From September 29th to October 8th, me and eight other SLAmbassadors had the wonderful experience of going to Torun, Poland to participate in a Model United Nations. This being my first time in Europe, made me excited but also nervous.
We spent our first day in Poland at a tourist town called Gdansk. It’s a city located near the Baltic Sea of Poland. The architecture of the city was beautiful because most of it had been destroyed during the war.
While in Gdansk, we also went to the European Solidarity Centre. The museum had only been open for 4 years and it gave a lot of insight on the Polish trade union and resistance movements in Communist Eastern Europe.
Later that evening, we got on a three-hour bus ride to meet up with our host families. My host was a 17-year-old girl named Sara. She lived with her mom, dad, and a pair of brothers. When I first arrived, her family greeted me with open arms and a traditional Poland meal: Apple and cream cheese stuffed pierogies.
I spent most of my time with my host family watching movies (with Polish subtitles of course), bowling and going to the mall as well. For some reason, I was expecting their activities to be different from the things that we do in America. However, doing all of these things made me feel right at home.
One issue that I faced in Poland the most was the language barrier within the family. Sometimes it was difficult trying to communicate with my host parents, but my host would translate for us.
From Thursday to Saturday we did Model UN. Many different students from around the globe came as well to take part in the experience. There were students from Luxembourg, Germany, France, Finland etc. For Model UN there were 6 different councils that each had 3 different topics of discussion. Each student in the council represented a different country.
In Model UN we had to create amendments as a way to solve our three issues. However, there would be times when certain amendments would target specific countries. Whenever this happened, we had to debate.
Sometimes it was difficult because many delegations wouldn’t agree with each other and it would be like talking to a wall. The room would hit a complete standstill and we would have to divide the house, meaning that we would have to take a position on the
On the last day of Model UN, we had a ceremony. Everyone received participation certificates and there were a few honorable mentions.
Overall, the SLAmbassadors trip to Poland was an experience I’ll never forget. Over the seven day period, I not only learned more about the city of Torun and the Polish culture, but I made long lasting friendships with people from various different countries. Model UN was also an amazing experience because it showed me how education varies in each country and just because you’re from another country doesn’t mean that you can’t be well versed on the political and social issues on other countries.