Okulumuzu Harvard MUN’de Temsil Eden Öğrencilerimizi Tebrik Ederiz ⋅ Modafen

Okulumuzu Harvard MUN’de Temsil Eden Öğrencilerimizi Tebrik Ederiz

Bu yıl 60.’sı düzenlenen Harvard MUN’de okulumuzu temsil eden öğrencilerimiz, başarılı geçen konferansların ardından yurda geri döndüler. Dünyanın en köklü ve prestijli öğrenci organizasyonlarının birinde okulumuzu temsil ederek, tüm Modafen ailesini gururlandıran Harvard MUN ekibimizi tebrik ederiz.

Harvard MUN Ekibimiz

Kurtuluş Akyüz İngilizce Öğretmeni / Harvard MUN Koordinatörü
Beatrice Oya Bilhan#684
Buket Aydın#419
Cem Yiğit Kılıç#79
Sare Akyüz#330
Ege Vurucu#204
Emile Özçelik#355
Kaan Ergüz#356
Murat Tümay#82
Selin Ünsel#58
Sami Emre Erdoğan#39
Şebnem Kol#486
Tibet Mundt#35
Zeynep Akdeniz#349

İngilizce öğretmenimiz Kurtuluş Akyüz, Harvard’daki gelişmeleri dokuz gün boyunca “News from Harvard MUN” bölümünde bizlerle paylaştı.

News from Harvard MUN

Tuesday 5th February 2013

We checked out of our rooms at 12.00 pm but kept one room for late check-out where we stored our bags until 2.00 pm. Some of the team still had energy to go for last-minute shopping whereas others stayed and relaxed in the hotel. We will shortly depart from the hotel on our way to the airport with the same driver from yesterday – hopefully we wont have another blow out en route.

Our flight is late today at 8.30 pm, travelling to Munich overnight and landing in Istanbul at 2.40 pm on Wednesday. Unfortunately we will have a long wait at the airport due to the necessary early check out and late flight time.

By the time you read this, we will probably have landed and be in our respective homes.

Monday 4th February 2013

What a way to end our last full day in Boston!

As I mentioned previously, Selin had researched the best shopping locations for our visit, not restricting her search to Boston but instead the full State of Massachusetts. Top of her list was the premium outlet centre at Wrentham Village. We had planned to visit there previously but had not been able to arrange it due to the long distance and expense of getting there. Today, though, Cem Yiğit took the initiative to hire a “van” (minibus) and managed to agree a very reasonable price. We all piled into the van and made our way to Wrentham where we proceeded to spend the next six hours visiting the 170 stores that were located there. Our driver returned promptly to collect us at the agreed time. This is where the real adventure began.

Returning along Interstate 93 North, it became apparent that there was something wrong with the van. Murat suggested that there was a burst tyre and it turned out to be the case as the driver started to pull over towards the hard shoulder. We stayed in the van as the driver ascertained the damage – the tyre was almost completely of the wheel. He called for his colleague to pick us up and proceeded to change the tyre, or tried to anyway.

We stayed in the van as the outside temperature was freezing whereas the van was nice warm. However, Murat was not happy with this situation and decided to check out what the driver was doing. Together with Tibet, they exited the van and reconnoitred the area reporting back that the driver had little idea of how to change the tyre. With this, we all left the van in order to help the driver and speed up the process.

The scene at the incident was like one from the scary movies. Broken down on a deserted highway, next to an eerie looking forest, the night dark with only the sound of the odd car passing every so often.

Some of us lit flares and placed them at the edge of the road to warn oncoming drivers, others helped with the tyre change. Şebnem proceeded to blind oncoming drivers with her iPhone torch option set on powerful strobe mode whereas “Princess” Sare was “too cold” to do anything so returned to the van to warm up. Well done to all of the team for their mutual co-operation in changing the tyre. Needless to say that the driver was ecstatic as he didnt have a clue what he was doing – Murat commented that he was trying to connect the jack to the suspension – and furthermore the second driver still hadn’t turned up by the time we had changed the tyre. This really was an excellent example of the teamwork and togetherness that we have shown during our stay in Boston.

