“I really like Warsaw. It has so many things to offer. For students, this is an ideal place to live in. The standard of living is high and affordable. The University of Warsaw runs so many great programmes of study. If some people had doubts, I would tell them: come to Warsaw and see it for yourself. You have everything you need here,” says Elizabeth I. Lekahena, a student of International Relations at UW.
Her family is from Indonesia but she came to Warsaw from the Netherlands four years ago. Since then she really likes the city and calls it her second home.
Involvement in Model United Nations
Elizabeth I. Lekahena decided to study International Relations at the University of Warsaw because of Model of United Nations (MUN). It is an educational simulation in which students at high school, and university level learn more of diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations. Participants take the role of diplomats to represent an allocated country and to seek solutions for contemporary issues in the world. Many people from different countries take part in it to improve their social skills, public speaking, negotiation, leadership and creativity.
The first time she was involved in MUN was in her high school in the Netherlands. “I started as a page but I noticed that the discussions were very interesting. The challenging thing is that participants do not really represent themselves but they represent a certain country. Every single country has its own goals so delegates must do their research. I was amazed that students can do something like that and thought that I could that too. I was very shy from that moment I became a delegate. My first time was nerve-racking. But you can be well prepared when you have to speak in front of everyone. Still it is a challenge,” stresses the UW student.
Elizabeth is the creator and president of the ISMMUN Club (Instytut Stosunków Miedzynaradowych Model United Nations Club), which consists of approximately ten people. A delegation of seven UW students from the ISMMUN Club participated in the Cracow Model United Nations (KRAKMUN) conference that was held in April at the Cracow University of Economics. The delegates performed very well during the conference and won several awards, including Best Delegate in their allocated committees, one Honourable Mention and verbal Honourable Mention. Also, the UW delegation was awarded by the Secretariat as Best Delegation of KRAKMUN 2018. “The whole success of ISM MUN CLUB is literally the cooperation between everyone. We have a quite diverse group. Mostly international students from Palestinian, Belgium, Poland, Pakistan, Ghana and Egypt. They worked very hard during preparation to KRAKMUN,“ says Elizabeth I. Lekahena.
Living in Warsaw and studying at UW
Elizabeth considers Warsaw her second home. “I always recommend Warsaw to everyone. Its parks, museums, Vistula boulevards, the Wilanow Palace, outdoor and indoor activities, cafes and restaurants are amazing. You have most of the stuff people want,” enumerates the student.
She also enjoys her studies at the University of Warsaw. International security, globalism and regionalism, Polish foreign policy, and history are only a few courses she had during her studies. Despite the fact that she is a devotee of the United Nation, her Master thesis will be concerned with ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional organisation coming to a great power, in terms of economy, that keeps the stability in the region.
During her studies, Elizabeth has an opportunity to have courses with professors who encourage students to think critically. “They ask us thought-provocative questions which cause discussions. Even if we have our own opinions, they will try to give us counterarguments. They want students to learn that there is also another side,” highlights the student.