War and Friendship in Brussels

 At eight o’clock on the Friday night of March 8th, thirteen students and their teachers landed at Arlanda Airport. They were greeted by parents and friends, or in my case an empty train platform, and sleepily got in their cars to head home. These exhausted students had just spent a week writing speeches, debating and discussing ideas, and experiencing public speaking at BRUMUN.

Despite a lack of sleep and a fair amount of stress at the beginning due to nerves, BRUMUN was a great success. The first and last day of the conference were held at the Union of International Associations, while the European School of Brussels graciously hosted us for the days in between. 232 students participated from Europe and Africa. Our school, quite coincidentally, was chosen to represent Sweden and Germany at the conference. Tuesday, the first day of the conference, began with speeches given by the staff, guests, and ambassadors, including two of our students Michael Y. and me. This was followed by a group picture and a frantic scramble to write resolutions that despite our best efforts, we had not completely prepared.

Days two and three were packed full of spirited debates and discussions. In GA4 for example, France declared war on Nigeria, while at the same time in GA3, a Yemen delegate mourned an unsuccessful attempt to claim the US state of Maine. All of this craziness had to come to an end however, and Friday came too fast. To quote Mrs. Arsovski, one of the chaperones on the trip, “this was the best group that I have been involved with since teaching”

The BRUMUN conference was not the only reason the students were reluctant to head home.  The trip, in general, was a fantastic experience. Many of the students had never been to Brussels, or even Belgium before, and enjoyed every second exploring a new city. The SIS students were proudly represented by a collection of four 7th graders, seven 8th graders, and two 9th graders. Because of the diverse spread of age groups, most of the students did not know each other well when the trip first began, despite spending months together in MUN as an elective. During the time we spent in Brussels, though short, we bonded well. Between sharing rooms, racing to catch trains and trams, staying up late writing papers and resolutions, and exploring the back streets of Brussels, every person who went on that trip discovered something new about their companions. Saying goodbye to new friends at the conference and friendly faces at the airport was bittersweet. It was the end of new exploration and experiences, but the beginning of long-lasting friendships and memories to last a lifetime. To quote 7th grader Irene F., “BRUMUN was such a memorable experience and it will stay with me forever.” Hope to see you next year.