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How Virtual Cross-Cultural Exchange Makes the Impossible Possible

by Soumya Adusumilli

· English,Students,People of PA

Imagine life when you are limited to one job, one language, one world. Everything feels black and white with the same routine repeating over and over again. But what if you could do something to add a little color to your life? What if you could discover a bridge that will lead you to colorful, diverse worlds just from sitting in your room in Syria?

Well, 25-year-old dentist Tareq Layka certainly discovered his bridge when he joined Paper Airplanes in Fall 2019 as a student. His cousin had shown him the organization’s Facebook ad and he decided that it was a chance to expand his love for online education and personal learning.

Tareq Layka, Paper Airplanes student

As a first time student, he was nervous, yet excited, but was relieved when he met his first tutor who was from South Africa. He says that “especially with her accent, the class was interesting at first.” But while moving through the English program’s curriculum, he learned about the South African lifestyle, social challenges, and enriching culture.

It was a colorful world Layka had never encountered. His exchanges with his tutors motivated him to learn more about South Africa and sparked his interest in learning about new countries. From then on, he engaged in new opportunities to interact with individuals from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. His world began to expand with his “diverse, multifaceted experiences which led to additional opportunities through connections.”

In Syria, Layka was not able to learn English because many people did not speak the language and it was considered unnecessary. However, he explained that learning it was a “life-changing experience which allowed him to gain amazing connections with people who are native speakers of English.” By learning English through Paper Airplanes, he developed more confidence and was able to “meet new people who have different perspectives and different opinions.”

English was his bridge that allowed him to broaden his perspective of the world. What is yours?

About the author: Soumya

My name is Soumya Adusumilli and I am a first-year Business Administration student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. I truly enjoy reading, writing, and watching movies in my free time. I have been a part of Paper Airplanes since 2018 and I'm glad that I have the opportunity to continue my journey with this inspirational organization. I am also involved in entrepreneurship and lead The Intrepid which is the voice of my college's entrepreneurship community. In the future I hope to accomplish my lifelong dream of visiting the seven wonders of the world!

The views and opinions represented in this post belong solely to the author of the blog post, and are not representative of the views and policies of Paper Airplanes and its staff members.

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