If you’re reading this right now, then you’ve probably thought about joining the UNL Delegation. Let me say this: Go apply RIGHT NOW. It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done, and it’ll be the best six months you’ll ever have at university.
So why did I apply? Well, my story is probably a little different to that of most other delegates. I was on exchange at Radboud for the semester, and was really just looking for something to keep me entertained outside my ten hours of class per week. Having been a Model United Nations (MUN) nerd back home in Australia, I applied during the Fall Selection round, after hearing about UNL during Orientation and thinking it’d be a great way for me to meet some Dutchies.
The application process itself was much less stressful than I expected: a short written application, followed by a UN Security Council simulation, and then a panel interview. If you’re worried about a lack of MUN experience let me assure you that the majority of students during the simulation round have no MUN experience whatsoever. You’re not being judged on whether or not you know the difference between a procedural and substantive vote. What the selection committee looks for are certain personal attributes – a willingness to compromise and work with others, an eagerness to learn new skills, and perhaps most importantly, the motivation for personal development. So don’t feel intimidated by the selection rounds!
Rather bizarrely, UNL seems to have this reputation for being some sort of “elitist” organisation, which could not be further from the truth! I’m so glad I didn’t know anything about this during the application process, because it definitely would have scared me from applying. Yes, we’re a bunch of motivated and ambitious individuals, we sometimes look like an impeccably dressed airline crew with our matching ties and scarves, and we also have a fondness for quoting political leaders, but at the end of the day, we’re just a bunch of silly little university students.
My favourite memories of UNL don’t involve reading through pages and pages of research papers, but moments of silliness with the other delegates, from sneaking into one of the Oxford colleges through a back gate (so we didn’t have to pay the entry fee), to trying to convince the manager at an Abercrombie & Fitch store to take his shirt off for us (it was for a scavenger hunt okay?), and even stuffing ourselves with the most amazing little treats at the US Ambassador’s residence in The Hague (full disclosure: I had eight). I’m also going to mention what started as an innocent enough mascot competition that started amongst the delegation and turned into a full on war that resulted in numerous injuries! So if your belief that UNL is some sort of “elitist” organisation is stopping you from applying, wow are you missing out!
Being part of the UNL delegation is an experience you’ll find nowhere else throughout your university life. If nothing else, what other university course is going to give you the opportunity to travel to the UK and US? The thirty or so delegates become the people you want to share not just your triumphs, but also disappointments with. They become the people you look forward to seeing every Friday, and the people you plan awesome New York and Boston adventures with. They become not just your classmates, but also your closest friends.