To begin with, the connect program Soliya is simply an outstanding online cross-cultural education program that provides students with a special opportunity to establish a profound understanding for the perspectives of other international students from different cultural backgrounds and discuss with them significant socio-political issues.
It is certain that Soliya’s gives all students the opportunity to engage in essential dialogues smoothly with absolutely new people all around the world, and therefore build meaningful long-lasting friendships.
Through an online global classroom, unexpectedly, I was able to speak freely face-to-face in groups of 9 global peers from different regions: Algeria, Africa, Italy, Jordan, U.S.A, Tunisia, Palestine, Saudi-Arabia (KSA), all assigned together to the same online group for the purpose of ensuring a deeply multilateral unique learning experience.
My group was led by Nada, the Egyptian facilitator who sustained dialogue and effectively supported an environment where all of us comfortably shared personal experiences and therefore explored new perspectives and arrived at a better understanding of all cultures.
The Soliya’s online conference was very beneficial for my part as it permitted me to discuss several multi-aspectual topics that I found really interesting and most importantly related to my studies including body language in different cultures, cultural variations in gestures, significant aspects of our different identities, emotional reactions, social expectations, freedom and examples of identity threats. Personally, I was so engaged in almost all the discussions and participated actively without hesitation. I shared the list of my unique identity, gave relative examples of body languages, gestures in different societies, social expectations and definitely commented on ongoing discussions confidently from an Egyptian female perspective.
I really enjoyed the open-minded spirit that was clear and obvious from day one till the very end. This enabled students to express their point of views freely and discuss serious global and socio-political issues affecting their identities in various ways including poverty, starvation, climate change and wars in Gaza.
I’m glad that I was part of this unique experience, in other words, I’m proud to be say that I have participated in such online program and would definitely recommend participation to my peers. Actually, participating in such program helped me to clarify what I think and feel about issues that are important to me. In addition, I had a very good understanding of my peers from other countries and recognized that I was lucky to have a lot in common with them.
Unexpectedly, I was able to share information about what I was learning with my peers and community members and put it into words. I’m really proud of other students with me in the same group who were able to speak out to promote awareness about global and serious issues through participating in this Connect Program.
It wasn’t only a program but a personal experience that allowed me to improve some personal qualities as well as many social and interpersonal skills including being a thinker, communicator, open-minded, listener and definitely an investigator as long as I was able to develop personal capacities, by identifying, analyzing, solving problems, asking questions such as how how does Soliya dialogue in the Connect Program Compact differ from other types of online communication? In addition to the research and the use of different sources that pushed me to learn new information with pleasure and envy.
As a whole, it was an effective experience despite the fact that the only disadvantage was the lack of technical support as well as the miscommunication between students and the Soliya’s online team.
However, in a word, I have gained self-confidence as well as a few communication and critical thinking skills.
- (2017, February 03). Connect Program. Retrieved from https://www.soliya.net/programs/connect-program
- Soliya’s Evaluation Survey. Retrieved from https://exchangeportal.net/content/end-semester-survey.