absolutely intercultural 115 +++ academic integration +++ incoming students +++ buddy system +++ cultural diversity +++

Council of Europe by "notfrancois" on FlickrWhat can universities do to integrate foreign students interculturally? The Council of Europe’s White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue demands that “Higher-education institutions play an important role in fostering intercultural dialogue, through their education programmes, as actors in broader society and as sites where intercultural dialogue is put into practice”. So, let us look at how this political demand is put into practice by talking to both, students and experienced professionals who are responsible for integrating foreign students in universities.

absolutely welcome
The Steering Committee on Higher Education and Research suggests, that “the university is ideally defined precisely by its universality – its commitment to open-mindedness and openness to the world, founded on enlightenment values. The university thus has great potential to engender ‘intercultural intellectuals’ who can play an active role in the public sphere”.
So let us do a reality check and find out how this open-mindedness and openness of the universities is put into practice in real life. Which methods are used to integrate incoming students in the daily academic life in the foreign country? I spoke with Adelheid Korpp, who is responsible for the incoming students at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen. In our first category, she told me what methods are used for facilitating intercultural integration for the foreign students. In fact, her services starts long before the students arrive in Germany.

absolutely helpful
One of these student mentors is Tobias Pfanner who has worked and studied in Canada and Australia and from his own experience he already knew how important intercultural mentors can be at the beginning of your stay abroad. He told me the story, how he took the decision to be a “buddy” and help a foreign student have a good start in Germany.

absolutely Spanish
Are these methods of integration the same in different universities? Our student editor Dino spent a semester in León in Spain. In our next category he explains what our partner university did to integrate foreign students interculturally and help them network with each other. Do they also use a “buddy system”?

absolutely integrated
Unfortunately, not every stay abroad is well prepared and crowned with academic success stories. In our next category I asked Adelheid what happens if the intercultural integration does not work as well as we have heard in our previous stories? Do international students sometimes turn up in the international office in tears because they cannot make friends or because they cannot follow the academic courses in the foreign language?

absolutely flexible
In our last category, David shares his intercultural experiences at the university in Russia. Of course he he was prepared for seeing different behaviours even for facing situations which in his home country are unthinkable. However, even though he was well prepared for his stay in Russia the attitude of showing “flexibility in exams” reserved some culture shocks for him and the other foreign students. In my conversation with David we also talked about the role of the new social media for getting in contact and staying in contact with your new intercultural acquaintances after your stay abroad. However, in different countries students use different social media to get in touch and keep in contact.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 21 August

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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

5 Responses to “absolutely intercultural 115 +++ academic integration +++ incoming students +++ buddy system +++ cultural diversity +++”


  • Hello, I noticed your blog is about intercultural living and communication. I thought my book “Because I’m Human” might be of your interest. It’s a memoir of my years living in Between cultures while being an international college students in the USA. My home country is Chile.

    warmly,
    Claudia Munoz

  • Thank you for this very enlightening podcast. As a doctoral student whose course work is focusing on the globalization of education this semester, I found this most beneficial. At my college, we also have international students. I will now go to the administrators who monitor these students and ask about our program and see how is compares and contrasts.
    The part I found most interesting was regarding the culture shock component of being an exchange student. It is certainly something that the host university msut be aware to help foreign students with any issues that may arise due to it. You are right in that no matter how prepared you are to be in a foreign country, there will always be that element of surprise.

    Judi Buenaflor,
    Allentown, PA USA

  • Dear Claudia Munoz,
    Thank you for your comment. You wrote:

    > “Hello, I noticed your blog is about intercultural living and
    > communication. I thought my book “Because I’m Human” might be of your
    > interest. It’s a memoir of my years living in Between cultures while
    > being an international college students in the USA. My home country
    > is Chile.”
    #### Yes, I would be interested in finding out more about what you describe as your “adventure where I traveled and lived between Chile and the USA for six years.” I must, however, admit that I am not a religious person so I am not so interested in the spiritual aspects but only in the intercultural experiences you made during your travels between South and North America. Would you like to share those intercultural experiences with our listeners? We could do a telephone or Skype interview with you if you are interested?
    Greetings from Germany
    Laurent

  • Dear Judi Buenaflor,
    thank you for your comment and your kind words for our podcast, you wrote:

    > Thank you for this very enlightening podcast. As a doctoral
    > student whose course work is focusing on the globalization
    > of education this semester, I found this most beneficial.
    > At my college, we also have international students. I will
    > now go to the administrators who monitor these students and ask
    > about our program and see how is compares and contrasts.
    #### well, that is great! perhaps you can let us know more about your institution and how things are done? If you want to, we could do a telephone or Skype-interview with you where we can compare notes if you think this would be interesting for our listeners.

    > The part I found most interesting was regarding the culture shock
    > component of being an exchange student. It is certainly something
    > that the host university msut be aware to help foreign students
    > with any issues that may arise due to it. You are right in that
    > no matter how prepared you are to be in a foreign country, there
    > will always be that element of surprise.
    #### Yes, I am always happy if our incoming students choose “personal skills”-classes like “intercultural communication” where they will be confronted with theories which may make their experience abroad more meantingful and perhaps sometimes a little less painful when they recognise the different stages they go through during their stays abroad.

    Greetings from the Rhine
    Laurent

  • Dr. Borgman;

    After viewing your piece I wonder how you feel about standardization in the light of the cuturally diverse standards. I am a fan of diversity producing more robust results in the long run, but if education is culturally diverse and then used universally in a global community, can we really say that a college degree, for example, in one culture is the equivalent of that in another culture?

    Jim

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