Archive for September, 2011

absolutely intercultural 145 +++ Internship FAZ +++ Facebook no thanks! +++ JUAf charity Tanzania +++ Tradie of the Month +++

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Kikwe Woman in the JUAf projectToday our show will be all about work and will focus on different work situations. You will first listen to an interview with Kyle Hickman from California who did an internship with a German newspaper, then to Mathew Dunne, a plumber from New Zealand, who worked in England and who is currently working in Munich, Germany. Also, I interviewed Judi McAlpine, an American manager who quit her job to found a non-profit organization in Tanzania. Adelheid Korpp will tell us her reasons, why Facebook will never play a role for her, neither in her working life or her private life.

absolutely committed
In our first category I talk to Kyle Hickman from California. At the time of the interview, Kyle was doing an internship with a big national newspaper in Germany, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“,  and told us a little about the cultural differences he had noticed between California and Germany. For example, he seems to have detected a difference in attitude towards interns who are doing a practical training in a company. While he expected to be exploited as cheap labour – making coffee, copies or “cold calls” he noticed that his internship in Germany was really centered on the professional development of the intern – often even based on the intern’s personal likes and interests. So, from the beginning Kyle was trusted with what he calls “real work” and was able to contribute to the success of the newspaper. However, he also found out that smiling too much in the work place could be seen as suspicious in his host country and adapted his behavior accordingly. He did not find it difficult to integrate, though, as he grabbed every opportunity to be social with his co-workers. Listen out for what Kyle shares about eye-contact and how he had to adapt to a different culture.

absolutely careful
In our second category I talk to Adelheid Korpp. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus. Students from our partner universities who have been in contact with her often want to add her as a friend to their Facebook accounts. However, Adelheid is suspicious of being part of this biggest virtual community in the world. Well, she is probably right because life was difficult and complex enough before we had to check Facebook and Twitter. Sharing your personal information and pictures on the internet can, indeed, sometimes perhaps be harmful for you and for your career. So let’s find out, why she doesn’t want to take part in the big social media hype.

absolutely helpful
In our third category  I interviewed Judi McAlpine from the US when we both met in Cambodia earlier this year. Judi was a very successful manager for a huge company in the US. But then she transferred all her resources into a 2-years stay in Tanzania, where she lived in the villages with indigenous people and founded a charity. JUAF is a registered non-profit charity located in the Kikwe village of Tanzania. In partnership with indigenous women, Judi founded a village with resources for vulnerable women and children to empower them to fight poverty. This is done through micro financing, education, and support. Check out their blog for more information. But why would someone like Judi give up her well-paid job in the US to move to third-world-country?

absolutely tradie
In our last category I Interview Mat Dunne who is a plumber from New Zealand. He has travelled a lot around the world for his work. He worked in Canada and in England. Right now he is living in Munich, Germany. In every step of his life he experienced different cultural situations. In the interview he will tell us about the differences in reputation between “tradies” in New Zealand and craftsmen in Europe. It is, indeed, true that the same profession may have very different prestige and reputation in different countries. I was personally surprised during my time in Australia to find that “tradies, unlike their often bourgeois German counterparts would mostly be very good-looking guys with a cool hair- and life style and a surfboard on their cars so that in between two customers they would hop on their boards and enjoy the surf. On page 3 of cheap newspapers you would sometimes even find the picture of a shirtless “tradie of the month”.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 14 October

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer


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absolutely intercultural 144 +++ Cajun +++ Louisiana +++ Michot +++ Lost Bayou Ramblers +++ Les Freres Michot +++

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This show is rather special in many ways and may be a little longer than normal. As you may have guessed from the musical intro we’ll be going to Louisiana to find out the link between culture, work and music; and the people we’ll be meeting are father and son, Tommy and Louis Michot. I first met Tommy through my husband about 20 years ago. They are both biologists and when we went to Louisiana to visit Tommy’s family, I discovered that Tommy is also a serious musician; serious in the sense that he and his brothers, Les Freres Michot, tour, and make albums. We also met up at several academic events in Europe where there would always be occasion for Tommy to get out his squeezebox and share the Cajun music of Louisiana which is sort of what you heard at the beginning of the show.

