I came back from my trip to St. Petersburg a couple of weeks ago. My recap of the trip follows.
We stepped off the airplane into far warmer weather than we’d been told to anticipate. A tour guide met us at the airport, bussing us through the dreary road to our hotel. Once there, we checked in, dumped our luggage in the rooms, and went off exploring.
A day of walking followed by a day of intense touring gave way to the anxiously awaited MUN conferences. We were ushered into the spirit of political debate with an opening ceremony held at the Tauride Palace, which, like most buildings in St. Petersburg, is a renovated and repurposed palace. The Tauride held its first parliamentary session in 1906.
Little by little, the auditorium seats were filled with the students from all the participating schools. Each represented country sent one of their delegates to the podium to make the country’s opening speech. Afterward, we were taken to the hosting school, Gymnasium 157, to have lunch and begin lobbying. Resolutions in hand, we sat down at each of our different committee rooms and began debating.
The second day of MUN was focused on committee sessions, where each of us went to our respective locations (one was placed in the International Business Center and others at Gymnasium 157 while I, being in the Environmental Committee, was sent to the Youth Environmental Center), whereupon we debated and amended points on the submitted resolutions from the previous day. The final procedure of the day was to choose the most interesting of the passed resolutions to submit to the General Assembly (GA) session to be held the next day. By a house vote, the resolution on the question of the integration of migrant children won out.
On the third and final day, all participating delegates once again met in a large auditorium, this time at the International Business Center. After a long day of intense debating, the Environmental Committee’s resolution was passed by majority vote. Exhausted of the intensive three-day MUN curriculum, we were finally free to go back to discovering the city and enjoying our free time.
The next two days, Thursday and Friday, were filled with more group tours. Over these two days, we began to notice that the hotel lobby was no longer filled with the bustling of students and their chaperones as the participating schools dwindled down every day, returning home or going to tour Moscow.
Our last two days in the city were spent sight-seeing. We visited the brightly and intricately decorated Spilled Blood Church; had an educational walk-through of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s apartment, led by the most enthusiastic—and surely the author’s biggest fan—tour guide; took a detour with my friend Skillet and lady chaperone to a self-guided tour of Vladimir Nabokov’s home; explored the Hermitage Museum; and took a trip to Catherine’s Palace situated in the outskirts of the city.
Highlights of the trip included our intimate dinners at the hotel after each busy day followed by a movie held at the girls’ room (a suite for three); getting abandoned by the tour bus at the St. Isaac’s Cathedral; sprinting through the impressionism gallery of the Hermitage; Our male chaperone’s group photos, group selfies, and jumping pictures; and lastly, finding Soviet propaganda-inspired postcards at the airport.
The close-knit atmosphere amongst my fellow MUNers and myself guided by our fantastic and experienced chaperones led to the best school trip yet.