Coming from a small town in Germany, I had never heard about Model United Nations and all that comes with it before I entered university. Upon finding out about my university’s United Nations Student Association, I was quite impressed. It almost seemed like the United Nations itself, with a big organization split into various committees and students from different backgrounds and countries.
I also got acquainted with the concept of a Model United Nations, MUN for short, which is a simulation in which students role-play UN delegates from different countries and organizations. The aim is to represent the interests of your country, reach a consensus with others, and write a resolution in the end. Whether this resolution will be passed is, however, another story!
I registered for my first MUN because I wanted to try something new. I tried my best to be prepared, taking part in a workshop on the rules of procedure and researching my topic beforehand. However, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into when I entered the allocated room for my committee, seeing all these people dressed in business attire and wearing rather serious faces. In contrast to this first impression, my first MUN turned out to be an amazing experience.
To find out why, read these five reasons of how MUNs can enrich your life!
1. MUNs push your boundaries
Do you remember your fear, but excitement, the last time you encountered something new? It is the same for participating for the first time in a MUN: you do not really know what to expect, but what will come will broaden your horizons. Raising your placard for the first time and speaking up before people you have never met will definitely boost your self-confidence. Don’t be scared to be a newbie, as at some point, everyone has been one. As long as you are excited and enthusiastic, you will have a great time in any MUN – and there is a lot to be excited about!
2. You will meet new people and visit new places
MUNs are a great opportunity to travel to another city, or even another country. Therefore, by joining a MUN, you can visit a new place and get to know new people. Just as at every point in life, it is the people who make life fun. You will meet new people from different countries and with different stories. But still you all share one thing: you are taking part together in a MUN. In general, it is very easy to start a conversation because everyone is open-minded and happy to learn something new. Some MUNers have even made lifelong friendships. So don’t miss this chance!
3. Improve your academic and social skills
Ever dreamed of getting to know how it feels to be David Cameron, Vladimir Putin, or Barack Obama? This is your chance to fulfil this dream – at least for a couple of days. By putting yourself into the position of another country, you will gain another perspective. Depending on your interest you can chose between various committees reaching from the Human Rights Council and the World Bank to the Security Council, with the goal to cope with a natural disaster or to resolve a current world crisis. In doing so, you will improve both your academic and social skills by learning how to convince others of your opinion, and concede on certain points while winning on others. Most importantly, you learn how to work in a team. In the end, you will understand more of what is happening on the world stage – plus, you can use your new skills in your studies. A win-win situation, right?
For non-native English speakers, it is also a great opportunity to improve your (academic) English. After four days of being in the conference and constantly speaking English, I, in fact, got frustrated when I couldn’t find a German substitute for an English term I wanted to express.
4. The social program: Debating at day time, unwinding at night time
Thinking of MUNs as places in which you are debating about serious topics wearing your strict business clothes is only half of the story. What could be better than to finish off a session-filled day with some relaxation in the evening? And there are plenty of them. The most expected one is perhaps the delegates’ dance. Dressed in your nicest dress or suit you will have the chance to get to know the real person behind who is representing, for example, Italy, China, or Brazil.
5. Creating prospects for the future
In participating in a MUN, you may meet fellow MUNers in your future workplaces. Knowing theses people already will make it easier to work with them later in your life. By participating in MUNs, you will become part of a world-wide network. Some former MUNers have pursued considerable careers. And yes, it is also a nice add to your CV.
So given that you have the opportunity to participate in a MUN, don’t hesitate it to do so! You will certainly feel for like you are living in an own MUN world, to then come home with what is called “post-MUN depression,” but with new friends, new skills and a new life experience.
As you might have wondered, the photo above depicts the second MUN committee I have taken part in, the UN Human Rights Council – or, the self-proclaimed committee of love. Self-explanatory, isn’t it?