HEIDELBERG, Germany - Mannheim High School\'s Model United Nations team went to Heidelberg recently to practice formal debate with high school students there in anticipation of a trip to the Hague International Model United Nations conference Jan. 23-28 in the Netherlands.

The students prepared together for two reasons. "We wanted the kids to practice a mock simulation of the event but we had the double-fold purpose of having them get to know one another before they come over here next year," said Linda Miller, Heidelberg High School registrar and Model UN director.

Mannheim students will attend Heidelberg high school next school year as a result of the closure of the Mannheim garrison in May.

Teams consist of 12 members but Mannheim could field only nine, so three Heidelberg students will join the Mannheim team.

Heidelberg High School will travel with a 13-member delegation and will represent the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mannheim will represent Turkmenistan.

Heidelberg senior Rebecca Steil attended last year's event and said she's excited to again be among the 3,000 students from across the globe. "You meet people from all over the world. You can meet someone from Peru and they represent India, or Myanmar (students) might be represent Kenya.

There are all different accents and everyone is so well-versed on their topic," she said. Many high schools offer a Model United Nations class and Mannheim is one of them.

Students at Heidelberg High School must join a club to be part of the experience.

"Even though it's not a class at our school, it's an invaluable learning experience," Steil said. "You learn a lot about world policy. I hope one day to go into some form of government." The teams worked well together, Miller said and the joint Mannheim-Heidelberg mini-UN conference got them ready for the trip Sunday. In her fourth year traveling with students to the event, Miller believes it's an enriching experience. "They really come away with an appreciation of different cultures and viewpoints that they're not always privvy to, in high school," Miller said.