An Amazing Model UN travel experience in Italy and Switzerland during Spring Break, 2024!

Samantha Chan, Ruthann Chiu and Bianca Thio

For two weeks, a group of LFA students embarked on an amazing adventure exploring Switzerland and Italy! Among the many MUN conferences LFA has attended, MilanMUN stands out for its unique setting in Europe's fashion capital, Milan, Italy. 
After a long plane ride, Switzerland brought a refreshing dose of breathtaking scenery. We started our journey in Geneva, Switzerland’s capital, where we stopped outside the UN headquarters and enjoyed beautiful Lake Geneva and the famous Jet’ D’Eau. After Geneva, we ventured to Gruyeres where we toured a cheese factory museum and bought Gruyeres cheese! We then visited the UNESCO heritage city of Bern where we saw bears, which are the symbol of the city. On the way to Milan, we visited Interlaken, taking in the pristine lakes, charming villages, and historic castles like the one in Spiez on beautiful Lake Thun. However, nothing topped off waking up from a long bus ride to find the scenery transformed from “lush green” to a blanket of white in the Swiss Alps. With snowballs flying and crisp mountain air, the group was truly revitalized!
After Switzerland, our first taste of Italian gelato was in Santa Margherita Ligure. We spent lots of time in the sun—a nice change from the grey back in Vancouver. While near the Ligurian coast, Hotel Cuccaro Club, a family run hotel, was where we spent the night and nothing will make us forget the extremely steep, twisty road the bus had to navigate. Maybe it was the long day or the exciting ride, but there we demolished platters of delicious home- made pesto pasta and many compliments were sent back to the chef. After an exciting mountain experience where we fed donkeys, we visited the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cinque Terre! Towers of bright coral and yellow colored  houses overlooked the beautiful ocean. We sampled bruschetta topped with the region's famed anchovies and strolled along the brilliant blue of the Italian Riviera. Though we were sad to leave, we were even more excited to finally visit Milan. After stopping outside La Scala, the renowned 18th-century opera house, we arrived at the Duomo, a mammoth Gothic cathedral that took almost six centuries to construct and we attended Mass. The Duomo is located right next to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a grand gallery of designer shops topped with panes of iron-lined glass overhead. These gorgeous sights and novel cuisine experiences imprinted Italy in our hearts forever.
            Our time in many cities and towns in Switzerland and Italy was delightful, however, the MilanMUN conference was where the real action happened. This annual Model United Nations conference in Milan, Italy, held at Bocconi University, had participants from numerous, mostly European countries. It featured various committees, from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), where delegates honed their negotiation, problem-solving and public speaking skills to create valuable resolutions. On day one, LFA delegates immersed themselves in lobbying, “rocking” their committees with their amazing resolution papers. The following two days were filled with lively debates as delegates passionately defended their positions and negotiated compromises on their resolutions presented in committees. On the final day, all delegates became the General Assembly with all committees gathering together to debate and pass resolutions on the vital and relevant topic of AI. Overall, MilanMUN not only allowed us to showcase our skills and liaise with so many different nationalities to form resolutions to world problems, we also made new friends from around the world. Thank you to Mrs. Mills who organized such a great itinerary and MUN experience for LFA MUN students and to Mr. Bengono who was an excellent chaperone.
Samantha Chan ('24), Ruthann Chiu ('24) and Bianca Thio ('24)

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