Let’s start by quickly introducing yourself. What do you study, how did you get in contact with IstKon and why did you choose to become an IstKon coordinator?

My name is Liese and I study Political Science and Public Administration in the Bachelor at the University of Konstanz. Through a presentation, I came in contact with IstKon and the exchange & the concept of the buddy program seemed interesting to me. Then I joined the IstKon conference in 2019 as a participant in the logistics team. I just loved it! I made a lot of friends with whom I am still in touch. It was eye-opening, I got a different perspective and wanted to get more involved. So I questioned myself: What am I good as? I am kinda comfortable with coordinating, communicating and organizing…So coordinator it is? I really enjoyed that, especially because of the great Core Team!

Being a coordinator surely had its ups and downs, what was the most memorable moment in your IstKon work?

I was sitting with the Core Team of Konstanz in a study room at university: It was midnight and we were choosing participants while eating pizza. It was very exhaustive but fun at the same time. So I thought “If we still have fun now, IstKon will be fine”. The people just made it fun, because it is working toward a common goal with friends and not some boring work.

While we talk about IstKon, when did you know that the conference wouldn’t happen this year? How did you feel at that moment?

It was a kinda really drawn out decision, nobody knew how Corona would change things. In mid march we decided during three Skypes (which seemed to take forever) that we have to cancel IstKon. After that decision, the people just stayed in the skype, like friends. We were very invested and worked up. It was difficult to make that decision, because the travel ban into Turkey was just ending some days before IstKon. Still, everybody supported the decision and in retrospect, it was the right thing to do.

But then you somehow came up with the digital conference, right? What was the concept of it? 

The concept was quite simple: Give participants the possibility to meet people and buddies they would have, if the conference would have worked as planned in person. A big part of IstKon is connecting people and building friendships. We decided to spend 5 skypes in a span of a month with different activities like PowerPoint Karaoke, Game Night or movie night. Also we matched people into buddy pairs and had buddy challenges (f.ex. VLOGs about days or presenting favourite songs). We wanted to give people the IstKon experience and they enjoyed it a lot!

So did it go as planned? Tell us your experience.

Sometimes we had technical difficulties (f.ex. not the best internet connection at everyone’s place overall), but because things were organized collaboratively, other people could step in to save it. In general it went very smooth, probably because we could draw from the experiences of having many skype/zoom calls. We want to keep that digital part for next IstKon to enrich the physical conference with a digital get-to-know beforehand.

So what are your plans with IstKon now?

Now we will choose the new Core Team for IstKon21 and introduce them slowly to the concept of IstKon, so they can organize it well. Also we hope IstKon21 will happen as normal… We want to cooperate more with SCC for the Future Conference and in general organizing our events. It’s important to connect the organization team, because the Future Conference will be probably digital as well. Let’s see, I am excited to see where everything goes!

Do you want to tell the readers something in the end? 

I am really hoping that IstKon21 will take place in person. But this experience of organizing IstKon20  was also very valuable for me. I am glad for the IstKon and SCC family, that everyone is holding so much together. It’s a great project and I hope it’ll continue for years!

Thank you for joining this interview! 🙂

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