The story of Krystal-Marie Benjamins – Delegation 2018|2019

Work hard, play harder. That is how I would summarize my semester as a member of the 16th United Netherlands Delegation. My own journey with United Netherlands started over two years ago, when I followed the Public Speaking Program and came to learn about the program. I remember thinking I did not have the skills nor the experience to participate in such an ambitious program, but I was eager to learn the tricks and trade of international diplomacy. And trips to Oxford, New York and Harvard did not sound so bad either. Looking back, I can honestly say that being a part of the Delegation was much more than that.

For six intense months, me and my fellow delegates got weekly lectures on international relations and multilateral diplomacy, we practiced our skills in public speaking, lobbying, and negotiating, and we debated in Model United Nations simulations. But the highlight was, of course, putting these skills to the test at Model United Nations conferences in Oxford and in Harvard. In Oxford, I represented Laos in the United Nations Development Program, where we debated the pressing issue of malnutrition around the world. Although I was super nervous before the conference, I managed to overcome my fears and even won an award. In Harvard, I got to represent Australia in the Disarmament and International Security Committee. Together with my friend Josephine Bosch, we discussed the Kurdish question. This was a much more challenging experience, as we had to debate against 200 other competitive students. But after an intense few days of tough negotiating and strategically using our social skills, we were awarded with an Honourable Mention. Working hard and being able to see how far you’ve come in only a few months, was an extremely rewarding experience.

But the best part of the Delegation, were the 25 other delegates that were along for the ride. Our weekly Friday dinners and drinks, our Sinterklaas weekend getaway, karaoke night in New York, and the galas and club nights at the conferences are only a few of the many fun memories I will cherish. Every week,we provided each other with feedback and challenged each other to improve our personal and academic skills. The moment we won the award for Best Large Delegation in Oxford, because of the hard work of everyone, is one of my fondest memories of the past semester. The Delegation was a lot of hard work but being around a group of ambitious and inspiring people made me want to do the work.

So, are you ready for a challenge, to step out of your comfort zone, and have the experience of a lifetime? Then go apply today!