A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
After months of preparation with the Model United Nations Society at Leiden, it was time to finally set off for America. All 19 of us congregated at Schipol on February 12th, ready to take our Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschaapij airborne vessel to the new world.
Our 9 hour sojourn was made slightly more bearable by our light blue clad and very attractive dutch flight attendants. We had been briefed at the start of the flight by our President that free alcohol wasn’t an excuse to binge drink. So we immediately proceeded to order as much free Absolut vodka, wine, and, beer as possible, ensuring that by the time we disembarked at JFK, we were heavily intoxicated and ready to show the United States that we meant business. Or at the very least the US immigration office. My fellow Dutch comrades slipped through immigration without a problem, but unfortunately my British Passport didn’t provide enough immunity for me to avoid hours of waiting in queues and speaking to officials about what I was doing in the Netherlands in the first place. That aside I made it through safely and intact, ready to hit to Big Apple with my fellow Dutchies.
The first leg of our trip involved us staying in New York for 3 nights. In true dutch fashion we spared no expense and ended up sharing double bedrooms between four people each. The best description would be ‘gezellig’, a word commonly used by many dutch folk in many varying scenarios, but has no direct translation. Something I’m afraid you’ll have to come to the Netherlands to find out. The Leiden Model United Nations board had prepared a guided tour of the UN headquarters for us where we got a chance to check out the General Assembly, and even more fortunately since they weren’t in season, the Security Council. After the United Nations our days up until Boston were filled with partying, shopping, and even more drinking. Leiden Model United Nations sets an excellent precedent on how the UN should really be run (and maybe this way they’d achieve more!)
The day of the conference arrived, and after a long bus trip from New York to Boston, we took up our rightful places in the 5* hotel of the Boston Park Plaza. Along the way we met delegates from all around the world, but more importantly from the Netherlands. Yes, the familiar faces of the Utrecht Model United Nations, and United Netherlands had turned up. We had become acquainted with these delegations during a previous mock session where Leiden MUN had hosted both, and our friendships bound by a common dutch thread picked up where they had left off three weeks earlier. I have to say that one of the best things about being able to speak a little Dutch is that it really works perfectly as a secret language. The problem with French and Spanish, is that almost anyone around the corner could be expected to understand what you are saying. That isn’t the case with Dutch. This proved useful during committee session when speaking to my co-delegate about whether we thought the girl currently speaking on the podium was
hot or not a talented orator. Even more useful was when I was discussing the ‘meisjes’ sitting right next to us, or that ‘annoying git’ who we had to try and get rid of.
The overall conference was a bit overwhelming as a first time MUNer, but partying with my fellow dutch delegates in New York and Boston was something that I will not forget. Many a good time were had during our time in the states, and my appetite for the United Nations has only been wetted. I will be sure to make an effort to get onto the Leiden Delegation going to Maastricht in May for EuroMUN, the biggest European MUN conference I am lead to believe. 4 days of debating and partying with students from all around the world in a traditionally Dutch setting: What could be better? 😀