Model UN Visited Europe over Winter Break to Enhance their Club Experience

By Zach Brooks, Staff Writer

Model UN outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium (Photo provided).

Model UN outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium (Photo provided).

This past winter break, members of the Gettysburg International Affairs Club and Model United Nations (Model UN) went abroad to Europe, a long-planned trip that finally materialized in part due to co-president of the organization Sophia Meyer ’24. Meyer is an anthropology and political science double major, and an Africana studies minor.

Meyer said that she was inspired to major in political science with a focus on international relations because of her time in high school with Model UN. Meyer first joined her high school’s Model UN since she wanted a space to discuss and debate current events. She was a member of her high school club all four years, making this year her seventh year participating in Model UN. She said she was drawn to Model UN initially out of a love of learning and debate.

“I enjoy being able to learn and debate about a huge variety of political, social, cultural, economic, environmental, and security/crime related issues,” said Meyer.

Meyer has been involved in Model UN since her first year at Gettysburg College. When she was elected president in May 2022, she began planning a trip to Europe, since previous efforts by the club were unsuccessful.

“I picked three easily accessible countries in Europe that form the core international political centers, seeking out international non-governmental organizations, government bodies and political institutions that frequently come up in debate or appear as entities that we are arguing as,” she said. 

These countries included France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. As well, she wanted to ensure that the trip would be feasible for a group of students to take in a week and decided to take a test trip of her own this past summer.

“I did on-the-ground research and spent my own time and money to actually see whether or not such a trip could be pulled off and I found that after going through the places that I had decided on, such a trip was definitely able to be pulled off,” said Meyer.

The participating group of ten students flew out of JFK on Wednesday morning and arrived in Paris, France Thursday evening and explored local tourist attractions. On Friday, they traveled to Brussels, Belgium to tour the European Parliament and were given the option of going to the art and history museum in Brussels.

Saturday morning, they traveled to Amsterdam, Netherlands. During their two days they explored many museums and historical sites. 

“Amsterdam is looked to as an inclusive, diverse, vibrant place that is often used as an example of social progress, so it was a logical choice [for the trip].” said Meyer. 

On Monday afternoon, they went from Amsterdam to Paris, where they spent their final two days at Palais du Luxembourg on Tuesday, having a group lunch, and optionally touring the historic catacombs of Paris. 

“This trip has inspired and lightened my deepest political and cultural interest, specifically as destinations changed along our journey. At the end of the day, it is true that ‘out of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport,’” said trip attendee Meriem Hamioui ’25.

Meyer shared that her favorite experiences were a group lunch in Paris and the many casual discussions over myriad topics relevant to the world stage. Meyer also expressed how getting to experience a trip with nine other people who share an interest in global affairs and current events was rewarding.

“Getting to embark on such an experiential learning initiative was rewarding because of the knowledge gained, which I believe to be invaluable,” said Meyer.

This article originally appeared on page 16 of February 2023 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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1 Comment

  1. Glad they deprived Senate of thousands of dollars for an extended bar hopping excursion

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