By Vincent Brenn
If you have never done a Model United Nations (MUNs) conference, you might ask yourself the question whether these MUN’s everyone is talking about can actually be fun to go to. Although, this will mean that you have to do extra work in your free time, where you would rather have a relaxing holiday or work for your actual courses that you have to do?
I have been in this case and actually asked myself this question. Nevertheless, I have signed myself up, in order to fill my CV with extracurricular activities (the motivation of probably most newbies). Knowing that most of the adults, who work in the political spectrum of the European Union, repeatedly recommend MUNs, I made my way to the application form on MyMUN.
Coming to the question to which location you should go to, I could only recommend a place far away from where you have already been. Oslo was a mixture of the MUN conference and exploring the city. Because it was Oslo, I wanted to take my time to see all the interesting history and culture beforehand. Luckily, there was another person who had the same idea of exploring Oslo before the conference. Traveling with someone you didn’t know turned out to be quite an experience, helpful in adapting to a new environment and getting out of your comfort zone (a bit like the gap year feeling for 5 days again).
On the second evening, we went with the other students who came to Oslo to participate in the MUN conference. Since the price on alcohol is so immensely high everyone brought their alcohol from home, which led to funny nights at the apartment of other students from Maastricht. We went out to a bar at least once, however it turned out to be hyperinflationary expensive for everyone to have one beer.
Then, to come to the Conference itself, it was much more pompous than I expected it to be. There were numerous Committees, such as the African Union, Arctic Council and European Court of Justice. I represented the delegation of New Zealand in the United Nation Security Council, with about ten other delegates. Our chosen topic, the Yemeni crisis, created some very extensive discussion in the group of delegates. Especially the delegation of Russia, China and Egypt were very active in telling the other delegates what their opinion was about the crisis.
To conclude, I made a list of what has to be included in a successful MUN experience:
1) Find a conference at a location that you have never been
2) Travel with another person you don’t know or know very briefly
3) Take your time to see the city or new surrounding
4) Be very prepared before you go to your conferences
5) Don’t come in late or you have to dance in front of the everyone at the end
6) Be open to meet new people and make new contacts
7) Go to the socials or have a drink at a bar in the evenings
8) Come back home with a story to tell