Starting off the reflection to the Soliya program, I would like to mention that overall it was an amazing experience and would defiantly go for refills of it.
First, the dialogue in the program was quite substantial, overlooking some minor technical issues, it had a system of conversing that was new to me on the cyber domain which is not at all new to our day to day organic life. That system is the grab the mic system, where one is talking and the others have to wait till that person finishes what they are talking about with the ability to raise your hand if you want to chime in on that point later on which is a very organized manner for people to converse in a civilized manner like the demeanor we partake in classes and similar situations. The system offers the speaker a great deal of respect and forces others to listen carefully to what the person is saying, sometimes simply hearing is not exactly listening and one can argue that listening to another person’s perspective carefully can completely change one’s own perspective and beliefs at the topic in question. So overall, kudos to the Soliya team for delivering such outstanding method of commuting. The experience I had with Soliya in the dialogue perspective is quite different from how I am in real life, as I normally do not talk that much or even express freely and the platform provided a space that felt safe and reassuring, free of judgment and packed with acceptance and open minds. To top it all off, the platform is different from so common means of cyber communication as its not public and accepts everything which is rare to find in this trigger searching (people who are offended by mere point of views of others) community on the internet nowadays.
Straying off from the platform and focusing on the person in question, which is myself, I did not learn almost anything new, but I reaffirmed some of the speculations and ideas I had about who I in the digital world am. I always thought that I would be the person I am in real life on camera, a timid person who does not like to argue or talk much as to avoid problems with others who might disagree or overlook what I mean to prove themselves right which was proven wrong throughout the sessions. During the sessions, I was expressive and as free as I am with the few close friends I have while trying to maintain a clear and objective mind to not stray off the topic as much which I tend to do normally. The program made me feel more assertive and more confident while I present my points. For one to really prevail in the program, one must know some of the key contributors, to constructive communicators in the real and digital domains:
- One must keep an open mind and be acceptable with others’ perspective even if one does not agree.
- One must be willing to listen and share if he or she does not understand and need clarification.
- Questions are a major player in a successful conversation.
This is an opinion.
To summarize, the Soliya program was an amazing experience that I will defiantly enroll in again. The program was as fun as it was enriching, getting to know cultures and people from all around the globe.
Now, connecting the program with what we learned in class. First of all I noticed some sort of othering in the first session which I acted on later but it still happened, the Arab students went into conversations leaving out other students. A bias was clear as well when the topic about the Palestinian – Israeli conflict arose in which we saw Arabs on one side and others were neutral and it is clear why as we live in the MENA region and that’s pretty much built within us. Not all things that I noticed were bad, I saw genuine interest from everyone into knowing everyone else’s cultures which heartwarming was to see such connectivity taking place.
Finally discussing the three-dimensional development trajectory of intercultural maturity, starting with the cognitive. I think that I’m in the intermediate level of that development point as I am constantly dealing with people from all over the world online.
Second, the intrapersonal level, which I think that I’m still in the initial phase as I have no idea where I stand on my own values or ideologies. Finally the interpersonal dimension, if I have to chose a level based on the descriptions provided, I would chose mature level since I am normally comfortable with everyone when I tread into deep conversations and connections with people.