For University of Maine at Machias students, the chance to learn about Middle Eastern experiences such as civil strife and daily tensions across a number of countries is the chance of a lifetime. Since Fall 2004, when UMM was one of five American universities selected to take part in the first Soliya Connect initiative (www.soliya.net), students have built rich, personal, international interactions.
Soliya (offered as CMY/HON 220 Soliya: Cross-Cultural Communication) is an interactive, cross-cultural course that allows students to connect and explore the relationship between the American and Muslim worlds, with the aim of improving intercultural awareness and understanding. Students see and hear each other using videoconferencing and the latest in online technology. As a group they decide on an end-of-semester project, drawing from raw news footage of international events, with permission from television giants such as the British Broadcasting Company and Al Jezeera, the Arab world broadcaster. As they complete their projects, they forge meaningful, multicultural links.
In the course, UMM students are matched in groups of eight – four Americans and four from the Middle East. Trained facilitators are assigned to each group, and students who finish a semester of the Soliya work are eligible to apply for the facilitator positions. Several UMM students have graduated to that role.
Students who enroll in the Soliya program can use it to satisfy part of their general education core requirements, and it’s also an honors credit for qualified students in any major. The course provides a great opportunity to get international experience without leaving home.
CMY/HON 220 has limited enrollment so REGISTER NOW to ensure your spot.