2018-01-12 / Opinion

Reflections on the UN and New York


On Nov. 19 - 12, 2017, students from all over the world attended the annual Model United Nations in Stockholm, Sweden. For high school students not able to make this international trip, a UN Rotary Interact Club Conference was held Nov. 10-11, 2017, in New York City. The event was attended by Maine high school students from various Interact Clubs. Brunswick Coastal Rotary sponsored three students from Brunswick High School. Below, Isabella Banks, writes of their adventure:

Lila Solberg, Jenna Roane, and I, Isabella Banks, all attended the Rotary Club sponsored United Nations Conference in New York City in early November. Our experience was fantastic. I remember, as we were first approaching the UN building, seeing the long line of flags and how overwhelmingly beautiful the UN building was sitting right on the East River. We walked into the courtyard of the UN and the first thing we saw was a large golden globe. The courtyard was full of various statues and art pieces and the afternoon sun reflected off of the artwork.

We walked inside UN building and escaped the cold weather. Once we were inside we were greeted by a large open room that we walked to the back of to begin our tour.

Our tour began with a ride up an escalator which at the top we laid our eyes on a beautiful mosaic masterpiece that was a gift to the UN from one of the countries. My favorite part had to be seeing the various gifts that had been given to the UN by all of the different UN members. They really showed how different every country and culture is. It was amazing to see how there are so many different countries in the world, who all have different cultures and languages, but they are all working towards the common goal of peace. It was truly fantastic.

Our tour was led by a woman from Spain who spoke fluent English. It astounded me that she was able to do that. She led us through the various corridors and rooms of the UN, including the UN Security Council Chamber, and the General Assembly. The tour ended in the General Assembly. Overall, the tour highlighted the amazing work that the UN was doing and it shined a spotlight on the need for initiative. In order to obtain one’s goal one must work countless hours. Whether that goal is to end child hunger in the world or to raise money for the homeless in your hometown, one must have initiative to obtain their goal, no matter the size or time it may take.

That is the key idea that we gathered from our time at the UN.

After finishing our tour, the larger group of students, from all around Maine, and us walked to Times Square. Once we got to Times Square we were allowed virtual freedom. “That was fantastic. Being able to walk around Times Square all by ourselves made it feel so adult like. It showed that they really trusted us, which was a nice change,” Jenna said. We walked around, shopped, got hot tea to combat the cold weather and took lots of photos. That night we went to Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner. We sat with a girl from Scarborough and two boys from


“We didn’t know them, and it was kind of awkward at first, but the chaperones made a no phone rule so we had to either talk to them or sit there in awkward silence, so we got to know them pretty well,” Lila recalled. I remember asking our new-found friends a multitude of random questions ranging from what their favorite color was to what superpower they would chose to have in order to make sure that we didn’t sit there awkwardly. That was our favorite dinner from the trip. We liked the idea of having to make new friends and be open to trying new things. It really fit with the message of this trip.

The next day, after eating breakfast at our hotel, we got on the bus to go to the Empire State Building. When we arrived, we were rushed by the chaperones into the warm building, up multiple escalators and through many security checkpoints. The elevator ride to one of upper floors of the building was much quicker than we expected it to be. Once we got up there we were put on another elevator to go to the very top floor. The view was breathtaking.

After the Empire State Building, we went to see “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory” on Broadway. I had never been to a Broadway show before so this was an incredible experience. Once the show was over we got on the bus and went home. Overall the trip was a fantastic experience for us. We learned about being a global leader and got to do things that we had never done before, all while making new friends. We want to extend a huge thank you to Brunswick Coastal Rotary for giving us this opportunity. It meant a lot.

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