan Otter from the Netherlands; Karina Kreja and Bartek Klin from Poland; Ruxandra Cristea, Iulia Halalai, and Lucian Docea from Romania; Alberto (1) Alonsa Clavero,Alberto (2) Pérez Puyal, and Víctor Muñoz i Massana from Spain; and finally Brigitte Krech and me, Ralph Böhlke, from Germany.
Two other selected persons, Zhidas Daskalovski (from Macedonia) and Luca Bassoletti (from Italy), could not come although the even wrote a preparory essay. The latter one was called firmly in the last second to military service. 

The organisers

Brigitte Krech
Ralph Böhlke


AEGEE East-West Working Group

 Brigitte Krech was born in Brasov/Kronstadt in Romania, her family background is Romanian-German-Hungarian. She grew up in Germany and is currently studying at the University of Mannheim: Geography, Political Sciences, and Marketing. She studied Contemporary East European Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London for a year. Due to her family background she has a profond knowledge of the situation of minorities in Transylvania, and speaks Romanian ând the local Saxon-German dialect. She is going to write her thesis on marketing concepts for tourism in Romania.

Ralph Böhlke is 'only' German. His interest on Central and Eastern Europe was risen more by chance already a few years before the fall of the Wall. Since then the East, its people, its different languages and its fast changing societies in transition were his main interest.
He studied in Germany, France, and Hungary, and just graduated in summer 1998 at the Budapest University of Economics. Currently he is working at the Centre for Europe and Third World in Saarbücken/Germany.

For sure, without the support of friends in Romania, settling meetings, arranging accommodation and raising money, the trip would have never taken place: All in advance, Oana Mailateasu, backed by numerous other people from Cluj-Napoca (Adela Tambulea, Calin Haidouk, Cristina Spataru, and Ilie Gageatu); Iulia Halalai and Lucian Docea from Alba Iulia; Cosmin Sabo, Mihaela Tenea, Manuela ??? and Ovidiu Pop from Sibiu; Ruxandra Cristea from Brasov; and Adrian Hendre from Baia Mare. This list is, of course, not complete. A big 'multumesc' to all of you anyway.

The Case Study Trip was organised within the frame of the student's organisation AEGEE, although participants of the trip had not to be necessarily members.
AEGEE is Europe's large inter-disciplinary student organisation, with more than 18,000 members in 250 university cities all over Europe. AEGEE aims to promote European understanding among young people, especially in the student world. AEGEE is a secular voluntary organisation and is not linked to any political party. AEGEE was founded in 1985 in Paris as the Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l'Europe. We can be found in such varied places as Las Palmas, Sarajevo, Paris and Istanbul, Kyiv and Utrecht. Our association organises conferences, seminars, summer university language courses and study trips with topics ranging from current political affairs and to literature and music. The motto of AEGEE is that students organise for other students. In this spirit we, the organisers of the CST project, wanted to invite interested students to join us to Transylvania. 
Since 1988, the East-West Working Group (EWWG) of AEGEE-Europe fosters co-operation between Eastern and Western Europe. By organising study trips and meetings, we get students from all parts of Europe together to create mutual understanding. Similar trips have already been organised to Albania, Moldavia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslavia.

Financing the CST Travel as cheap as possible and to see as much as possible was the aim of organising the CST. Initial planned costs for participants from Eastern Europe were 50 for all others 150 ECU. Thanks to a very successful fundraising in Baia Mare, Cluj and Sibiu and due to the generous financial support of the German Haniel Foundation we were able to reduce these amounts: 28 ECU for Eastern Europeans and 84 ECU for Western Europeans were the final participation fee. The three Romanian students travelled for free since they were involved in the organisation of the project.

This fee included all travels starting from Budapest (H) on 19 July 1998 and ending in Baia Mare (RO) on 2 August 1998, furthermore two, often three meals per day, the accommodation (mainly in dormitories) and all entrance fees. 

Preparing the CST Before the trip, every participant had to write an essay (in English) on a topic related to Transylvania. The length of the essays should be between 2,000 and 5,000 words, depending on the topic and the available material. The essays were meant to as a scientific preparatory work for the trip and as a source for everybody who has an interest in the area. All essays can be found now in the WWW ; they were collected and published in a brochure to be handed out to participants, sponsors and other interested persons before the CST.

Further Information If you want to know more about Transylvania, Romania, on our trip or on AEGEE, please contact us, better today than tomorrow. The easiest way to get in touch with us is via eMail: 
Ralph Böhlke. bohlke@gmx.de
Brigitte Krech. brigittekrech@yahoo.com

  'on the road' in Savadisla (Jud. Cluj)
BACK to the CST main page      LINKS, Literature and useful addresses related with Transylvania  the PROGRAM of the 'Case Study Trip'

last update: 11 JUL 2002 by Ralph