Soliya was definitely a very interesting experience. I was very excited to be in the program because I like meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. As I lived in Malaysia when I was younger I was exposed to different traditions, languages and religions. As a young girl I learned how to accept and embrace diversity. When we started the program I was very thrilled to meet international students and share our cultures together. However, the program was not what I expected. The moderator did their best to engage students in the program , however, no one was participating except me and two other Arab students. The sessions were really long and barely anyone wanted to participate. I also felt like the topics we chose to talk about offended certain students. Because the arab students were the only one who participated we chose to talk about religion which was irritating other students. Consequently, the sessions were really quiet because other students didn’t want to involve themselves with such topics. I felt like I was the only person who wanted to participate and took the program seriously. What I liked about the Soliya program is how understanding and patient the instructors were. They did not force us to open the camera or even use the mic , we could communicate through the chat box if we were not comfortable talking as a lot of students in the program struggled to communicate in English because its not their first language.
I am not the kind of person who likes to participate online, however, after taking this course I felt a lot more comfortable to participate and I found myself one of the few people who actually wanted to participate in the program. Usually, I like to listen to people’s opinions more than sharing my thoughts and ideas. However, in this program I felt like I wanted to share my opinion about topics even when my viewpoints are different. I felt comfortable engaging in the digital world as its less intimidating for me to share my ideas and thoughts. Moreover, the instructors asked us to state what’s offensive or what would make us feel uncomfortable in the program to ensure we have a successful debate and dialogues. There were different mindsets concerning several aspects in life , however, I made sure that I would understand their perspective clearly before making judgements.
In my opinion, I think the idea of the program is very beneficial and essential for learning how to communicate with diverse cultures. However, I think that the idea of the program is not executed properly. The session time is too long for the content presented and by the end of the session I felt very drained since I and few people were the only ones participating. Moreover, I feel like the topics we chose were not not interesting enough to talk about for a full session. Overall , it was a pleasant experience , however, I wouldn’t particularly like to participate in this program again.