Transsiberian DREAM is a Summer University, organized every year by AEGEE-Moskva, sometimes in cooperation with other Russian antennae. It is one of the most recognizable and popular Summer Universities. Although the route stays approximately the same, each year is a little bit different: new topic, new people (both organizers and participants), new interesting and even unique activities.
The history of Transsiberian Dream
The story of this Summer University Everything started in the distant year 2009 when an idea of travelling from Moscow to Siberia by trains with Baikal as the endpoint for the route occurred in Vlad’s head (on the photo). Moscow and Saint Petersburg antennae were very close friend at that time and wanted to make a big Summer University together, so this idea was really to the point. At first it was not taken seriously, but later guys came back to it and turned it into a full project. And in 2009 the world of AEGEE saw the first Transsiberian Dream.
Next years other teams of organizers decided not to change the name but number each SU adding vol. at the end of the name. Since then this rule hasn’t changed. But that wans’t the only difference of each Transsib title from the previous ones: after vol. there goes an additional heading (the name):
Transsiberian Dream Vol.2
Transsiberian Dream Vol.3
Transsiberian Dream Vol.4: In search of Adventures
Transsiberian Dream Vol.5: Anniversary, Oops, we did it again
Transsiberian Dream Vol.6: 666 Railway to Hell
Transsiberian Dream Vol.7: Far East Movement
Transsiberian Dream Vol.8: To infinity and beyond
Transsiberian Dream Vol 9: On cloud 9!
When you review the whole history of the Transsib you find yourself thinking that it’s hard to find any other SU that can be compared to this Dream. Each SU surprises participants in its unique way but Transsib’s surprises start with its range. Even the existence of such a project can surprise and shock, because it is organized not by professionals but enthusiasts whose average age is slightly over 20.
The route has stayed almost the same for all the history of Transsib and lies through the biggest and most important cities: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk. In the subsequent years Kazan and Ekaterinburg were added; and 2015 was the first year when Transsib visited Tyumen, in 2017 a new city appeard – Tobolsk. The route in 2018 is the “classic” verson of Transsiberian railway trip from Moscow to Vladivostok.
The route Transsiberian DREAM vol. 10: Back on track:
The first stop is the city of Moscow – the largest capital of the world, a city of contrasts, a small country within Russia.
Kazan is the third capital of Russia, the capital of Tatarstan, a city of religions and of eastern cuisine.
Tyumen is the first stop in Siberia, the longest embankment in Russia.
Baikal, the most famous lake in the world, still stays the most awaited part of the journey.
In 2018, Vladivostok is included in the route. The Far East, the sea and 9,288 km behind.
More about Transsiberian DREAM vol. 10: Back on track
The huge preparation process started on October 2017. The key feature of the 10th issue is the extension of the route to Vladivostok: Moscow, Kazan, Tyumen, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal and Vladivostok. For the first time participants will travel along the “classical” route of the Trans-Siberian Railway..
In 2018 the theme of Transsiberian DREAM vol. 10: Back on track is “Green SU” and “History and Local Culture”.
Organizers address the issue of sustainability and climate change in cooperation with the project “Europe on track”.
“Europe on track” is a project of AEGEE, the aim of this project is to collect information among young people across Europe on a given topic, as well as conducting master classes on this topic. In 2018, the theme of the project was sustainability and climate change. During the month, 3 project teams visited more than 30 cities throughout Europe.
Within the framework of the Transsiberian DREAM, the organizers together with the trainers of the project prepare sessions and master classes devoted to human impact on nature, our daily habits, and reduction of consumption and separate collection of garbage.
“History and local culture”
Each city of the route is special, history and culture are very diverse and unique. A themed day will be organized at each point of the route, demonstrating most interesting and unusual cultural or historical features, tastings of national cuisine and workshops will help to create the full image of the place.
In 2018, the number of participants is 40 people, core-team includes 7 people, an international team of coaches and assistants will join the project. In total, more than 50 people participate in organization at different stages of the route.
Some facts about Transsiberian Dream
- This Travelling Summer University has the longest route. Approximately 9000 kilometers by train!
- This is the most expensive SU. In 2018 fee is €605 for 21 days. The reason for such a high fee is the price of train tickets. By the way, the cost of 1km of the trip costs 6,6 euro-cents
- The route goes through 2 continents and every year the group makes a stop on the border between Europe and Asia.
