If you know your way around Model United Nations from high school, you may be able to name quite a few reasons why you’d participate in college. If you’re new to the world of Model United Nations, you may not know of any of the reasons you should! Check to see if there’s a Model UN club in existence at the schools you’re considering—or think about starting one if there isn’t! There may also be Model Arab League, Model European Union, or Model African Union available at your schools as well. Here are just a few of the benefits of why you should consider including Model UN in your college experience.
1. Boost your résumé
Employers love to see extracurricular activities; they give you more of the hands-on experiential learning you’ll need on the job. Plus, Model United Nations opens you up for great interview conversations about your experiences and what you’ve learned. Academically, it’s a perfect way to diversify. Are you a Pharmacy or Engineering major? Go outside your academic comfort zone into international relations and contribute to discussions about health or infrastructure issues. Already an international relations major? Delve deeper into specific topic areas like nuclear disarmament.
2. Keep up with the news
Since Model UN covers topics from human rights in Palestine to the potential arms race in outer space, start reading. Every day. Once you have an assignment to represent a particular country, you may want to set up Google Alerts on specific topics and regions, but you’ll also need (and want!) to know what’s generally going on in the world to fully participate in meetings and events.
3. Learn through new lenses
You aren’t representing yourself—you’re representing a foreign country on a specific topic. While you may never know exactly how the delegate from Yemen might behave in committee, researching everything from population demographics to past votes on UN resolutions to finding recent public statements helps you form an understanding of the actions of governments large and small. Plus, background knowledge helps you to think on your feet during debates.
4. Build relationships with international and multicultural people
Where else can you meet students representing Germany with British accents and southern military cadets representing Syria? Take negotiations beyond formal debate at conferences by grabbing lunch or a coffee, and you’ll end the weekend with friends from around the world and a new understanding of all sorts of cultures. With a broad range of students participating from all sorts of majors, and the chance to meet delegates from other schools and countries, Model UN is the perfect blend of intellectual and social. You’re sure to have a good time!
5. Enhance your academic and career skills
There’s nothing quite like addressing a room full of 250 people and starting with “The delegation of France feels...” Sure, your hands might be shaking, but if you take an old West Point trick and clasp them behind your back instead of clutching a trembling sheet of paper, nobody will be the wiser. But the more practice you have under pressure, the better you’ll get at it! Another skill you may pick up is rockstar event planning. Invite other schools for intercollegiate conferences. Learn the ropes of working with school event offices, outside vendors, partner organizations, and guest schools. Don’t forget about non-conference components, like dinners, travel guides, and parties!
6. Get traveling and professional experience
There are conferences all over the country—and the world. Whether you have the budget to just go across town and experience a conference at a new school or go to DC, Germany, or Russia, there are dozens of different opportunities to explore the world around you through Model UN. Invite local ambassadors and dignitaries to speak to your club privately, be the keynote speaker at a conference, or request an embassy visit in your city or a conference city. In Washington, DC, many embassies of Arab League member states will host schools traveling for the National Model Arab League conference each spring.
7. Partner with service organizations
Partner with organizations like the National Council on US and Arab Relations (NCUSAR) or United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB) to host conferences for area middle school and high school students, or help coach Model UN teams at local schools with members of your club. It’s a great way to help make sure schools can offer Model UN as an activity and engage students from a young age!
No matter how you participate in Model UN, you’ll soak up new experiences, make the most of your time on and off campus, and take advantage of all that this amazing extracurricular has to offer personally, academically, and professionally. You won’t regret it!
If you’re interested in learning about more on-campus clubs and organizations, check out our article on Exploring Extracurricular Activities in College: How to Find the Best Opportunities.