Archive for November, 2010

absolutely intercultural 123 +++ stereotypes +++ traveling +++ foreign countries +++

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On this show (no. 123) we will hear from the US, from South Korea and from Lebanon in the Middle East. I think this mix promises your dose of culture shocks from around the world and insights into new ways of thinking.

absolutely unpunctual
Have you ever made the experience that you traveled in a foreign country and because of your preparation or knowledge about this country your head is spinning with ready-made clichés about the people in that country? Often, when we are well prepared we really have the impression that we know a lot about the country we visit and the people who live there – but are these preconceived ideas the truth? Are they even helpful? In our first category I talked with Yoav Wachsmann, an American professor (originally from Israel) who travels a lot and comes over to Germany regularly. He told me what he liked most about his time in Europe but also how he had to revise his stereotypes as he was getting to know the Germans. He tells us an interesting story of misinterpretation where he thought that his German students were always late for their class until he discovered that in German Academia there is a system which could be called “formalized impunctuality”.

absolutely perfect
In our next category Anne Gründer, a student from Rhein Ahr Campus in Remagen told me why she took South-Korea as her destination for her semester abroad and what her friends’ reaction were like when they hear about that. Let us listen to how she enjoyed her trip to a completely different world and culture and how she spent her time in Korea.

absolutely specialized
Jennifer, an American professor who is teaching in Lebanon told me her story! She comes from Boston, in the US, is married with a Lebanese and is now living in Beirut. Many people back home are worried about her safety, because it seems to be dangerous living there, particularly as an American. But is it true? Is life more dangerous than in the US? In our last category Jennifer shared with me some stories, experiences she made in class and what she is missing most from the American culture.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 10. December

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole


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absolutely intercultural 122 +++ besig +++ contracts +++ mindfulness +++ longterm relationships +++ pragmatics +++

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In this show we’re going to be hearing about why knowledge of the local culture is important, how different cultures understand the notion of a contract, what sort of intercultural problems business people have, the right and wrong way to express disagreement and lots more. In the past we have brought you tasters from various conferences on intercultural topics and in this show we are very lucky to have been given permission to bring you extracts from the recent online webinar organised by IATEFL’s Business English special interest group on the topic of intercultural communication. IATEFL is the International Association of teaching English as a foreign language and IATEFL has many special interest groups of which Business English is just one. Carl Dowse in Germany was the organiser of this recent webinar and you can see the full recordings on the BESIG webiste at besig.org and they are also on YouTube

absolutely overlooked
We’ll start with an important observation from Baoquan Liu who was talking about how to test intercultural competence in his students when he mentioned something which is often absolutely overlooked…So could YOU describe your own local culture? Baoquan also included an interesting case study at the end of his talk which would be a great starting point for a discussion. You can see the case study on the besig.org website where the recording and slides are available free of charge.

absolutely contractual
For our next segment we are going to go absolutely contractual and find out some of the problems various business people operating across cultures experience with one of the basics of business – the contract. Listen as Evan Frendo, an intercultural trainer, talks about some of the problems he hears about with contracts and why the last thing you want to do is have a lawyer in the room when hammering out the details. 

absolutely problematic
The next speaker in the webinar was Sabrina Gerland, an American based in Germany for the last 30 years, who spoke about the crucial importance of tone and expression. In this segment Sabrina starts by listing the types of real life questions which German business people present her with during her training sessions and then talks about how what you say can also be absolutely problematic even when it is grammatically correct.You can hear more examples of communication going wrong by listening to the whole of Sabrina’s talk on the besig.org page

absolutely mindful
So far we have heard about very specific aspects of intercultural communication in business; be aware of the local culture, what do you understand by the word contract and how can you express disagreement politely. Our next segment, , will bring this all together. Peter Franklin, the final speaker in the Besig webinar, presented results of extensive research into what he calls intercultural interactive competence. He then pulled it all together into an idea called mindfulness… 

absolutely short term
One of the great joys of this webinar was the constant reference to real life, real people and real situations so in our next segment, absolutely short term, we’ll hear why the usuall advice to nurture long term relationships in order to build trust in business may not work. 

absolutely German
And talking of real world problems, I’m going to end the extracts from this webinar with a lovely case study; an incident related by one of Sabrina Gerland’s course participants. I think we have to call this segment absolutely German!

So my thanks to Carl Dowse, the organiser of this wonderful and free webinar, for allowing me to bring you some extracts today.Did you like this taste of an online conference? Do you know of any other relevant upcoming online meetings? Do you have an idea for a show or a segment of a show. Do get in touch if you’ve got something to say about the podcast. And don’t forget that if you catch the show online it is now very easy to do so on your iphone or ipod.

The next show will be coming to you on 1 October from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.
So long…stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole


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