- This is the most experienced SU. Annually the knowledge is transferred from previous organizers to the coordinators of the new volumes, accumulating stories, life-hikes, contacts are multiplied annually. The co-organizers of the project with AEGEE-Moskva were and are AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg, AEGEE-Ryazan, AEGEE-Samara and AEGEE-Tyumen during 10 years.
- This is the most adventurous SU. Most of participants and organizers after the end of the Summer University go on a post-trip to Mongolia, China, India, etc. And one of the participants of Transsiberian DREAM in 2016 even made a round-the-world trip!
- Transsiberian Dream significantly stands out against a background of the rest of the SUs and is far-famed in AEGEE. Many people consider it as a “hardcore”, it is a really big journey and the bravest and most romantic AEGEEans apply to our SU.
In AEGEE there is a statement about Transsib: “Before leaving AEGEE everyone must go to Transsib”. This is true! If other SUs are chosen by newbies who are only making their first steps in AEGEE, Transsib is chosen by established members. Many of them have already graduated, changed several working places, seen the life, it’s hard to surprise them, and on average they are closer to 30 years. And all of them come to us in order to travel across Russia, enjoy the diversity of this great country, meet culture, destroy stereotypes and have life-changing experience!
Concerning collaboration please write on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participant reviewsNagavenugopal Janapati, партисипант Transsiberian Dream vol.9
What was the happiest moment for you during Transsiberian dream?
When Ijumped into Baikal deepest point [10 years ago i was aftaid of water/depth/or did not know how to swim this was a private moment] and second was laying down on wooden stages at camp site watching starts fall off sky and one night of sleeping outside :)
Any tips&tricks for the future participants?
Not everyone will like you and they don’t have to. But Listen to your body/mind and if you are limited by comfort zone, Its very important to push it to its true potential because here is your chance. Hold nothing back. Here is your chance to make true memories and Genuine connections.
Viola Bianchetti, партисипант Transsiberian Dream vol.9
-What was the happiest moment for you during Transsiberian dream?
One of the moments I will definitely remember was when we arrived at Baikal lake. We had just spent 50 hours on a train and some more on a bus, closed in a box driving through Siberia. I really just wanted to get out and get some fresh air, and the feeling of relief, freedom and pureness when I stepped out of the bus was amazing. The view of the lake in the late afternoon was breathtaking. Just the time to put our stuff in the tent and we were already running towards the lake (our first “shower” in almost free days). I never enjoyed swimming in the water so much!
Any tips&tricks for the future participants?
Just don’t be afraid and don’t overthink. In transsib anything can happen and it is impossible to foresee everything. There will be problems but you will manage to solve them all, and a lot of unexpected things will happen without you even noticing. Disconnect from your everyday life and leave home all your worries and problems!
“The Transsiberian experience with AEGEE is something that will make my soul vibrate every time that I’ll let my mind to go back to those moments. Boundless landscapes and breathtaking sunrises mixed with unbelievable parties to the edge of the fun. A delicious smoothie of emotions blended with the purest AEGEE spirit of wonderful young girls and boys: once simply beautiful people, now friends for life.”
It’s much more than a simply Summer University: it’s real Transsiberian Dream!
Alvaro Heras, a participant of Transsiberian Dream vol.6
HIGHLIGHTS: An especially significant or interesting detail or event.
What happens when an especially significant or interesting event becomes in the highlight of your life?
Is not about an amazing night trip in a boat in Moscow river with Kremlin lights in front of you, the skylight overhead, your brothers around and your soul springing from every pore of your skin.
Is not about get out from the train in unknown place, with the most pure breeze waving your hair bringing you the melting pot of siberian odours and watching the most breathtaking dawn ever seen…
Is not about a bonfire with the dusk falling on you watching how the everlasting milky way laugh about your insignificance in the middle of such a vast miracle calls Baikal Lake…
Is not about riding savage horses in the middle of the Mongolian steppe trying to avoid your heart will slip off your chest, feeling the quintessence of freedom, watching the miracle of the intangible and untouched nature, the real symbiosis with mother nature…
Is not about walk on the forbidden part of the Great Wall as millions people did and died before, feel the ancient and immovable calm coursing through your veins, hurt your eyes with the penetrating green of the mountains and the immense blue of the sky…
Is not about you, not about the family you will create in the way and will be in your heart for the rest of your life, is not about the million experiences you will have and you won’t be able to explain with words,is not about the laughs and tears you will pour all around out…
Is not about…. maybe it is, maybe…. is all about.
