A Chinese proverb says,” To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the World”. Every one of us who has studied another language has struggled with feelings of hopelessness and frustration. But we never gave up and we continued to believe that learning a language is not just about a vocabulary size, I think using the language means living the culture of this language. So, nobody can deny that the English language is beneficial for every child’s development and their future.

 

Nowadays there are a lot of programs and projects with mobilities for students in order to make friends from all around the world, to have a chance to share the experiences together, learn better the language and educate each other about our cultures.

I was reminded of this today when I started my MUN journey six years ago when my dream was to teach students many skills like diplomacy, public speaking and leadership skills. I must admit that the Model UN  helped a lot of students to gain these skills by providing many activities that are related to each skill. To be honest, I start the MUN club at the beginning of the school year for many reasons not just to improve English as a second language but remind the students that Model UN conferences are unique experiences and everybody should participate in them at least once. By the way, not many students knew about MUN, so I had to advertise my club, I had to talk to students briefly about MUN during breaks, lunchtime and free periods. Probably one of the best examples of this is when my student assistant had to organize an exhibition of the MUN club at the beginning of the year and explain its importance.

Oh god, to a certain extent I felt relieved because everything went well and there were no major problems, I’m really proud of my students that definitely played a major role in starting the club and gain a lot of candidates and it’s also very special to see how our MUN club has really changed themselves to organize and be a part of it. Being aware of the fact what makes so different from the other clubs in the school, sure the answer is the ”team spirit” which brings students together.

Let me just explain a bit about the key activities done in the MUN club, which play a great role in developing the best MUN delegates. If you never attended this club, it is helpful to know some background information. That’s why the best plan is having a yearly MUN plan, weekly plan in order to guide correctly the students. This is what I do in my club, divide into two parts: theory and practice. The theory goes a little bit boring and sometimes difficult but on the other hand, the practice goes so smoothly, but that is mostly because my club team was capable to learn the theory and later on deal with all changes and challenges. Don’t forget to encourage new delegates, teach them in order to teach others! We as advisors need to inspire them to rise, to speak and to express their thoughts in front of a big audience. I strongly believe that when the student knows what he or she needs to improve upon you will see how they find the motivation to be a better delegate.

Of course, I should arrange my lessons on different issues and aspects of Model UN  e.g. how to do a country research report, how to write a country policy, how to write a resolution paper which is considered to be the main product of MUN conference, points, and motions, etc. Have you ever noticed that many Turkish students may be able to understand rather than speak the language. Being a part of this club is to struggle to pass this ”fear of public speaking” I’m convinced that practice makes perfect: mitigate the fear and get comfortable while speaking by using the speech structure called ”Hook Point Action”.

We all know that the success of a club comes when you choose those students who dedicate themselves, who will be willing to put in the work for a successful team. The best advice I can offer is to choose responsible, ambitious, hard-working students, those who are culturally aware and have a good command of English.

You may be wondering what I have been doing in choosing the international MUN conference…I have attended many abroad conferences which gave me such a nice opportunity to meet new teachers, MUN advisors who recommended me many productive and amazing conferences. It’s worth taking a look at https://mymun.com/ platform or  https://www.munturkey.com/ where you can find the calendar of various conferences. Also, I receive invitation letters from organizational teams that help me in choosing the best conference. You should bear in mind that organizing an international conference requires patience and understanding. Firstly, I have to determine which conferences I will join next year before school ends, as I mentioned, in the beginning, the best plan is to have a good plan.

This plan includes: having a yearly planner; run MUN club in school; the spot in a conference; motivated students; parents’ support; travel arrangements. It is true that arranging accommodation and travel on your own is a little bit hard  that’s why working with a Travel Agency makes things easier. In this case, I have to find a tourism agency who is responsible and be in charge of the travel arrangements.

Not surprisingly, all MUN conferences have a great atmosphere, it is very friendly for first-timers but also a lot of fun for more experienced delegates. It’s definitely a good taste of what an MUN is like so it’s a great place to learn. Everybody is willing to work together with each other and that’s in my eyes one of the main goals of each MUN: building friendships and parallel relations. I reckon this is something we can attribute to our ambitiousness.

I should mention that the official language of MUN conference is English and while joining an international conference you can feel this difference. In comparison with a national conference English is more spoken in an international one due to foreign schools. This can be considered one of the main differences I have observed recently. Another aspect is to meet new cultures and learn about their traditions and customs. Being abroad each delegate has a chance to experience some of the important manners and holidays there at the same time visiting tourist attractions. For instance, my students’ first impression of the FAMUN (Netherlands) was: bicycles! Well, it was quite unrealistic.

Sometimes it takes a little advanced planning of an international conference in order to do so, but it is well worth the effort. I noticed that the students become more responsible while they are abroad because it is a new place for them and communicate with different students from another country is really interesting and challenging. I think the mix of different cultures students is what makes the international conference so special, everybody is open to learn and help one another.

I would like to conclude with some suggestions for those teachers who are planning to attend an international or national conference in order to be a success. Firstly, deciding the conference is the first step and especially if you have MUN beginners or unexperienced delegates it’s preferred to choose small conferences. Second, run the MUN club in your school motivate and encourage the students to join, build a team spirit, help them to understand the real United Nations. Don’t forget to give the power of speaking and expressing himself or herself in the sessions. On the other hand, help the students with the research, you can cope with History teachers too. However, for public speaking, you can try some fun games or mock debates that your students can get used to giving speeches.

All the Best!

Maria Castrubin

The Writer of MUNTurkey.com

 

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