Final Reflection

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Soliya final reflection

Soliya has been a quite different platform from a lot of things that I have been exposed to. I never had the same experience talking to someone on Facebook or skype. It was very beneficial as a cross-cultural program. I was part of an exchange program back in high school where my class and I traveled to Denmark for 10 days and then the Danish students came to Egypt the semester after. We all had to travel there in order to be able to complete and benefit from the program successfully, but with Soliya we were all in the same place virtually. It was different because we were able to connect on a different level and to find people who think the same way as you are thousands of miles away. It was just 2 hours a week, so we would discuss the topics and then I can actually apply what we said to my daily life right away and see for myself if its correct or not.

The topics we discussed were very interesting. They varied from identity, religion, politics, conversations we have with people around us, emotional interactions, appearance, situations where we felt like a minority or we were threatened by our identity in a certain way and how did we react, to the impact of social media. Each of these topics raised a lot of new information that I personally didn’t know and made me think in a different way than I used to before hearing everyone’s opinion on the matter. For example, when we talked about the impact of social media some people felt like it was time consuming and that people ignore their studies or religious duties because of social media. I however, disagreed on that fact because while people ignore their duties it’s not social media’s fault but it’s actually ours because I can waste my time playing games or reading a book if I want to. Another person actually felt like social media raises more cases of racism, homophobia, because groups are getting together, for good or for bad. Then came up how social media affects body image. I always thought that social media affects women negatively when it comes to body image. It objectifies women somehow and lures them into putting a certain image of the perfect body. But one of my group members disagreed with me and actually thought that social media affects women positively because it allows us to look at different body types and images of others on social media and it allows you to accept yourself and others at the same time. I never actually thought of it that way until that girl actually pointed it out.

So, this was just a small glimpse of how our sessions went and how everyone had the freedom to say whatever they think on the matter while being respected and valued by others. That’s what I loved most by program and I would definitely love to sign up to it once again to engage with more people and open myself to more opinions, topics, and cross-cultural experiences.