So many of my friends are applying for the Australia/NZ HMUN/YMUN delegation and I was wondering what it is all about. It looks super fun. Can anyone give me any insights into how competitive it is and what the experience is like?
The Australian and New Zealand School’s Delegation to Harvard and Yale Model United Nations is the most competitive and prestigious Model United Nations conference in Australasia and one of the most competitive in the world. The delegation, typically around 20 per country, is selected based on a rigorous multi-stage interview process screening for academic ability, extra-curriculars, leadership talent and ambition to succeed on a global stage. The delegation is about 16 days long and usually visits many of the world’s best universities like Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Columbia then competed at the Harvard and Yale Model United Nations conference. Upon gaining entry, delegates are rigorously prepared to succeed in the conference and in recent years the NZ/Australia delegation has usually done very well winning speaker awards of various forms.
Applications usually open around mid February with the delegation leaving for the conference in early January of the following year.
One of the best ways to learn about the delegation is to see what the delegates did this year in the 2016/2017 delegation! Below will get you started:
HARVARD AND YALE MODEL UN TOUR - DAY 1: UC BERKELEY
14/01/2017: We’ve just kicked off our Harvard and Yale Model UN Tour, a knowledge and history filled tour around the US, which will include two model UN discussions, one at Harvard and one at Yale (makes sense, right?) and tours around some of the world’s best colleges, including NYU, Stanford, Columbia, and Upenn. 27 Crimson students were lucky enough to be selected to attend the tour, which will provide them valuable extracurricular experience when it comes time to submit their very own college applications.
Day one of the trip has been busy consisting mainly of flying and very little down time. Once we landed in San Francisco, the real fun began, and, after dropping our bags off at the hotel, we headed straight back out and caught a train to attend our first US campus tour at UC Berkeley, located an hour from San Francisco.
UC Berkeley is a beautiful campus with trees planted all around, creating for an inspiring and vibrant feel to the campus, almost as if the trees create a natural feng shui to the campus. Whether it was the natural feng shui of the campus layout or the perpetual buzz of student groups and activities filling the air, almost immediately you could tell Berkeley is a very student focused campus and there seemed to be something happening at every turn of our tour around campus. It felt as if at any given moment you could be swept up in the next momentous political demonstration that UC Berkeley is somewhat renowned for or become entangled in an impromptu game of hacky-sack.
Adding to the nature, the buildings around the campus each have their own characteristics and story to tell, either exuding rich beauty or fascinating history. For example, the Campanile (also referred to as Sather Tower), the third tallest bell and clock tower in the world, standing at 307 feet tall or the Bancroft Library which has on display a gold nugget that is believed to be the the piece of gold that John Marshall discovered on January 24, 1848 which set off the California Gold Rush.
The students at UC Berkeley also have many superstitions, which were awesome to hear about; such as the tradition of rolling down 4.0 Hill, which is supposed to reward you with good grades. Although, you must be careful not to step on the Berkeley Seal located not too far from 4.0 Hill, or it’s said you’ll be cursed for the year ahead - eliminating all powers bestowed upon you from rolling down the hill.
Once we finished up with the tour of the campus, we caught a train back to our hotel for a much needed (but all too brief) moment of downtime. After relaxing at the hotel we headed out again to visit Union Square in downtown San Francisco. Students were given an opportunity to browse through the many brightly lit shops and shopfronts. It was at Union Square where we had a relaxing dinner, observing the bustling crowd of tourists and locals shuffling through the public plaza.
Overall, day one has been a crazy, jam-packed day! We learned a lot about the impressive history of UC Berkeley and were able to visit some tourist destinations and soak up the eclectic culture of San Francisco. We are looking forward to our upcoming adventures with all of the people and new friends we have made so far!
HARVARD AND YALE MODEL UN TOUR - DAY 2: STANFORD UNIVERSITY
15/01/2017: Day two of our tour was shaping to be another jampacked day, with a campus tour and many tourist attractions on our itinerary. To start the day, we split off into our own groups to grab a bite to eat around the Financial District of San Francisco, a condensed business area of the city known mainly for it’s high rise buildings. After breakfast, the whole group met back at the hotel to head off to our second campus tour of the trip, this time at Stanford University.
Entering Stanford is breathtaking, reaching a level of beauty I believe very few college campuses could achieve. As you walk toward the sandstone buildings, Californian palm trees arch overhead, allowing for the winter sun to cast a dappled, mesmerising light show on the pavement below. The beauty of the palm trees, however, is not be outdone by the sandstone buildings themselves. Standing in stark contrast to the blue Californian sky above and the lush green grass below, yet, somehow seeming perfectly at home in its surrounding environment.
Once we moved further onto the campus itself, we were met by two current Stanford University students, Lena and Hyun, who would be our tour guides for the day. We began by the main entrance, admiring the architecture, the interesting sculptures and the impressive displays of natural flora. Apparently there are 43,000 trees on the Stanford campus and over 800 different species of plants - even their mascot is a tree!
Continuing through the Stanford archways, we were led toward the astounding Memorial Church, located in the centre of the campus. Our tour guides described the church’s moving history to us, built by Jane Stanford as a memorial to her late husband, Leland Stanford. In front of the church, numbered tiles made of brass stood out among the sandstone and formed a line. We learned that these brass tiles are actually time capsules, filled with various unknown objects placed there by each year of Stanford graduates. The time-capsule tradition began in 1896 and since its beginnings only one capsule has ever been opened.
As Stanford is a massive campus, our tour guides walked us through about a quarter of the campus explaining which buildings held which subjects, each with their own quirks and interesting facts, too many to mention in a short blog post. Our tour guides explained that Stanford really is like it’s own town, and if you attend the college you rarely go off campus because it has absolutely everything you need. Our tour of Stanford was capped off with a quick browse through the Stanford bookstore where many of us who were swept off our feet by the beauty and history of the campus purchased Stanford branded items.
After the tour, we headed back to San Francisco to take in some more tourist attractions. We ended up at Pier 43 ½, a great vantage point of San Francisco, exposing us to the island of Alcatraz, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oakland Bay Bridge. It was at Pier 43 ½ where we split up into groups, explored the surrounding areas and had a well-deserved lunch break. Because we were blessed with an amazing day, weather wise, we decided to hit the water and take a Bridge to Bridge boat tour while the sun set behind the city. The boat trip was a great way to see all of San Francisco, and get a closer look at The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, two of my favourite sights for the day.
Once the boat tour concluded we headed out to dinner, most people choosing to dine at Washington Square, however, the keen shoppers walked ahead to Union Square for the last time. After our busy day we all ended back at our hotel for a brief moment to relax and pack our bags ready for our early morning flight to New York City!