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First EYP session!

WARNING! This is a very long post. Settle in. Make sure you're comfy. Ok, now start. 

Thursday the 29th of March 
My journey began today! I left school after my English test at 1:45 and took the bus home. I was super nervous. There was really nothing to be nervous about, but I always find a way. I finished writing a few things for the Eurovillage (Friday night) and I finished packing up all of my stuff. I took a bus to the train station where I took a train to Saint-Martin-de-Crau, where my host grandma graciously let me stay Thursday and Sunday night, because there were no direct trains from Vienne to Aix early enough on Friday. Anyway, I’m not going to go into much detail on what happened on Thursday – so lets talk about the fun stuff!

Friday the 30th of March
I had to wake up at 5:55 this morning. Not ideal for a Friday morning, but I had so much adrenaline that I didn’t even notice how tired I probably was. I took the bus to Aix, and then another one from Aix to Luynes where the session was. I was the very first delegate to arrive! Which meant I was kind of pushed aside for 20 minutes, but I mean I understood – everything seemed to be pretty chaotic.

So EYP is basically split up into 3 sections: Team building, committee work, and the GA (general assembly). Since I attended a three day session, we had one day for each section. Day 1 was team building, day 2 was committee work, and day 3 was the general assembly.

So first, everyone formed a huge circle. The president said a few words and introduced us to the chairs, and the corresponding journalists (or media team). Afterwards, the committees met up with the chair and started to "team build". Our chair was terrific - she is Swiss, so she spoke French, but she wanted everyone to speak English, which I was a little sad about, but overall was a positive thing for our committee. My committee was also great - I got along with everyone. Almost everyone had a pretty decent level of English, some more than others obviously. Everyone had such great/interesting/diverse ideas, that I felt that I needed to bring my A-game - I think that's the best kind of committee.

We played name games until lunch, and after that, we started to get into some harder games that would be beneficial for the next day. We debated a little and had to come to decisions that the whole committee agreed with, which was pretty frustrating, but extremely rewarding when we finished.

(Check out all of the pictures from the session here)

That night was the Eurovillage thing. Usually, I would have been extremely excited to eat different desserts from around Europe and talk to interesting people, but I was a little... embarrassed? So basically the whole session was made up of different school groups. Another girl and I were the only individual delegates, which meant that we were grouped together for the Eurovillage, while everyone else was in groups of 7 or 8. So all of the other groups had costumes, different foods and amazing posters prepared, whereas we only had 1 cake that I made (that was kind of falling apart...) and 2 basic posters that the other girl had made. Don't get me wrong, our stand was pretty ok all by itself, but in comparison to the other ones it was a little, well, sad.

I started enjoying myself a little more after I had a great conversation with a committee member that I would end up sharing a room with. I really tried to live by a phrase that my pops told me once. It was something along the lines of "always go into a conversation ready to be amazed and ready to learn something new." And I really was amazed and I learned so much! And everyone was so nice and open there! They really wanted to talk and everyone wanted to be there which meant that there was always something to talk about. I ended up having a great time.

Day two! Started out a little slow and everything was a little behind schedule, but our committee finally ended up in a classroom with our chair. Our first few activities seemed to be a little unnecessary, especially since we were behind schedule, but after an hour or so, we started to get into writing the ICs (Introductory Clauses) for our resolution. Our topic was:

In light of the recent Thalys train atack from Paris to Amsterdam, to what extent should the European Union and the Member States improve security in cross-border transportation without impeding the free movement of people within the Schengen area?

This is a very interesting topic, in my opinion, and as a committee we were able to come up with several legitimate ICs (or problems)!

After the lunch break, we started working on the OCs (Operative Clauses, or the solutions). This took a little longer and was a little more intense due to the 4:30 deadline, but we managed to finish just in time! This was actually probably my favorite part of the day, because everything was going fast and debating within the committee was extremely enlightening - you have so many different POVs and you think of things that you would have never even reflected on before.

That night we had the Euro Party, which also started out a little meh. Except for the pizza! There were like 10 HUGE pizzas, so that was where I stood for about 30 minutes. And partys aren't really my thing at all, but about an hour in, a girl just started dancing with me and my roommate, and I had a great time. I am so thankful for her, because I totally would have stayed on the side eating pizza if she had not forced me to join the group and dance with everyone. And I knew all of the lyrics to the all of the songs, because popular pop songs are my jam. I even knew the lyrics to one of the French songs that was played, because Pentatonix covered it!

After a few hours, I was ready to go to bed, but we had to wait for the chairs and the board to improve our resolutions and make them more fancy, which took a lot longer than I had anticipated. They finished at 4 in the morning, so that's when I started writing my defence speech. At 4 in the morning. It took about an hour, so I finished around 5, and we had to be woken up at 7. So I slept for 2 hours. Which was actually more that other people though - the orgas didn't sleep at all.

This was my favorite part of the whole session. Reading the other resolutions and seeing everyone's ability to attack and defence was a great experience, but I loved being able to voice my opinions about current topics as well, especially in front of so many people! Our commission (TRAN), was the first to "present", and I gave the defence speech, which meant that I was the very first person to speak at the podium, no pressure. I think it went pretty well! Our commission defended itself very well and there was a lively debate. The closing speech that my fellow delegate delivered was amazing, like props to Clara - it was really good. And our resolution passed! I think 35-13 or something like that! All of the resolutions ended up passing, but being the first one was a super great feeling.

The rest of the GA was wonderful as well, I had a great time.

Things I learned

I tend to get frustrated easily when debating, because I feel that my opinion is the best and no other opinion is acceptable, but talking to my committee members and seeing how level headed they were, really caused me to realize that I'm not always right and that I won't learn anything if I don't have interesting conversations with interesting people. Everyone has a different POV and you can learn something new from every conversation if you open your mind.

Always go into a conversation ready to be amazed and ready to learn something. Everyone has something to offer.

Usually I feel like people don't want to talk to me or that I'll be rejected when I talk to someone - but I quickly realized that no one cared and that having short conversations was nothing weird. It was a really eye opening experience and I think that if I continue with EYP, that it will become more natural for me and that it will easily transfer over into my regular life.

All in all, I had a great time and possibly one of the best experiences of my life. I will definitely be continuing with EYP in the future!


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