Finally, we returned to the hotel and up to our rooms where bags were packed in preparation of our flight the next day. We decided to have our last dinner in Boston at TGI Fridays and all ventured out into the cold to travel the short distance to our destination. Everyone enjoyed the large portions that were on offer and thankfully there were no complaints on this occasion about the food being too spicy or otherwise.

We left the restaurant quite late with some electing to take the taxi back to the hotel and others wanting to walk the relatively short distance. En route, the group of Şebnem, Emile and Sare decided to wake up the local fire station and ask for photos on the fire engine. The fireman didn’t look too happy to be woken at that late hour but our girls placated him with the offer to buy their station t-shirts, once they had taken the pictures. Further along, they tried to wake another fire station but no-one answered as news must have come from the first station warning them of the three crazy girls.

This was our last night in Boston.

Sunday 3rd February 2013 (Afternoon-Evening)

With the HMUN over and the hotel a virtual ghost town, we returned to our rooms at a loss as to what to do. The fatigue of the night before combined with the early morning resulted in most of our team deciding to relax in and around the hotel with random visits to the adjoining mall for supplies and, of course, more shopping.

Sunday 3rd February 2013

Getting up for a 09.00 am start to the final session of the Conference was going to be difficult at the best of times but after going to bed post-1 am – impossible, or so I thought! However, the majority of our students surprised me and were up bright and early to make the roll-call for the final session. Others had to be dragged out of bed, screaming and shouting. Actually, they were too tired to scream and shout (although they were moaning a lot) but they did have to get dragged out of bed.

As the Conference drew to a close, and final Resolutions were agreed upon in each of the Committees, general discussions, fun, games and entertainment began, to take us up to the Closing Ceremony, which was due to start at 12.15 pm.

The Closing Ceremony consisted of speeches from the Secretariat and the awarding of prizes to the Best Delegates in each of the numerous Committees. All of our students were in agreement that next year our names will be on those prizes.

By around 02.30 pm, the Harvard Staff had returned to their campus, many schools had started their trips home, the hotel had become deserted, and the elevators had resumed normal service (for the last three days it would take around 15-20 mins to secure space in any elevator to get down to the lobby). It was almost as if the HMUN had never happened. A few students were still milling around, but the vast majority had left on their way back home to the 38 countries which had supplied over 3200 students during the last week.

Overall, the HMUN 2013 has been a huge success and we look forward to participating at HMUN 2014.
Saturday 2nd February 2013 (Evening)

The “Cultural Extravaganza” was a mix of music, singing and dancing from different parts of the World, as represented by current Harvard students. The wide variety of ethnicities common to America manifested itself as countries and regions such as India, Mexico, Eastern Europe and Middle East were represented during the evening. What was even more spectacular was the fact that some of the performers, in some of the performances, were multi-national – for example, “The Harvard Bhangra” Indian dancers contained at least one Chinese lady and one white European looking lady together with the majority of Indians. By attending worldwide and multinational events, such as HMUN, our students will become less ignorant in their appreciation of different nationalities, cultures and religions around the world.

Then we come to the highlight of the four-day Conference – “The Delegate Dance”. Unfortunately, my cunning plan to gain entrance to The Dance failed spectacularly and I discreetly retired to my room for the evening to avoid any further embarrassment. I soon dozed off (running around after 13 teenagers for the last week has not been easy!) only to be awoken by the drunken tomfoolery of our students as they returned to their rooms for the 01.00 am curfew. From the information that I have been able to gather from my sources, the Dance went really well and our students had a great time. This can be further evidenced by the fact that the party seemed to continue into their rooms until hotel security turned up to enforce the agreed curfew.

In order to avoid any misunderstanding, and getting the sack from Fatih Bey, I would like to point out that the word “drunken” was used metaphorically as our students were not actually (too) drunk. However, they were extremely “tomfoolish”.

