Hey everyone! It's been some time since I've written an original piece. We'll change that :) Today I wanted to start a discussion around hosting an attendee of a conference taking place in your hometown. I've had this text in the pipeline for quite a while. If you would like to make your own contribution (after reading the article below, of course :)) to the topic, feel free to join the open discussion HERE.
Imagine this scenario: There is a Model UN coming up and you will be attending. By now, you’re familiar with how things work in the MUN world. You’re familiar with this year's topics, you've picked your committee, and now you’re eagerly awaiting the conference. Students from all over the world will be showing up. What you might not know by now is that most of those students have no place to stay. This is where you can step into the picture. Would you be willing to accommodate a fellow MUNer?
So, now you’re probably asking yourself “Why should you host someone?” When you host an international MUN student/delegate the world comes to you. Opening the door of your home to someone is not only a great opportunity for you to share your culture, but also a great chance to get the glimpses of the culture of that person as well. In other words, this is a perfect opportunity for you to gain different, fresh perspectives on the world. Why I did it?
Well here are three reasons (out of many):
1. You’re actually helping someone
I will not be going deep into the social psychology and the whole science behind “why people help”. Notable reasons could be: egoism (Schaller & Cialdini, 1988), empathy-altruismBatson et al. (1981), or just helping others as a way of getting a good feeling (Batson 1998). I do not fall under any of those categories. My case is different. Firstly, I come from a country where hospitality is mandated by the cultural norms. Hospitality is something that you are taught from the early age. Secondly, I was in a situation when I needed hosts in a foreign country. When I was in elementary school, I got a free trip to Norway. Group of people from the Norwegian city Haugesund sponsored our trip to their lovely town. This experience changed my life in so many different ways that, ever since then, I am, in a way, trying to find a way of somehow paying back the society by helping others.
2. You will get new experiences
Aren’t you tired of the same old, same old? Boring daily routines can get the worst out of people. Having an MUNer visiting might spice up your life significantly. You will get to present to your guest/s your hometown. They will get to meet your friends and family. Your tourist guide skills, the ones you were previously unaware of, will get to shine in all their glory. The good news is that most MUNs have well developed support network for foreign participants and hospitality programmes which make everyone’s lives a lot easier. Let me also add that you better be fit and physically prepared for your next hosting session because these people love sightseeing.
3. Make friends
I cannot think of anything better than having a foreign friend, or several of them. Your guests will more than appreciate the hospitality you’ve given them and will try to return the favour by inviting you to visit them as well. Here is your chance to finally have that place to stay when you go to Heidelberg, Germany or N'Djamena, Chad. The perks of modern communication technologies will allow you to nurture your friendship forever.
To sum this up, I realized that my small giving had given so much to me: the life-long friendships, fantastic memories and many, many gifts. The only downside to the story is that they constantly keep coming back ;)