My connect program experience has been nothing short of enriching and eye-opening. This had been my first time enrolling in a cross-cultural program, so I was ecstatic and eager to see what awaited me, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The dialogue and communication in Soliya were unlike any I had ever experienced. Each participant was very respectful and interested in getting to know everyone –myself included–. They were very engaging, and the conversations flowed easily, especially when we were in breakout rooms discussing whatever topic of our choice that was built on the session’s theme. Not only did I get to know everyone, but I also learned a lot about myself. Since I was very keen to hear other viewpoints on different topics, this taught me to listen and empathize with the speaker, which built empathy at a very high level, and has a lot to do with my willingness to change any past trait I had that disrupted an easy flowing conversation between me and others in real life, either with friends or family. Thus, Soliya not only changed my perspective/stereotypes I had on other nationalities (especially Americans and particularly when it came to talking about the genocide in Palestine), but it also helped me improve my communication skills.