By Stephanie Tan Si Ying, first year student , Diploma in International Business
This Lunar New Year, 5 students from the Singapore Polytechnic Outstanding Talent (SPOT) programme set off on a one- week visit to Boston, Massachusetts from 22 January to 31 January to attend the Harvard Model United Nations Conference (HMUN) 2012.
The Conference is a 4-day simulation whereby high school students from all across the globe assume roles of UN representatives to debate world issues and to draft resolutions in response to these concerns.
Having been selected to join the Press Corp committee I was thrilled to be assigned to our nation’s paper, the Straits Times. About 20 students were assigned as reporters from prominent news agencies, and during the course of the conference, the reporters were to report accurately the events at the Conference.
We arrived at the Logan International Airport jet-lagged after 21 hours of flight. We were surprisingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as we trudged on the snow-ladden ground. We stayed at the Westin Copley Place which was a 10 minute walk away from the Sheraton Boston where the conference was held.The conference schedule was long, lasting from 8.15am to 11.45pm at night. It was challenging time with little sleep, hurried meals and having to think on your feet all the time.
Left to right: Teng Zi Ying, Stephanie Tan, James Ng, Nicholas Tei, Li Yue Wei
There was time for fun too. On the third night, I was awoken to see the Press Corps’ very own assistant director Beau Feany, dressed in a cowboy costume with a water gun and exclaiming “Past curfew, just checking.Back to bed, you.”
There were loads of humorous role-playing simulation crises’, from the assassination of the Chinese Emperor of the TaiPing Heavenly Kingdom Committee to the CIA agent announcing the real culprits to the property right violation of the World Trade Organisation to the announcement of Caesar declaring himself king over the territory of Gaul. There was not a single dull moment during the conference as the delegates resolved to deliver an apt resolution as crises rained down upon them.
Aside from the conference, our team of SP students made time to tour the city of Boston. We listened intently to a security guard who was passionately telling us the history of Faneuil Hall. Did you know what started the war in Massachusetts? Tea.
We followed the freedom trail, lunched at the Union Oyster House- America’s oldest restaurant! Boston’s famed lobsters were the size of our heads! We also visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History where we came across dinosaur fossils the length of 2 SBS busses and reveled in the beauty of the painted arts, genuine Greek statues, and mummies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Albeit hesitant, we were brave enough to take a gyspy cab around town. We saw Paul Revere’s home and were tempted to shout, “The Singaporeans are coming! The Singaporeans are coming!” down the street. Paul Revere was responsible for saving the lives of his village people when he ran down the streets screaming “the British are coming!” during the British-American war.
Students sightseeing with a friend
Left to Right: Teng Zi Ying, Stephanie Tan, Kuriakin Zeng, Li Yue Wei, Nicholas Tei, James Ng
Former SP student and current Scholarship student at Harvard University, Kuriakin Zhen specially took time out from his busy schedule to meet up with us and even gave us an insider’s tour of the Harvard campus. He was extremely humble of his achievements and shared with us his perspective and life as a current Harvard student. I was incredibly inspired by Kuriakin and his zest in life. He even granted us special access to visit the insides of his dormitory room and got to chat with his roommates. During dinner, we ate at Mr. Bartley’s Burgers and we asked him if he misses Singapore food. “Of course lah! I miss SP’s food terribly” he added with a chuckle.
All in all, Boston is an amazing city and this even has really broadened my perspective on the world. It has been a very rewarding experience as I was able to interact with students from all across the globe and learn the different ways of which the students see the world.
Being the only first year student on the trip, I had the benefit of the learning from my seniors. Ziying, Yuewei, Nicholas and James are inspiring – working in the wee hours of the night typing out their reports. They certainly made this trip fun and I really enjoyed spending time with them.
Left to right: Li Yue Wei, James Ng, Nicholas Tei, Stephanie Tan, Teng Zi Ying
Come next January, I hope that the next batch of SPOT students will be gung-ho enough to sign up for HMUN 2013.
Nobody said it would be easy, but I promise that it will be worth it!
To sum the entire trip in one word is “enriching”.
- Nicholas Tei, 3rd year, Diploma in International Business student
The HMUN conference was definitely a great experience
- Li Yuewei, 2nd year, Diploma in International Business student