There are a select number of programs at Eastern University that offer quality experiential learning and subsidized travel to a tourist destination while also providing a high-energy setting for massive dance parties with people from across the globe in attendance. I dare venture to say there might only be one such opportunity at Eastern University, and the twenty plus students that attended Model United Nations in Boston this spring encourage readers not to pass up such an opportunity.
This past year Harvard University hosted over 3200 students from over 40 countries to participate in a Model UN. All involved participated in rigorous debate, discussion, problem solving and also dancing, over the course of five days. These 3200 students acted as if they were delegates, or ambassadors, to the United Nations from any given country to any certain sub-committee of the UN. For example Eastern students were delegates for Belgium and represented the country by fighting for their interests in the World Health Organization, the UN’s legal committee, the committee on disarmament and International Security and several other committees. Within these committees delegates attempted to pass productive legislative resolutions on any slue of major hot button issues that affect the world today.
One could argue that it is everyone’s civic duty to be informed on issues like these but learning about these types of important issues is only one of the many educational benefits this trip offers. The exercises at model UN also force its participants to sharpen their skills in persuasion, conflict resolution, discernment, public speaking and overall leadership and social skills better then any class could ever teach. These are skills that every person looking for a career in pastoring, administration, politics, coaching, business, teaching or practically anything else can benefit from greatly.
One surprising piece of information about Model UN is that while it will certainly stretch your work ethic and intellect to the max, Harvard also goes above and beyond to show its attendees an objectively, outrageously fun time. After spending all day hashing out issues in sub-committees, delegates are afforded the opportunity to attend large dance parties thrown by Harvard Model UN with refreshments, a great venue, dance floor and fantastic music. These Harvard-thrown parties had everything from live jam bands and formal attire one day, to a DJ, glow sticks, strobe lights and casual dress code the next day.
This means that Model UN is not only a sure bet for anyone trying to challenge himself or herself academically but also for people looking to gain some global perspective and culture, and challenge themselves socially. As previously mentioned, the 3200 students that participate in Harvard’s model UN are some of the best and brightest students from some 40 plus different countries. This means that after a long day of discussing and searching for solutions to how nuclear proliferation or the Zika virus affects the world with individuals speaking in a thick Irish accents or dressed in traditional Chinese garb, you might blow off some of that steam at night by hitting the dance floor with your new Kazakhstani friend that is killing it with the dougie in a Berka.
This type of cross-cultural experience is possibly the best type of education that there is to be offered. This is the type of education that doesn’t simply stop at teaching useful information and skills but also has the ability to shift people’s paradigms, broaden horizons and give the closest thing to real life career experience that a college student can get outside of an internship or being an active member of the work force.