Archive for August, 2007

absolutely intercultural 38 +++ Iceland +++ 3D College +++ Seattle +++ Chernobyl +++ Stephen Pinker +++

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From Iceland to the 3D College to Chernobyl to Seattle.

TykmandIn this show we are going to hear from a number of people who have found themselves in a different culture for a short period but they haven’t just been on holiday.

absolutely personal
Our first guest is Anne Würtz Petersen, a Danish scientist who found herself on a scientific expedition in Iceland examining the threatened Greenland White-fronted Goose in a group consisting mainly of British colleagues. How did she cope with the technical language and the speed of native speaker language? Tony Fox, one of her colleagues on that trip, tried to find out.

absolutely animated
3D college in Denmark trains young people from the age of about 16 or 17 in this fast growing industry and as part of their studies these students all make several study trips one of which is to Seattle in the USA where they can learn from some of the best in the world such as animators from Disney. Do we see so much American TV and cinema that we all have the feeling that we already know the place before we even set foot there? I talked to Mads and Tobias about the trip and about some of the pictures in an unofficial blog of their travels which has lots of pictures.

absolutely speechless
At least Mads and Tobias were able to communicate with their host families as they had English as a common language. But what if you went away for a month to stay in somebody’s house where there was no common language at all? Could that work? That was the situation faced by some old friends of mine, Nicky Penford and her son Adam in Aberdeen Scotland when they agreed to host two boys from Belarus for a month, earlier this summer. Belarus was badly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 and the whole country is still polluted by radiation which affects people’s health. The Chernobyl Children Lifeline charity offers Belarusian children a month’s homestay in countries around the world since it turns out that a month spent in a place with clean air and food can add as much as two years to a Belarusian’s life expectancy. But the Belarusians speak Russian and my friends and their son speak only English. So how did it go? BabelFish was a useful tool for giving the boys an idea of each day’s programme.

absolutely theoretical
I was looking for information about the theories of Stephen Pinker when I came across a couple of really interesting tests which you can take to help his research. The tests are not explicitly about intercultural communication but are trying to find out how people express themselves in difficult or awkward situations. So if you are quite good at English go to http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/ and click on ‘participate in a study’ which will take you to the first test and then suggest you participate in a second study run by one of his colleagues. I am not allowed to say more about the content otherwise I’ll spoil the research. But I will say that both tests raise all sorts of interesting intercultural situations and it is worth thinking about how people from other cultures might react to the same dilemmas.

The next show will be coming out on the 7th of September and will be coming to you from Germany.

The Host of this show is: Anne Fox

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absolutely intercultural 37 +++ Leaving it all behind +++ Sabbatical +++ Opera in Thailand +++

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Leaving it all behind – Sabbatical year – Opera in Thailand

Leave it all behindWe reserve a special welcome to all our new listeners in Africa, South America and Asia. As you can see on our cluster map we are getting more and more hits from these parts of the world, and it’s great to have you with us on our little intercultural journey.

Well, it’s August, and at least in the northern hemisphere the holiday season is in full swing. “Holidays” – even when I only see the written word in an email message, it quickly seems to create pleasant pictures in my mind. I immediately think about beaches, mountains, islands and maybe you, too, you think about your favourite places? And, when you are on a holiday, don’t you sometimes develop fantasies about leaving you normal life behind and not going back? About getting away from it all for good? Or at least for a little longer than just a holiday? Well, in this episode we have interviewed three people who have done exactly that – but all in their different ways.

absolutely itchy feet
We will start with Jens Alderath, one of our very internationally mobile students, who first went to Australia for 8 month for his practical semester 2 years ago, then went to South Africa twice since he returned, after that spent some weeks in Austria and Ireland and is as we are speaking planning now to go back to South Africa after he will have finished his studies. Although he is only 23 years old, Jens seems to have become a “world citizen”, but what do his family and friends think about the constant series of farewells?

absolutely musical
Alessandro from Italy tells us what brought him to the opera in Thailand three years ago and why his life has changed from heavy metal to classical music.

absolutely free
But what would happen if Alessandros job became so stressful and tiring that he wanted to take a longer break? Could he take a whole year off? Well, this is exactly what Ralf Klatt did. Ralf is a teacher, and he took a so-called “sabbatical year” to get away from his daily routine in school. He toured the USA for three month, with only one companion – his motorcycle.

absolutely lifelong
Are you looking for realistic ways to improve your English and have some fun at the same time? Have you tried watching films in the original versions? Well, then this will strike a chord with you. Lisa Martin, one of our students here at the RheinAhrCampus, has come up with some great ideas.
The next show will be coming to you on the 24th of August from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited and co-hosted by: Karsten Kneese

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