Post available to Premium Members only. Please upgrade your account in order to apply.
1. Learning how to speak in public and beating the embarrasment
The first time you find yourself in front of a huge public (in my case, I was in front of more than a hundred delegates) that has fought more in the Model United Nations arena, you feel daunted. By the end of the week, you do feel like you got the hang of it and there were more things you could have said now. The more conferences you participate in, you have less fear to ridicule yourself (and sometimes you even ridicule yourself on purpose). In conclusion, you beat the stage fright which in this day and age, it is essential.
2. Discovering your passion. Some of us, after attending a series of conferences discover that we have a strong interest in the international field (could be International Law, OInternational relations or both). The MUN experience can trigger your interest in United Nations or the International Scope and making you want to pursue a career in the aforementioned fields.
3. Devil's advocate. In life, you may find yourself having to defend a position that you are not 100% comfortable with. Being assigned a country that has complete opposite values or opinions to yours and having to comulgate with these will benefit you. Having that position takes lots of research and effort to do properly. You end up learning how to use the many tools you have access to as well as learning how to prepare. Specially as a lawyer, you will have to deal with uncomfortable positions. After defending the DPRK in the DISEC, Russian Federation in the Security Council or China in HRC, you can defend pretty much anything.
4. Leadership and team work. To prepare a resolution the most consensual as possible takes time and leaders to direct. While drafting a resolution, there are two or three that are the bosses. Good leaders direct the people but, at the same time, are capable of listening to what the others have to say as well as rectifying when they are wrong. Useful for many professions, right?
5. Negotiation. This goes within the leadership line. How hard is it to make someone change their initial position. Knowing how to negotiate to include your clause in the resolution and convince the rest of its absolute necessity takes a lot of effort and patience. Negotiation is related to team work insofar as it is essential to listen to what the others have to provide.
6. Awareness. I have realized many of the issues this world has thanks to Model United Nations. Some topics I had to do research on never appeared on the mainstream news. Nevertheless, these issues were a real deal (I guess not of enough importance as the celebrity news according to some TV news bulletins).
7. International perspective: You learn about other cultures, not only from the position the rest of the delegates but also from your committee peers. Interacting with people of so many places it is enriching. You learn and teach at the same time.
In my last conference, I met someone that came from Afghanistan and she helped me to understand what is going on there and their views on different subjects. I certainly learned a lot. I probably would have not had the chance to know that much about the Afghan culture and people if it were not for that conference . You make friends from so many places, some may last for the duration of the conference, some may last for a long long time.
8. English: for those who are not from a native English speaking country, MUNs are a great tool to learn how to speak English. Not only speaking, but also reading and writing. Pretty much every job nowadays asks the candidate to be more or less fluent in English. There are some MUNs where there are more official languages but primarily English is the official language.
Even if you do not end up in United Nations or as a Diplomat, MUN teaches you many valuable skills and lessons. Most of the time, conflicts and stereotypes arise because we do not know or understand other people's cultures or points of views that they have developed based on their personal and/or national circumstances. MUNs have taught me these lessons. To all of those MUNers out there, let me know how Model United Nations has influenced in your ways or if you have gotten a good outcome of the experience.