It is my first time to be engaged in a connect program such as Soliya. Soliya was a different experience than my other online communication for a couple of reasons. Firstly and most significantly, we do not choose the people with whom we are to connect, for example we did not choose any certain identification for the people in our groups, we do not have a chance to change other group members or move to another group if we did not like the current group -as far as I know-. I am not judging whether it is a privilege or not. It has some advantages and some disadvantages. From the advantages that I noticed is that being put in such a situation teaches us to adapt in different settings and learning how to compromise with conditions that we can not change. On the other hand, compromising might not be the choice of some people and they have the right to choose it so they would face a difficulty having to be in a setting they do not prefer. Second difference which is not so significant, I sometimes felt I am attending a class. Although the facilitator was very friendly as well as the group members, I kept feeling this which made me sometimes less comfortable.
I am someone who spends pretty much time on social media occasionally but I barely share something, just watching what is going around. During the sessions of Soliya, I had to share 🙂. Specially when some one puts me on the spot asking me about something about my country or my culture, I do not have a chance not to answer. Or when everyone is asked to share their experience about something if they had any. I was not upset by having to share but had it been a different setting I would not choose to share as the usual me. in conclusion to this part, I was more sharer of information during the program than before which is not bad since again I do choose what I share.
Now I want to share some of the topics that we discussed and interested me the most. During the very first session we were asked to write down 7 aspects that we see define who we are. Some of us said that religion is part of who we are and we had an interesting debate whether it is or not. I liked debating on such controversial stuff. I also enjoyed talking about politics and problems in our national homes. We also shared some food habits and some dishes during a session which was cool.
One last note, two hours were too much for a session in my opinion. I think 90 minutes are sufficient. And there could be some specified time before the start of the session to check for the technical issues. Because if someone has a good internet connection while some others do not, the first will have to wait for some time at the beginning of the session so that everyone’s connected.