Archive for August, 2008

absolutely intercultural 64 +++ Beijing Olympics +++ Chinese Pod +++ Guangxi University +++ 2 Million Minutes +++

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Beijing Games mascotsWith the Olympics in full swing it seems obvious to turn our attention to China this time round. However if you think that we’re going to be talking about heights, lengths, points, timings and goals then you’ve come to the wrong place. But maybe by now you have an idea what the intro music was. It didn’t sound stereotypically Chinese but Forever Friends is the official anthem for the Beijing Olympics.

So what are the intercultural aspects of the Olympic Games? The list is long and could begin with the opening ceremony which was a lesson in world geography with the majority of the world’s countries represented, even those currently in conflict such as Afghanistan and Georgia as well as many small nations such as Andorra and Cape Verde.  Be honest, how many flags did you recognize? I was also struck by the number of parading athletes using their mobile phones mostly to take pictures but also in conversation. The formality of the occasion has obviously been very much reduced. I can feel a theme for a future show coming on!

As the games swung into action inevitably another issue raised its head, that of cheating. What is cheating? I’m not referring here to using drugs to enhance performance but of the strange story of the Danish sailors. The weather conditions for the start of the race were very rough and the mast of the Danish boat broke. Instead of bowing out of the race, the Danes asked the Croatians, who were no longer competing, if they could borrow their boat. The Croatians said yes, the Danes set off late and incredibly went on to win the competition on aggregate and were in line for the gold medal. But it took 18 hours for the judges to decide whether the Danes had broken any rules by borrowing the Croatian boat. In the end the Danes were awarded the medal but other nations have put in official complaints. So was that cheating? Let us know what you think.

absolutely yours
Firstly hello to Zohre Ovezliyeva in Turkmenistan who administers the American Peace Corps programme there. I was so interested in Zohre’s work that I arranged to link up with her for a future show so watch out for that.

Then we heard from Christopher Cummings who wanted to tell us about his Spanish language learning site at Spanishdict.com and who also told us that some of our pieces resonated with him as an Asian American. I hope that we can get Christopher to tell us more about his approach to language learning in a future show.

Hello also to Eddy Van Hemelrijck in Belgium who was interested in getting his students involved in producing some material for the podcast. Yes of course, we’re very open to suggestions like that and I am very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

absolutely olympic:
Today we’ll be hearing from Ken Carroll, a Dubliner who has lived in Shanghai for 15 years and who offers online language training through Chinese Pod, French Pod and Spanish Pod. What does he think is the significance of China hosting the games? Inevitably we started talking about learning the Chinese language too.

absolutely proud:
We’ll also be hearing from Yaodong Chen, a professor of English at Guangxi University in Liuzhou and one of his students Justina, currently working as an intern, about whether they will be watching the games or not.

absolutely behind:
A recurring theme seems to be homework in China. This reminded me of an interesting initiative happening in the USA at the moment called 2 million minutes.  That is the amount of time available to the typical teenager to qualify themselves for university in high school. The project is making a series of films documenting how teenagers in India, China and the USA are spending their time during this critical period and it will be no surprise to learn that the Chinese students spend a great deal of time doing homework compared to the Americans. Although you need to buy the main film there are many short clips available for free on the project website and on You Tube. One of them features Bob Compton, the executive producer, giving his answer to a typical question about how students in China feel when they get low marks.

absolutely olympic (part 2):
What? More inter-cultural aspects of the Olympic Games? Well how about, is it about individuals and teams or about countries? I know many people are simply looking at the medal tally for each country but in the Olympic Charter it does explicitly say, and I quote:

‘The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries.’

Finally, isn’t there a tension between the supposed coming together of nations and the inherent rivalry in sporting events? I heard one athlete interviewed who said ‘I didn’t come here to socialize with the other athletes!’ and in fact there doesn’t seem to be anything in the Olympic Charter compelling him to do so!

Well that’s it for today. Thank you to everyone who took part, we couldn’t do this without you!

So long! Stay tuned.

The host of this show is:Anne Fox
Editor: Peter Kron

The next show will be coming to you on September 5 from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.


Tags:, , , ,

absolutely intercultural 63 +++ studying abroad +++ ERASMUS placements +++ internships abroad +++ intercultural preparation +++ international week in Remagen +++ scholarships +++

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

logo of the \
In today’s show the emphasis is on students who decide to spend some quality time abroad. What are their choices, how do students need to prepare themselves, when should they start with their intercultural preparations? Most students, whether they take a Bachelor or a Master course, have the opportunity to go abroad for some time during their studies. Our interviewees tell us what the benefits of such a study abroad period can be.

absolutely welcome: 
At most universities the international offices try to highlight students’ opportunities for going abroad by celebrating an international week at least once a year. The university invites representatives from their partner universities who can then explain and advertise their study programmes and answer specific student questions concerning the best choice of courses, the credit points which students can gain during their stay abroad and also questions concerning accommodation or living costs in their countries. Listen to Prof. Henzler, president of the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz as she welcomes the delegations from the different partner universities on the first day of the international week. 

absolutely useful:
From the student perspective the presence of the foreign guests offers a number of opportunities. They can follow lectures in foreign languages, can get to know teachers and administrators from the partner university before they arrive there and make informed choices as to which university would be the best one to go to. We listen to one of the student representatives of the “go-out”-initiative (German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD). Gerrit tells us that he sees the main benefits of these periods abroad in the fact that they create new and unexpected opportunities to expand your own personality and that well-documented experience abroad is a great plus when you are looking for a new job – because it seems to be a strong signal to the prospective employer that you are motivated, flexible, and that you show initiative and speak foreign languages.

absolutely integrated:
Most universities have orientation weeks where all foreign students get together and get basic information or do excursions around the university in order to facilitate their integration. Some universities have “buddy programs” where the incoming foreign students are paired with local students whose task it is to integrate the newcomers as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Adelheid Korpp, who is in charge of the “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus tells us what the university offers to make sure that the students from the partner universities have the best start, get integrated quickly and, if possible, feel at home in their new surroundings right from the beginning of their stay.  

absolutely strategic: 
Students should prepare themselves interculturally for their stay abroad before they arrive at their new destination. Barbara Neukirchen, who looks after the “outgoing students” at RheinAhrCampus and coaches them during their application process for universities and scholarships tells us how students can plan a successful stay abroad if only they start the planning phase early enough.  

absolutely prepared:
In our last interview Carsten Ritterath a Bachelor student of business administration reports about his preparation for an internship in England. His football coach helped him find the English organisation where one of his tasks will be to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten has applied for a scholarship from ERASMUS-placements and he tells us what he needed to do in order to apply for this. He wrote a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, he took part in an intercultural seminar and he had to pass an English test. We are keeping our fingers crossed for him to get the scholarship in the end because accommodation in London can be quite expensive.

Our next show will be coming to you on 22 August from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Und bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host and editor of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann


Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,










Write us an email.