So you’re a college (or high school) student looking for a fun club to join. You’re at orientation, and you’re walking around the school’s club expo. You inevitably see all the stereotypical clubs and organizations — sororities and frats, improv clubs, religious student unions, newspapers, dance teams, etc. However, you also see a booth for the school’s Model United Nations (Model UN or MUN for short) team. Chances are, you’ve never done or even heard of Model UN before.
A great explanation of the club can be found here. I’ll also briefly explain the club below. If after reading about Model UN you are still not convinced that you should join, here are five reasons why Model UN is awesome:
1. Learning in a fun way.
At each conference, delegates are asked to represent the position of a country and extensively study several different issues. For example, a delegate may represent the nation of France in the Security Council and he or she may be debating the Syrian Civil War. Throughout the conference, the delegates of this committee will try and create a resolution — a solution for the issue.
This may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually a fun process; I mean, who doesn’t like getting to pretend to be a decision-maker for a country like France or China or Iran? There’s also a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from “solving” issues and from becoming somewhat of an expert on a topic. When someone mentions Syria at the dinner table, you can actually have an informed conversation about it. How cool is that?
2. Delicious food.
Many conferences feature yummy buffets or give delegates free time to roam the cities and eat at great local restaurants. CNYMUN, a conference I always attended in high school, took place at Syracuse University, and we were only minutes away from the restaurants of Marshall Street. A bubble tea shop, a waffle house, a Greek restaurant, and a pizza kitchen were only some of the amazing options to choose from.
3. Meeting new people.
Conferences can consist of over one thousand delegates, as well as chairpersons and other staff members. This is a great opportunity to meet new people from different schools and to network with those who share similar interests. As working with others is a key component of Model UN, you also learn how to be a team player — how to give and take criticisms, share ideas, and be a leader.
4. Improving your public speaking skills.
By getting to speak in front of a committee of fifty-plus people, you naturally learn to project your voice, talk clearly, and say things that are relevant and appropriate. This can be extremely nerve wracking at first, but I also find it to be exciting and fun. And let’s not forget, public speaking is an important skill for nearly every field of work!
5. Gaining new perspectives.
Representing a different country and its policies, people, and overall point of view, especially if t
hey clash with your own, forces you to adopt a new lense. For example, you may be representing a country where gay marriage is illegal. Whether or not you believe this is just, you must consider that nation’s culture — its religion, language, and history. This is what Model UN is all about. Consequently, thinking about issues from another perspective becomes more common, not just in Model UN, but in every day life as well.
6. Resume building.
Last, but certainly not least, Model UN does look great on resumes, especially if you have won some awards. Schools and employers like to see people who have been involved in extracurriculars and have a wide array of interests. Model UN is great because your involvement in it demonstrates your interest in current affairs as well as your public speaking experience and ability to work with others!