Saturday 2nd February 2013

Sessions started early today at 9.00 am until 12.30 pm, and then from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Cem Yigit added his name to the speakers list and, Sami, Oya and Selin made further speeches. Unfortunately, due to my faculty meetings and continuous circling around the various Committees, I didn’t get the chance to witness any of the speeches, but the fact that these students made speeches is satisfaction enough. Obviously, I am extremely disappointed for those students that didn’t make a speech during the 4 days of the Conference. Hopefully, next time, now that they have had the experience, everyone will be braver, and this will mean that they will make more speeches.

We are currently all back in our rooms, preparing for the “Cultural Extravaganza” tonight, followed by the “Delegate Dance”. Obviously I will try to sneak in as a delegate, relying on my charm and youthful good looks, in order to keep an eye on our children. Our team will be able to “let their hair down” until 01.00 am tonight before the final Committee sessions at 9.00 am tomorrow, Sunday, morning, followed by the Closing Ceremonies at around midday. This will formally mark the end of Harvard Model United Nations LX.

However, Modafen will remain in Boston until Tuesday evening, when we board our return flight back to Istanbul via Munich.

Friday 1st February 2013

Today was the day of our planned visit to the Harvard Campus. Unfortunately, the cold weather returned and, combined with the strong wind, resulted in freezing temperatures of -11C “RealFeel”. Even though our party were warned of the climate, (by yours truly), some ventured out of the hotel dressed for the “mild” weather that we had been experiencing over the last few days. They were soon to regret not listening to their elder.

Our tour of the Campus was due to start at 11.00am so we left the hotel at around 09.30am and headed for the “T”. The “T” is the name for the Boston subway, or underground train, system. As we descended into the underground station, we were met with a herd of MUN students who were also heading in the same direction. Looking at the queue for tickets, and the fact that nobody in the queue knew what they were doing, (which ticket to buy or how to buy it), we soon calculated that if we were to wait in line, then we were likely to miss our flight on Tuesday evening.

Being typical Turks, we pushed in front of everybody, bought our tickets and boarded the train.

Actually, I was just joking, as my reserved British upbringing didn’t allow me to do this. Instead, we headed out of the station and jumped in some taxis which worked out as the same price as the train tickets but without the hassle.

Arriving at The Harvard Campus, the cold weather started to take its toll on our inappropriately dressed students. Immediately, complaints were voiced as to the freezing weather and if this tour was a good idea in the circumstances. Obviously, I didn’t listen to their concerns, (what would a trip to Harvard MUN be without a tour of Harvard?), and we continued with the tour around the impressive Campus, which lasted for approximately an hour. Needless to say, the students were relieved once the tour was over and they were able to go inside to warm up.

First, we entered the souvenir shop and bought some, (actually a lot of), Harvard memorabilia, before fueling up at the local restaurant and heading back to the Sheraton where the Conference would recommence at 2.30 pm until 6.00 pm. I am happy to say that some more of our students, Selin and Oya, took the initiative to make a speech, whilst others, in particular Sami, Şebnem, Emile and Sare, continued with their attempts to build relationships in their respective Committees in order to forge successful outcomes. After a quick dinner break, sessions restarted at 7.30 pm before ending at 11.30 pm and curfew was again at 12.30 am.

Thursday 31st January 2013

And so it began.

The first day of Harvard MUN was upon us.

We had agreed to meet at 09.30 am in the lobby so that we could complete our registration and prepare for the day that lay ahead of us. Everybody was up and ready at the proposed time, all dressed up in their smart outfits. As we reached the lobby, the sight that confronted us was spectacular!

An ocean of teenagers – some dressed smartly like us, others still in casual clothes and tracksuits (there was even one who was wearing a romper suit!) – created an almost impenetrable wall, stopping us from reaching our goal of getting to the second floor for registration. Wading through these bodies, we found where we needed to go and completed our registration. We were given name tags, voting placards with our country Tonga written on them, and folders with booklets containing all the information required for the following four days.

