The next generation now has access to Soliya, a digital learning platform where they can study and discuss various cultures, bias, othering, equity, etc. Participants in the curriculum learn how to respectfully negotiate a variety of topics from many points of view. For many people, Soliya is a friendly platform. My group in particular seemed to feel really at ease discussing contentious subjects without worrying about prejudice or judgment. Additionally, the facilitator did a great job of establishing a warm and lively atmosphere for the group. She was able to pay attention to everyone in the room and moderate the topic so that everyone had an opportunity to speak.

I had a low interest before signing up for Soliya’s online communication programme. I reasoned that there was no reason to waste two hours conversing with strangers about topics I didn’t think I would find interesting. But after my first session, everything entirely changed, and I began to understand how fascinating it is to interact with people from various cultures and learn more about them. I discovered that I had a strong desire to learn more about how those people differ from those of us in Egypt, as well as how their customs and traditions affect how they act and think. It came out that doing so is really not a useless or waste of time, but rather a means to learn more about issues and topics you don’t know or haven’t had the opportunity to find.

I’ve always been a pretty outgoing, gregarious person who doesn’t have any trouble striking up talks with others. Even though I was only able to attend two sessions. I was a little anxious when I walked into my first meeting because I didn’t know exactly what to expect, who the participants in the room were, where they originated from, how they thought, what we were going to talk about, etc. Nevertheless, with the facilitator’s assistance, it went much more smoothly than I had anticipated. I was shocked to discover that I was also incredibly  comfortable and sociable online. I was being as open and honest with my thoughts and experiences as I would have been if I were speaking to someone from a similar background and culture. There were also instances where the group would become silent rather than start a conversation. Fortunately, one of my group members was an excellent communicator, and he always motivates us to break the silence by engaging in any topic as sometimes I help him in doing that.

The fact that I was able to achieve that made me very happy. I consider myself to be quite receptive to folks from very diverse backgrounds. I’ve always known I don’t mind socializing with other individuals, but I had no idea I’d feel so at ease and even fascinated! The most exposure I ever had was when I went on vacation abroad, yet the variety level still does not match. In addition, I think that my personality has developed over the period of my university years and continues to do so. I’ve evolved into a more open individual who now understands my values extremely well and is open to others. When it comes to multicultural connections, I think I fall on the moderate cognitive and interpersonal scale. I don’t believe Soliya advanced me, but it undoubtedly made me more aware of and receptive to other people’s viewpoints. Face-to-face interaction and dialogue, in my opinion, would be a better way to raise one’s intercultural proficiency.

I think there are various ways in which Soliya can be identified from other internet services that I use. For instance, the user decides who to add, follow, and get updates and comments on their platforms like facebook or twitter. On the other side, Soliya connects users completely random with individuals who come from various locations throughout the world and have various viewpoints. Additionally, compared to other platforms, Soliya offers its consumers stronger security requirements. A facilitator keeps the discussion on track, ensures that everything is spoken in the correct order, guards against online bullying, and allows users to express their opinions honestly. The members are unable to simply contact one another in Soliya without permission. Therefore, it is safe to assume that soliya conversations are more secure than those on social media. 

We should also talk about what I’ve discovered about myself as a result of the experience. My capacity to listen and engage with people who have various opinions and ideas has been shown by my involvement in Soliya. Even when I had completely different perspectives on a question, I discovered that I could still comprehend other people’s origins and the reasons for their views. Aside from that, hearing such a variety of viewpoints expanded my knowledge of several subjects and improved my ability to participate in the conversations. I was pleased to discover that many of the attendees shared my beliefs and valued my viewpoints on a variety of issues.

On the other hand, the Malaysian guest Roz Hussin zoom meeting took place on Monday 21 Nov 2022. Firstly, the meeting was only with my classmates, which didn’t give us the opportunity to negotiate with people of different cultures from all over the world as Soliya did. Secondly, the activities we did in the meeting were about knowing the function, users and needs of random tools like cars, television and glasses which I found boring and not beneficial. Soliya and Roz’s meeting are two different online experiences, but Soliya added to my knowledge and vision to many things in the world and made me excited to study abroad. Also, Soliya made me discover my thoughts about different cultures and how to accept others opinions while Roz’s meeting didn’t work on teamwork or even knowing what could people from different countries think of the function, users and needs of those tools which could have benefited us in knowing how could your identity and culture affect your vision to any of those basic tools. 

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Soliya and my instructor for allowing me to take part in such an interesting experience. If I could alter something, I would increase the number of options for meeting times or shorten the session’s duration so that it isn’t two hours, as some of us had to make compromises for extremely important stuff in order to arrive at the meeting on time. Nevertheless, the experience was amazing and made up for all the drawbacks.