And then as often happens, we lost contact. Suddenly in mid-August, my husband got an email from Tommy saying that his sons, Louis and Andre, now have a band called the Lost Bayou Ramblers and that they were playing at a festival in southern Denmark. So down we went to Tønder, near the German border, to hear and meet up with Louis and Andre in the Lost Bayou Ramblers. While the rest of Denmark seemed to be having a sunny day, a terrific thunderstorm was competing with the musicians for our attention, and festival goers were walking around the site ankle deep in water, making the whole thing look a little like a Louisiana Bayou. Meeting Louis and Andre after their set I realised that the music, the environment and their father’s career were all tightly interwoven and thought it might be interesting to unravel some of the pieces.

To set the scene you just need to know that the Cajuns of Louisiana were originally displaced people from France who came to Louisiana by way of Canada.

absolutely Cajun
We’ll start with Louis Michot who started out playing in his father’s band and has since gone on to form his own band with his brother Andre. The Lost Bayou Ramblers’ musc is rooted in Cajun but with a contemporary twist. Here’s Louis explaining what Cajun music is and how his band have updated it. That’s followed by a preview of the new single, Bastille, by The Lost Bayou Ramblers out at the end of September and then we hear from Louis’ father Tommy about where the word Cajun comes from.

absolutely interdisciplinary
Then I talked to Tommy about his work at the University of Louisiana and was amazed at how absolutely interdisciplinary his work is.

absolutely interconnected
Although Cajun music is rooted in tradition, I learned that Les Freres Michot also write new songs and that in one specific case the song arose out of one of Tommy Michot’s academic tasks. Let’s hear more about how work and play can be absolutely connected and then hear a snippet of the end result, La Valse de la Meche Perdue. You can try a short dictation from this segment at Listen and Write.

absolutely global
Finally we’re going to go absolutely global and hear once again from Louis Michot, this time about the B side of the Lost Bayou Ramblers’ new single Bastille which is also called Bastille and is a remix in a very different style. So we’ve gone from father to son, from work to play and from traditional to present day. One transition I haven’t had time for is French to English but we’ll take that in a later show so, finally, we’re going to go from local to absolutely global!

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany on 30th September 2011

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Markus Scherer
Photo credit: Cajunzydecophotos on Flickr


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absolutely intercultural 143 +++ ERASMUS special +++ Experience Report +++ EU-placements +++ Internship +++

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ERASMUS LOGOToday, we present a show which is going to focus on the European Program called “ERASMUS”, named after Eramus of Rotterdam. However, the name also stands for “EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”. So, University students can apply for ERASMUS grants when they want to study abroad withinin Europe. Therefore we will hear different opinions about this mobility program and the opportunities students gain by studying abroad within the ERASMUS framework. Nowadays it is more and more important for students to internationalize themselves during their studies. This means they have to leave their comfort zones and broaden their horizons by studying abroad. In order to initiate this process, the European ERASMUS program was founded almost 25 years and has been giving out grants for the internationalization of students.

 absolutely basic
In our first category Adelheid Korpp is going to tell us, what the program is about and which preparations students have to make. She is an expert on the ERASMUS program. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus and she knows a lot about the grants. She will tell us which countries in Europe take part in the ERASMUS program and what benefits student can expect if they decide to go on an ERASMUS exchange. For good Europeans it is essential to understand each other better particularly in context of the recent discussions about financial solidarity between the European member states.

absolutely experienced
In our second category Timo Schneider will share his experiences with us. He is back from his stay in Worcester, England, where he studied at a partner university of RheinAhrCampus. He will tell us how he heard about the program, what motivated him to put in an application, and of course which benefits he got from his stay. Timo also shares some of his intercultural experiences in sports where he noticed that his previous stereotypes really did not help. He will also give us a very useful advice.

absolutely working
In our last category Carsten Ritterath a 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 was to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten managed to get a grant 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. I took this interview with Carsten some time ago so in the meantime he is already back from his very successful ERASMUS stay.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 16 September

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer


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