Back at the lobby, our team continued to interact with the other delegates, building relationships that will help them in the upcoming committee sessions and maybe beyond. Sare and Oya were particularly brave as they seemed to meet and greet everybody in the lobby, followed by the rest of the team once first contact had been initiated.

At 02.00 pm, our students started a training session that would continue for one and a half hours. The lessons were aimed at educating the students about the basics of MUN and what was expected of them over the next few days. Whilst the students were in the sessions, I was being wined and dined (not literally unfortunately), along with the rest of the faculty advisors. Then it was time for the Opening Ceremony.

Starting at around 05.00 pm, we were entertained for about two hours by the Harvard MUN Team and two keynote speakers, together with the “Harvard Callbacks” (described as a “contemporary a cappella” group of singers). However, it became apparent quite early on that everyone was more interested in starting the MUN and, as the Opening Ceremony came to an end and the 60th Harvard MUN was officially declared open, everybody rushed out of the conference hall to their respective committee rooms, ready to start proceedings at 07.30 pm.

After making sure that all of our students were in their respective committee rooms, I started to rotate around all of the rooms, watching the members of each committee in action. I was amazed at the standard of some of the speakers but I knew that our students were of similar, if not better, quality. I managed to get messages to some of our team encouraging them to make their speeches. Congratulations to Sare, Sami and Şebnem who all spoke on first day. The rest of the team were like a pack of lions, surveying their prey on the first day, before (hopefully) springing into attack on the following days, once they had ascertained their opposition.

My personal opinion of MUN is very, very positive. I believe that it is a fantastic experience for our students to interact, both socially and intellectually, with a vast number of diverse people from around the world. Our students will benefit greatly from this experience and I am encouraging them wholeheartedly to make the most of this opportunity that has been given to them. For the future, I will make recommendations that we attend as many quality MUN Conferences as possible, as I am convinced that this activity, as a learning tool, both for language and generally, is unrivalled.

Tomorrow, Friday, we will visit the Harvard Campus for a walking tour before returning to the Sheraton and resuming our Committee Meetings. Sessions will start at 02.30 pm and continue until 11.00 pm with a short dinner break midway through. I will again be roaming in between the rooms to see our students in action.

Curfew was at 12.30 am after which time no-one was allowed out of their rooms. Most of our team were tucked up in bed and fast asleep long before then. A long day awaits them tomorrow.

Wednesday 30th January 2013

The temperature had improved significantly overnight and was quite warm today in comparison to the previous days, although there was a very strong wind which could carry you away if you weren’t careful.

Surprisingly, regardless of the previous late night, everyone seemed to be out of bed early this morning and keen to venture out into the streets of Boston again. Unsurprisingly, they all came back with bags and bags of shopping!

Upon returning to the hotel, it was quite clear that Harvard MUN had started as the hotel lobby was swarming with students from all corners of the globe. Again, our students didn’t miss any opportunity to socialise and were soon interacting with the various groups, improving significantly on their communication skills in the process.

We didn’t arrange anything major for the evening but, instead, we bought some light take out dinner and relaxed in our rooms as the students were keen to reserve their energy for the beginning of their four day marathon which starts tomorrow, Thursday.

After registration and training in the morning, Opening Ceremony and Keynote address in the afternoon, the Committee sessions begin in earnest in the evening at 7.30 pm and end at 11.30 pm. I can just imagine our students as they leave their sessions tomorrow night…

The last six months of training, researching, preparing, debating -and some other relevant -ing words which don’t come to mind at this late hour – have all been in preparation for this.

Let the Harvard MUN begin…

Tuesday 29th January 2013

We found out that there was a connecting walk-way from our hotel to the Prudential Plaza. You can imagine that this became a favourite and convenient path for our “shoppers”.

After an early breakfast, we set out in two groups to explore Boston further. Selin had done some major research before arriving in Boston and had ascertained the location of the Apple Store and the Boston “Bagdat Caddesi”, as well as some major outlet parks located outside of town.

