Article by: Dan Jachim
Several times per year, the very best athletes, debaters, robot-makers, scholars, dancers, performers, etc travel around the world to compete with their counterparts from other IASAS schools all around South-East Asia. Usually, they will stay in the homes of students from the very school they are competing at; they are hosted. This usually grants the traveling students some deeper cultural insight into the country they visited, as they can learn about how people there live, but it also lets them meet other international school students who share similar life experiences. However, beyond being a social exercise, there may be more to it than there seems.
One huge reason hosting is used over alternatives, such as hotels and hostels, is simply price. Living with a family who provides room and board is far cheaper than staying in fancy hotels and eating out. While, varying on a case by case basis, the service offered at these establishments is typically better than that offered by families, paired with the fact that most students at International Schools tend to be relatively affluent, the saving can be significant. There are three MUN trips this year: IASAS, which is hosted, and either The Hague International MUN (THIMUN) or Beijing International MUN (BEIMUN). This years IASAS trip to Jakarta has an estimated cost of nearly one sixth the cost of last years BEIMUN. And almost all of that saving is because at IASAS, the traveling delegates stay, not in fancy hotels, but with families.
Another reason many might prefer being hosted is safety. Unfortunately, many IASAS schools are in countries that are not safe, for example, the Philippines. The Philippines was cited in a report from The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) as one of the most dangerous countries for foreign journalists, which translates to danger for all foreigners, due to the presence of several extremist groups, of both political and religious natures, which inhabit the nation. Thus, for some, living with a family who is familiar with the country, rather than a hotel staffed by strangers, is necessary for them to feel safe.
IASAS hosting is definitely a social exercise, used to great effect to create further bonds between all the IASAS schools; however, there is a lot more to it than there initially seems. It is also important to consider the economic and practical aspects that it presents.