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EYP Istanbul

9th International Youth Forum Istanbul

Finally, after waiting for seven months we flew to Istanbul on the 6th of May. We were all very excited as each of us had enjoyed the National Selection Conference and we were filled with anticipation that had accumulated ever since being told we were selected for the International Youth Forum. We arrived late to the welcoming dinner but it didn’t matter, because as we soon realised, nothing ever started on time.
After returning to the hotel we were separated into our different rooms and got to meet a few members of our committee. Everyone was tired from the day travelling so not much socialising was done.
We didn’t get to know our committee properly until the next day, which was spent almost exclusively on team building exercises. Team building is one of the most fun parts of EYP, because not only are the games entertaining but you get to know your committee better and as it was an international forum, the committee members were from all over Europe. An amusing thing we did in our free time was compare sentences or words across the different languages to hear the similarities.
The following two days passed in a blur. We were constantly kept busy, whether it was working on our resolution or dinner events or simply travelling to and from the hotel. There was a constant schedule that only the organisers were at liberty to change. Unfortunately however, having a schedule did not mean things were on time. It was a shame because it meant that the schedule they had planned was always between thirty and sixty minutes behind. This was also rather irritating because the schedule had planned our time until around 10:30 in the evening and all our time was spent with our committee, so despite being surrounded by people with so many different nationalities no time was set aside to get to know the people outside of your committee.
We didn’t let that stop us though and we found some great friends in the two delegations from the Netherlands with whom we visited the city centre on Saturday. That was an amazing day. We visited the spice market, the Blue Mosque, took a boat ride on the Bosphorus and saw the Aya Sophia. It was incredible just to walk through some of the old streets and look at the buildings that were architecturally so different from the ones in Switzerland.
We returned to the hotel in time for the Euroconcert, which was an EYP take on Eurovision. Some of the people, who performed, performed songs from their native country, so it was interesting hearing not only different styles of music but also singing in different languages.
The next day was already the last. On Sunday all ten resolutions were debated and voted on. The general assembly is the most challenging day, as all the hard work that’s gone into the resolution is tested upon and usually criticised. It’s a different atmosphere from the rest of the week, because either you’re defending something you believe in or you’re fighting against something you don’t believe in and full participation is expected, so intellectually it’s very stimulating and at times, competitive. It definitely holds some of the most exhilarating moments of EYP.
That evening was the farewell party. It was hosted at a hotel near Taksim Square and was very lively. Everyone was in a good mood and everyone was dancing with each other. The party evoked a mixture of emotions, we were happy that our resolutions had gone well and had all passed but sad because we had made some really good friends and we knew we would have to say goodbye to them the next morning. We had had a lovely time in Istanbul and knew we could have happily stayed another week, but unfortunately we did have to leave the next day so we simply insisted with our new friends that should they ever be in Switzerland they had to come to Basel and naturally the same was demanded from us when in their countries. So even though more time would have been nice, just like it would have been nice to get to know some of the other people better, we thoroughly enjoyed our time spent there and have definite plans to keep in touch with the people we did get to know better.
We would like to thank our school for enabling us to partake in EYP by giving us time off and financial support. The teachers have also been very understanding and it has made the transition of coming back from EYP a smooth one. EYP is a great experience and one that we highly recommend to anyone who enjoys meeting new people and asserting their opinion.

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