The Apple Store seemed to be everyone’s first choice so we headed in that direction and soon came to the 3 storey building. Our students were like Roald Dahl’s “Charlie” in the “Chocolate Factory” as they ran (not literally thankfully) around the store trying out all of the gadgets on show. After departing the Apple Store, we continued on our journey along the main street entering stores that appealed to us. The presumed shopping extravaganza didn’t materialise as many were keeping their options open for the planned raid at the outlet centres.

After reaching the end of the street, we refuelled with lunch, and headed back towards the hotel along a parallel street of similar stature.

At the hotel, we rested and relaxed (some of us dozed off!) before heading back out into the cold. Zeynep had booked “The Hard Rock Cafe” and, after checking on Google, we proceeded to walk the short distance to the restaurant. Imagine our surprise when we got to the location showing on Google to find out that the Restaurant had closed down at that location several years ago! Obviously we will be making a complaint to Google on our return. Anyway, not to be beaten, we jumped into taxis and headed to the new location where we enjoyed a fantastic evening of good food and conversation.

Murat had ordered some “buffalo chicken” and, as he started eating, there was some commotion at his end of the table. Upon investigation, he exclaimed, in between downing a huge glass of mountain dew, that the sauce was the spiciest that he had ever tasted, far spicier than anything that he had ever tasted in Turkey where he very much enjoyed spicy food. This opinion was backed up by several others on the table like Sare and Emile, although others, like Şebnem, couldn’t see what the fuss was about. I was curious and asked the waiter for his opinion. The waiter informed us that this sauce was the mildest in the kitchen. Consequently, I asked for the spiciest to be brought to the table so that we could compare. Imagine my surprise when, at first, Murat declared that the new sauces weren’t spicy at all – until the spices kicked in! After stepping up to the challenge, Sare and Emile also agreed that this was, in fact, very very (if not “too”) spicy! Again, Şebnem didn’t seem to know what the fuss was about. Anyway, there seems to be no ill affects from the evening although Murat still hasn’t left his room this morning!!

We all returned to the hotel after the Restaurant, some electing to take a cab, whilst others walked in an attempt to burn off some of the large portions that we had consumed. Everyone returned safe and sound, before crashing with tiredness.

Monday 28th January 2013

Our students braved the snow and sub-zero temperatures to begin their exploration of Boston. The Sheraton Hotel is conveniently situated near to the Prudential Plaza which houses numerous fine stores and cheap restaurants. We spent the first evening exploring the shops and checking out prices before raiding the food court which contained several good restaurants offering a wide selection, at reasonable prices, to cater for everyone’s tastes. Chinese and pizza (some of us mixed both) seemed to be the favourites for our team.

We headed back to the hotel quite early as everyone was exhausted after our marathon journey earlier in the day.

I forgot to mention that on the plane we encountered another MUN team. Our students took little time in introducing themselves and striking up conversations throughout the flight – our high school teachers would have been proud of them.

Obviously in the hotel, there were also other MUN teams and again our students were quick to interact before retiring to their rooms for an early night. Some managed to sleep through the night whilst others were less successful, but it seemed that overall we overcame any major jet-lag.

Monday 28th January 2013 (Morning)

After meeting at Ataturk Airport at 2.30am on Monday 28 January morning, the Modafen MUN team boarded Lufthansa flight LH1305 to Frankfurt, Germany, taking off at 5.00am. The flight arrived in Frankfurt at 07.15am, local time, where we were faced with a near four hour wait for our connecting flight, LH422, to Boston, taking off at 11.10am local time.

Eight hours later, at 01.30pm local time, we landed at Boston Logan International Airport where we were greeted by snow and a temperature of 0C. After passing passport control and collecting our luggage, we were met by our pre-arranged “vans” that took us to the Sheraton Boston Hotel, where we will be spending the next 8 nights.

We are now preparing to go out for the evening meal before planning our day tomorrow and returning early to our rooms to catch up on much needed sleep.

The time here is currently 04.32pm, 7 hours behind Turkish time.

I will send you further instalments as they become available.

Kurtuluş Akyüz

30 Ocak 2013 Çarşamba
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