“It is not possible to explain the wonderful experience you can have during an EUROAVIA International Event unless you live it yourself". This is the advice that Lars Menzel gives to all EUROAVIAns.
Since he was a kid, Lars has been amazed by the Space Shuttle that he defines as a “technical masterpiece”. This was an impulse that made him wanting to become an engineer that, one day, will work in the aerospace field helping to develop new strategies for the space exploration. Originally from the south of Germany, he carried out his studies in Mechanical Engineering at RTWH University in Aachen, Germany, specialising on “Simulations of Dynamics and Vibrations”. He’s currently doing his PhD in Braunschweig, also in Germany, in this same field of study, which will allow him to get a broad and deep view into how vibrations interact with diverse environments.
During his years as a student in Aachen, he joined the Local Group there and became an active member. Soon, he decided to run for secretary but it wasn’t until his first International Event, the EMEAC ’14 in Stuttgart, that he realised how big EUROAVIA is. As he says, “during that week I could see that EUROAVIA means cultural exchange but also the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds but the same interests as you”. After this first wonderful event, he decided to tell and spread his experience within all AS Aachen members, which allowed reactivating the Local Group that, for the past few months, had been quite inactive. From that point on, AS Aachen started to organise a series of local events like company visits, but also an International Event that took place that same year. The Fly-In celebrated in Aachen on December 2014 made possible to grow even more interest within AS Aachen members to become part of EUROAVIA at both, local and international level. After this peak on his life in EUROAVIA, he continued for another year as Local Board in Aachen, and he joined two other international events in Ankara and Carlow. He also became part of the AS WG as the German BoP Coordinator and worked in the organisation of the DyDeWo (Dynamic Design Workshop).
Once he finished his Master’s studies and started working on his Doctoral Thesis, Lars realised that his journey as an EUROAVIAn had come to an end. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to disconnect from the Association. For that reason, he decided to join the EUROAVIA Alumni Association, where he would be able to keep in touch with people he met during his years involved in EUROAVIA even if his student life had finished. He soon became “Local Groups Coordinator” in the Alumni Association and still keeps working hard in order to enable making connections between AS and alumni members.
Thanks to his experience in EUROAVIA and afterwards, the Alumni Association, Lars has been able to develop some skills that nowadays help him work as an engineer. As an example, he says that the point of having regular online meetings with people all over the world allowed him to better get prepared to the current situation with the COVID-19 where almost everyone has to work from distance. He also points out that thanks to the connections he made in EUROAVIA he managed to find some internship opportunities that otherwise he could have never aspired to. “The most important thing the Alumni Association offers to EUROAVIAns is its network, the opportunity to connect with people who might help you throughout your professional career”, says Lars. “And, it is not only the opportunities you can get”, he clarifies, “but also the advice from people who once where students and offer you their support”.
If he had to choose one specific memory of his journey in EUROAVIA that would be the Final Dinner during the Fly-In in Aachen where, after a series of difficulties during the organisation of the event, they managed to make everything work smoothly and see how participants really enjoyed their experience. As he says, “there is no better reward than people’s joy during an international event you’re organising, no matter how hard the process can be”. What Lars recommends in order to really feel what EUROAVIA means is to go to an International Event and experience by yourself what we could define as the EUROAVIA spirit. “It is not possible to explain the wonderful experience you can have during an EUROAVIA International Event unless you live it yourself”, he remarks.