Transsiberian DREAM is a Summer University, organized every year by AEGEE-Moskva, sometimes in cooperation with other Russian antennae. This is one of the most recognizable and popular Summer Universities, every year we get more than 100 applications per 35 places. 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 unicorn activities. And all this every year sparks interest of AEGEE members all over Europe.
In 2017 the topic of Transsiberian Dream vol. 9 On cloud 9! is “History and local culture”. The route goes through Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Tobolsk, Tyumen, Irkutsk and Baikal lake.
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More about Transsiberian Dream vol.9: On cloud 9!
Some facts about Transsiberian Dream
- This Travelling Summer University has the longest route. Approximately 6000 kilometers by train!
- This is the most expensive SU. In 2016 fee was €440 for 18 days. The reason for such a high fee is the price of train tickets.
- The route goes through 2 continents and every year the group makes a stop on the border between Europe and Asia.
- The number of participants is about 35 people.
- The duration of the SU is about 18 days.
- Together with AEGEE-Moskva organizers of this project also were AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg, AEGEE-Ryazan and AEGEE-Samara. Also AEGEE-Tyumen took part in it.
- Time of the SU is usually the end of July – the beginning of August.
- After the end if the SU rhe biggest part of participants and organizers goes to post trip to Mongolia, China, India, etc. And one of the participants of Transsiberian Dream 2016 has even made a world voyage!
- 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.
The route has stayed almost without any changes year after year and passed 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 2015 Tyumen appeared in the route, and in 2017 Tobolsk is going to be visited.
During the whole route the participants, accompanied by the organizers, travel by trains – the classic Russian trains: Platzkarten (couchette cars). Part of the route goes through the famous Transsiberian Railway. The route is changing insignificantly from year to year. But the final point is always the same: Baikal. This is something (or the only one) why some people want to go to Transsib.
The history of Transsiberian Dream
Everything started in the distant year 2009 when an idea of travelling by trains to Siberia till Baikal occured to Vlad’s head (on the photo). Moscow and Saint Petersburg antennae were very close friend then and wanted to make a big Summer University together, so this idea was really to the point. Firstly it was not taken seriously, but later guys came back to it and was brought to a full project. So, in 2009 the world of AEGEE saw the first Transsiberian Dream.
Next years other organizers decided not to change the name but number each SU and add vol. at the end of the name. Since then this innovation hasn’t changed. But this wans’t the only difference of each Transsib from the previous: after vol. an additional heading is written (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 as a SU it’s hard to find anything comparable. Each SU can surprise in some way but Transsib surprises even with its range. Even the existence of such project can surprise and shock, because it is organized not by professionals but with enthusiasts who are a little bit more than 20 years old on average.
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 people. Many of them have already graduated, changed several working places, seen the life, it’s hard to surprise them, and on average they are close on 30 years. And all of them come to us in order to travel across the bigger part of Russia.
Participant reviewsPaolo Ghisleni, a participant of Transsiberian Dream vol.6
“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.