During my 2023 spring semester in AUC, I joined this connect-program through one of my courses to learn more about different cultures and meet new people from different backgrounds and cultures. I was a part of group 99 which had great people! During the sessions, during our discussions in dialogues everyone was included and this program was encouraging everyone to participate and have their own voice heard. It was different then other discussions and communications I usually have because it is online and it is with people from different backgrounds and cultures that I have never met. Whenever I talk to my friends or people with the same nationality as me I usually am more comfortable and am not as wary and too careful. During the program I was careful of what I say when it comes to certain topics for sure; I listened to their different opinions on the topics discussed and we were all open to each other’s different and similar perspectives on different topics.
I am usually more of a listener during conversations but during this experience, I don’t know if it’s always like this, but my group was quite hesitant in speaking first so there were some small moments of silence so I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and spoke first whenever a question arises. I kind of wished it was a bit more lively since I was really looking forward to this experience. However, it still showed me important aspects in cross-cultural communication. I know that in order to get constructive communication, I would have different boundaries and ways of reaching it in my personal life and professional life. In my personal life I feel I’d be more comfortable in sharing opinions with those close to me while of course still maintaining respect and listening to one another. Whereas my professional life would need me to be more aware of my surroundings as there’s work involved and I could be working with people from different backgrounds professionally so people should respect one another and be aware of boundaries not to step out of. In general this experience was lovely. I met great people along the way and was happy to find one of the participants that shares the same nationality as me since I don’t see it as often, it was a lovely coincidence. I wished it was more culture focused since I was looking forward to this mostly and it was during my Easter holidays and I was abroad which made me miss two sessions.
Even so, it was a great experience and I do encourage others to take part in this program. Also the facilitators were lovely and really helped the group communicate more with each other without making it awkward.
I definitely recommend joining this program whenever anyone has free time! I also might join the alumni meetings that they are preparing soon which I am looking forward to!!
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