Soliya was a great experience that I really enjoyed. It is basically an online program that you register for, and allows you to get out of your bubble or comfort zone. It brings together students from all over the world and allows you to discover different cultures and perspectives of objects and the world. Members with very unique experiences, backgrounds, religions, and cultures are all brought together in one meeting to share their experiences and stories, it was an outstanding encounter. It was a total of 8 hours: 2 hours per week of exchanging encounters and experiences, in addition to an introductory meeting which to me was the most interesting.

In this introductory meeting, all students were assigned a topic to discuss: fitting in. It discussed how people try to often fit in and feel included and how in certain situations it is not suitable for ones to fit in an ‘extra chair’. That extremely helped broaden my perspective on life and how different people fit in different occasions and how others do not. 

All of us regardless of our backgrounds, are used to existing within a small bubble which we might think is extended. Having a large bubble or group of friends, family, or people we know may sometimes deceive us into thinking that we are not stuck within one group or bubble. But that is not true. Regardless of how large our bubble is, it is still called a bubble.

At first, I thought that the theoretical sector of exploring the world through the global studies class was enough, however, I realized that nothing is truly effective as much as the practical practice and actually interacting with those from different backgrounds; not only learning about them. 

When I was first introduced to Soliya, I wasn’t so excited about it; no one felt comfortable getting out of their comfort zone. I actually tried postponing it and disregarding it completely, but it was mandatory. However, after the first meeting, I felt truly welcomed and appreciated by all those from different backgrounds. I sensed a feeling of importance and was happy to be effective and have something to offer to the table. I had the opportunity to talk, express, advice, and help others with my experience and vice versa. That was definitely a confidence booster.

I always considered myself an outgoing and vulnerable person, but getting out of my bubble made me realize how important it is to value yourself outside your bubble and comfort zone. That is basically because I was not very comfortable at first, but my peers helped me overcome the uncomfort in a blink of an eye.

Although it might seem as a usual zoom/online meeting, it was totally different. We are all used to attending zoom meetings and face to face lectures with probably people we’ve never met before, but we are subconsciously confident about it because they exist in our bubble: Auc community, we are assured we share something in common, however, it is totally different and super challenging to meet with people you absolutely know nothing about.

This experience surprised me with people who have mutual interests in life as well as mutual experiences. And on the other hand, it surprised me with people who have unusual encounters in life: good and bad. 

In conclusion, I genuinely recommend all entities, universities, and individuals to seek jumping out of their bubble and try to enroll in Soliya, I’ve been there, and coming from there I can assure you that to me it was not limited to a global studies course, in fact, reflected on my whole perspective on life.