Ismail Isbilen (AEGEE-Istanbul ), a participant of Transsiberian Dream vol.6
“So… We are all in AEGEE (Not yet!!! Where have you been hiding all these years? :P) and we somehow heard about Summer Universities. Then you come across with Transsiberian Dream and you wonder, what the heck is Transsiberian Dream. You might think that Russia is made of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Vodka and Putin. Sorry to bring you the bad news, it is not. You might even think that Russia is a country. Well, i believe it is almost the whole continent. But let me tell you what Transberian dream really is. It is your AEGEEan dream, depicted in flesh and bone. It is your ultimate journey ever yet.
We started our time travel from Moscow, passed by Kazan, Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk. Finally we ended up with camping at Baikal Lake. They all are different places which belong to different time zones but one country. However, please evaluate them as if each belongs to their own. You will realize how big a city might be such as Moscow. Then you will appreciate a different culture – mainly Muslim – in Kazan, the Tatarstan Republic. Then you are arriving to Yekaterinburg while you are still in summer time but weather does not have a clue about it but it is perfectly beautiful the way it is. Lastly you end up in Irkutsk which has one of the purest and peaceful places on earth, the Lake Baikal.
We had the whole way from Moscow (this year starting from St. Petersburg, you lucky bastardi :P) until Baikal Lake. It is a trip of no comfort, no luxury and at some points almost no hygiene at all, but believe me you will appreciate the whole concept when you have the mental and physical journey with an old badass Soviet train, when you pass through the natural beauties of Russia, when you; camp, bath and sleep underneath the stars at Baikal Lake. And lastly, when you check all your memories after you complete this madness – challenge accepted?
You do this trip with AEGEEans who are one of the most inspiring, entertaining and craziest people you might ever meet. On the other hand, it would be a shame if you do not mention the heroes who organize this event, the AEGEEan people located in Russia. This year they decided to dare even more and increase the bet with AEGEE St. Petersburg and addition of AEGEE Tyumen. I just wanted to give you a glimpse of a dream which I had last year and it was one of my greatest experiences so far. The challenge is up to you to make it legendary Смайлик «wink»I can guarantee you, you will not regret any seconds Смайлик «wink»”
Organizer reviewsDmitry Shishmaryov, main coordinator of Transsiberian Dream vol.7
Rigt after I was selected as a main coordinator I started organization of this unic SU. Next half-year there was organization, planning, counting budget, selection of core-team, PR campaign, lots of meetings, arguments and genius ideas! But it was worth it! Transsib was fantastic!!! (I’m saying this as coordinator, and for participants it was even better.) the program worked like a clock, already in St. Petersburg guys started saying that it was their best SU, and our partisipants are around 30 years old, they are quite long in AEGEE. That additionally motivated us to create for them more interesting and various activities during the process. For example, we’ve made KVN (“Club of the smart and the merry”) on Baikal:) ST. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Tyumen, Irkutsk and finally Baikal! We lived in tents, ate near the fire under the full moon, went to Russian bath and swam in Baikal, climbed the mountains, went to Olkhon with gorgeous nature. To sum up, it was the most tremendous organizational experience and the most memorable summer in my life!
Ekaterina Popova, organizer of Transsiberian Dream vol.6
This is an incredible SU. It’s incredible not only for foreigners, but also for the Russians. It is such a feeling, when you stay on the shore of Baikal and understand that you have not only gone through the whole country but also brought 35 crazy participants with you and organized everything for them. Who said that being an organizer is boring? It’s hard, it’s a challenge for yourself, but it’s also a lot of memories, which stay with you forever.
Have you ever travelled by train?
And three days running?
And with two coaches of the craziest participants?
Have you ever cooked on fire?
And on uncontrolled fire?
For 43 people?
This is just a small part of the Transsib. This is an endless challenge and endless fun. This is suc interesting and different people around you. This is a unique SU. And it’s incredible.
Kristina Reshetova, organizer of Transsiberian Dream vol. 8
It surpassed all expectations. I was a little bit worry about the team, because nobody knew and had never seen our participants. But finally it was one of the best teams where I have ever been. And core-team was really a dream team. A two-days train was a little bit challenging, as it was hard for me to imagine that, but, once again, it was one of the best parts: songs on a platform at 1 a.m., pizza in Novosibirsk, workshop how to paint matryoshkas… During this project you keep growing up and learning something new. Why should you apply as an organizer? I cannot describe it with words, but it’s definitely something that everyone must go through. An experience, friends, unforgettable journey. Much more important is that, in my opinion, we came back different and definitely like one family.