As the semester is coming to an end and with the final assignment for this course I would like to share with you my experience throughout this course.
In this letter, I am going to share with you the positive and negative aspects of this course, why you should take it and whom it is designed for along with a few pieces of information that will help you understand what the course is all about.
What I Learned in this course
During this course, I have learned many things. Things that I have been thinking about for a long time but was always failing to express them or put them into words, due to my lack of knowledge about the subjects. One of the very interesting things was learning about myself and understanding the term identity and the various huge meanings behind it.
Firstly, through the understanding of Identity, I learned more about how to be able to identify myself. One’s identity does not only come from where he was born or what religion he believes in or even skin color. Based on my interpretation of identity after this course, I can say my identity is based on a mix of things I choose to affiliate myself with. It is not just one aspect like me being a Muslim or me being African or even Egyptian. I feel very comfortable in the city of Berlin for example due to me spending a big part of my life there. I really like music and art but at the same time, I cannot call myself an artist. I’m very into sports and dreamt of being an athlete. I live a more western lifestyle despite me being pure African. I also identify as a straight male. This made me think that I cannot identify as one thing at all I am connected to many aspects that are very different from one another which means for me that if I get asked what I identify as my one and the only answer would be I identify as ME and only ME nothing else because this is a very vague question that needs days and days to answer.
As mentioned, I have been thinking about this for a long time now, but I never succeeded to put it into words what helped me do that was the informative TED talks that we were shown but also the very intellectual interactions, debates, and discussions we had during class. The TED talks drew the beginning of the way and our discussion in class while hearing the opinions of others opened new areas of thinking in my mind which taught me a lot.
Another point I learned that I would use in my academic life and suggest in other courses, is the creation of fun informative games with google slides and the utilization of the special classroom with the smartboards. Creating a game on google slides was a very helpful skill I learned in this course it is a new way to process information in a more fun and interactive way and it helps the person put themselves in other people’s shoes while making decisions etc. This could be very helpful especially in my psychology major were the focal point of psychology is understanding others to be able to help them. As for the special classroom and the smartboards, it was a fun and creative way to learn. This was due to everyone in class being able to interact with one another, also, students giving each other feedback was a creative and fun way to learn as it not only teaches the student getting feedback about his mistakes but also, teaches the student giving the feedback to have a good eye and avoid these mistakes in the future and creates an amazing atmosphere to learn collectively.
As for the things that will help me in my social life in the future. This I learned mostly through Soliya and the text The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging. Soliya helped me apprehend the idea of background experiences and perspectives it made me understand that people perceive things differently due to what they had experienced in their lives and how they were living. It also made me realize that not everything is black and white and that there are many answers to the same point. Which in the end leads to me being able to understand where people are coming from even if I don’t share the same point of view or ideologies with them. This will help me in my social life as it would make me have better more constructive debates with people also, I will be able to understand people more and sympathize with them and I won’t be seeing my opinion as to the only right one or even as wrong in some cases and I will just know that maybe we are interpreting things through a different thought process. As for the text “the problem of othering” It taught me that marginalizing people or splitting countries is not a solution for anything and that the only thing that it makes is that it creates more and more problems. It also taught me that stereotyping people based on a certain aspect like skin color or religion or anything else is a silly mistake that everyone falls into and with this, I’ll be able to educate my friends and family and everyone I can so that in the future we avoid mistakes like that and aim for a more inclusive society rather than a more divided one.
Finally, what I will use in my career, I think most information learned in this course will be very helpful for me in my career whether it being about self, others, racism, or everything related to people’s problems as I am aiming to become a therapist so the focal point of my career would be understanding people. However, if there is one most important thing, I will take from this course to help me in my career it would be the self-development Blogpost whether it being Meditation, gratitude journals, wheel of life, or the techniques that I am already using. A career in psychology could be very consuming and draining the therapist needs to always let the negative thoughts out and work on his mentality and mindset to not get overwhelmed with the negativity that comes with the job. Also, a therapist must be in his best mindset to be able to help patients. That’s why I would need to find a way to always stay positive and grateful and empty my mind. This can be achieved through the above-mentioned techniques.
If I were to show someone my learnings in this course, I would use the game I created + the digital narrative games. This is since my game is a very personal topic that I am really interested in but also done in an innovative and creative way that I learned in this course. A game is an entertaining way to teach someone something and let the information stick to his head. As for the digital narrative games in general they were discussing very sensitive topics and putting themselves in the shoes of others while trying to make their choices and act through their eyes makes him understand what others go through more deeply and helps him sympathize with them because he will be seeing the world with their perspective and understanding the hard choices that they must go through. Another thing I would show them is my self-development blogpost. I think everyone in life needs to learn how to cope with his hardships and his problems in life. Everyone needs to find his way of dealing with his negative thoughts. Many people really need that but are just waiting for someone to put them on the right track. In my opinion, my way of dealing with my negative thoughts could be very beneficial for other people, but also other ways like meditation or gratitude journals could be more fitting for others. Therefore, I find it very important to teach people this as it will help them a lot to surpass the hardships in life. Finally, one last aspect I would show to people is my Soliya blog post. I found the Soliya experience to be extremely beneficial it opened my eyes to new aspects and perspectives on how to see the world. I learned about people from different cultures and backgrounds and understood their problems and how hard life is for everyone because everyone has things to deal with. I also learned to respect and listen to other people’s opinions from it even if I disagree with them. It was a very beneficial experience for me that I wish to share with everyone so that they can understand more about it.
On the other hand, there were a few aspects I wished had been different in this course and would have wanted them to be changed. The first thing I would change in this course is the number of assignments one has to do. The assignments in this course were extremely overwhelming quantity-wise. Even though the assignments were not always long, hard, or draining, but the number of assignments that were due was very consuming. I would change this by making the course assignments a little longer with more weight on them but at the same time, less frequently so that one does not have to do an assignment for every single class every week. 1 large assignment every week and a half or two in my opinion would be a much better option and would be less consuming to students. Another point I would change is the fact that we always had a lot to do at home but very few things to do in class. In my opinion, it would be much more beneficial to be able to work and get as many things as possible during class and leave the light things to do at home. Finally, I found it very hard and time-consuming during the month of November to be attending both soliya and the classes, especially since the soliya meetings were always 2hour+ hardly finished on time, and had a few things to prepare for every week. I would change this by either canceling one class a week during soliya period or canceling 4 classes throughout November month. Especially since the soliya meeting is always double the time of an AUC lecture. I would not cancel the soliya experience for students, however, because I found it very informative and beneficial.
In my opinion, this course should be taken by open-minded people who wish to learn more about day-to-day interactions and people from different backgrounds and cultures while aiming to help others and understand the world from a more beneficial point of view.
Finally, I would like to advise everyone who likes to travel and interact and meet new people to take this course throughout this course you will learn a lot about how to communicate with others and understand them. I wish everyone who listens to my advice and takes the course good luck.
P.S. be interactive and do your work and don’t care about the grades, the grades will come to you.