Everyone has seen the Model UN episode of "Parks and Rec," but real Model UN, or MUN, isn't much different. Granted, most MUN conferences won't let you be the moon, but they do let you get involved in some pretty fun debates. For a quick rundown of what Model UN is, go here. If you aren't sure if you want to join your school's MUN, here are 8 reasons why you should.
1. To learn more about politics and the world.
Since nearly every conference has something to do with politics or current events, MUN is a great way to learn about past politics and to keep up-to-date on what is going on in the world right now.
2. To develop better problem-solving skills.
MUN is all about trying to get a room of people to agree with what you have to say and see the world from your point of view. Sometimes, this is easy, sometimes you're a communist in a room of American politicians. This requires you to get really good at problem-solving really quickly. Whether it be altering a directive to make sure it passes in the room or changing your crisis arc to ensure you're able to smuggle drugs into the country, problem-solving is a key part of MUN and something that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
3. To develop better debate and public speaking skills.
MUN is mainly in-room debate. So, if you're anything like me, you're terrified of this. Public speaking has never been my strong suit, but after doing countless MUN debates, I have gotten a lot better and a lot more confident in my ability to speak in front of a room of people and to make sure that the point I am trying to make is clear.
4. Travel and meet new people.
In both high school and college MUN, you often travel to other schools in other states in order to compete with other schools. This allows you to travel and see other places, but it also allows you to meet new people. This opens you up to a whole new world of perspectives and life experience.
5. Network yourself.
When you go to conferences, you are not only meeting other students from other schools, you are also meeting other professors, and possibly professors that work in the field. For example, at a recent high school MUN conference that my university hosted, we had a speaker who is the senior program manager of the human rights at the United Nations Foundation. Being able to interact with these people on a regular basis gives you the ability to network yourself and get yourself out there. This can open you up to a whole world of possibilities, including internships and job offers.
6. Cultural exposure.
Not only will you be exposed to different cultures from meeting people from all around, but you will also often have to take the role of a country or a diplomat from a country that you know nothing about. This allows you to learn more about these countries, their values, and their foreign and domestic policies.
7. To make friends for life.
I know this is something that is said about every club and organization, but it really is true. You work together with everyone in the club and often travel with them, so you get so close with everyone. I have met some really amazing people through MUN and have heard stories of people meeting lifelong friends through it.
8. To have fun.
MUN is one of those things that totally sounds like it would be the most boring thing, especially if you're not into politics and current events, but it really is a lot of fun. It lets you be creative and allows you to learn more about politics in a way that isn't boring.
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and join! When I joined my freshman year of college, I had zero MUN experience and absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was the only journalism major in a room full of Diplomacy and International Relation and Political Science majors. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience and will go to the ends of the Earth to get more people to take part in it.