This week, The Ambassador talked with Alex Sands of ILMUNC India. He is a senior in the M&T from Virginia.
The Ambassador: What is one of your favorite IAA memories?
AS: One of my favorite IAA memories was spending two weeks in China in the summer of 2015 for WEMUN. We stayed at the Grand Epoch City, which was a massive and completely abandoned replica of the Forbidden City. Super cool! There was a beer garden right outside the lobby where we went every night to eat chicken skewers and sip on some really really really tasty Baijiu (the Chinese equivalent of whatever is worse than Bankers). On the note of really tasty food items, we also tried chicken feet, scorpions, and pigs’ ears. It was awesome to meet a bunch of really sweet Chinese high schools, teach a mini class on cybersecurity, and chair a committee in a different country!
The Ambassador: What is your favorite part of UPMUNC?
AS: My favorite part of UPMUNC has always been the moment the conference ends and the entire Secretariat turns to each other, sobbing and hugging, to celebrate months and months of hard work that has gone into making the conference incredible. It’s been amazing getting to know everyone on the Secretariat over my last three years, and the people on UPMUNC have become some of my closest friends at Penn.
The Ambassador: What was your first impression of the IAA and has it changed?
AS: These people are weird… hasn’t changed. Just kidding! More seriously, I came into the IAA with zero model UN experience, never having participated in conferences in high school. Then I joined UPMUNC and forever questioned, “Why do I love organizing a Model UN conference when I have literally zero clue what it’s like?” I still don’t know the answer, but my first impression of the IAA—that the people made it worth joining—still holds up!
The Ambassador: If you could travel to any country, what would it be and why?
AS: If I could pick any country in the world, I would travel to either Croatia or Iceland. Why Croatia? Beaches, scuba diving, island hopping, and a super cool city! Plus, it’d be cool to be on the first direct flight from the US in over 20 years. Why Iceland? Just read the introduction on Wikipedia: "Iceland, a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields…” How could you not want to see that?
The Ambassador: Fall or spring, and why?
AS: Summer. Because it’s objectively the best season and why answer this question any other way? The beach, sunny weather, and the Olympics every four years..