To clarify, the first two weeks went really well. I really enjoyed my first online global classroom experience as a whole. It gave me the full opportunity to participate and take part of essential and interesting dialogues and discussions with people from different cultural backgrounds, all around the world and build with them a strong bond and unique long-lasting friendships…
Unexpectedly, I was able to speak smoothly face-to-face in a huge group of 9 global peers from different regions: Algeria, Africa, Italy, Jordan, U.S.A, Tunisia, Palestine, Saudi-Arabia (KSA).
My group was led by Nada, the Egyptian facilitator who did her best in order to provide the best online program experience for each and every one of us. She was able to maintain and support a comfortable environment where all of us spoke up and shared our unique experiences comfortably without hesitation.
During the first two sessions, we discussed various topics that I found really interesting and most importantly related to my major 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 and comfortably. I shared the 7 aspects of my unique identity that involve being Egyptian, beach-addict, traveling and exploring the world, speaking French, writing short stories in Arabic, trying new food and working out. I also gave impressive examples of body languages and gestures in different societies that I have learned by myself from traveling around the world and last but not least, I shared what I personally think of social expectations from an Egyptian female perspective.
Honestly, at the beginning I thought that the fact that I’m Egyptian can make others think that I’m so close-minded and especially after mentioning that as an Egyptian female, I’m not allowed to wear what I want or act freely without my parents’ permission despite the fact that this doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a close-minded person. However, I was totally impressed to hear comments from my colleagues such as: “We definitely don’t think so! None of us judge others based on where they come from”. This made me feel more comfortable and glad to be part of this experience.
The most interesting task that I enjoyed the most was the one in which we were divided into pairs in separate rooms. The task was to find out three things about our partner: What is the other person really interested in or passionate about? What (article, post, video, etc..) caused the other person to have an emotional reaction? What was that reaction and what specifically caused it? Personally, as I’m very passionate and interested in psychology, I showed my partner a short video on the secret of happiness. I told them all as a final reflection on the video that I realized that we need to try multiple times to gain happiness. Other students were passionate about different matters including gender equality, human resources, wars in Gaza and climate change.
I really enjoyed the open-minded spirit that was 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.
In conclusion, I think that we were all part of this experience as we are open minded. We are ready to hear something different from what we see out there. 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 including some major traits of our personalities, things we’re passionate about and last but not least, a few aspects of our identities…