Tag Archive for 'absolutely intercultural'

IATEFL +++ Manchester +++ Pakistan +++ Nepal +++ Bangladesh +++ Afghanistan +++ Zimbabwe +++ Cameroon +++ Absolutely Intercultural 190 +++

web-banner-2015-url-hashtag-330x250In this show I will be taking you to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. For example why do people learn English in Pakistan? And what do you think the best way of delivering training would be to the semi-literate migrant workers of Bangladesh? This show includes snippets of recordings made at the IATEFL conference in Manchester last month.
IATEFL stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and it is the word International which attracts people from all over the world. The conference is quite large but of course not everyone can afford the time and money to attend. So it’s really great that there is now a very professional service during each annual conference, streaming sessions and interviews online. If you are curious to see more then go to https://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2015 where you can watch for free all the recordings that were made right up until the next conference in April 2016.
IATEFL is for teachers of English but intercultural matters often emerge because you have foreign teachers working far away from home, you have the question of whether it is right for the English language to dominate globally as it does right now and you also have questions about how far teacher training dreamed up in the West can be translated to other contexts, to name just a few of the issues which regularly come up at the IATEFL conference.

absolutely fresh-faced
Umesh Shrestha talks about what Nepalese teachers expect their teacher trainers to look like. While Umesh is Nepalese, he works for the British Council and he often meets resistance … though maybe not for the reason you think:

absolutely mobile
There was a great deal about using mobile devices to learn English at IATEFL and perhaps unexpectedly this is also relevant to countries such as Pakistan where dumb (as against SMART) phone ownership is much higher than internet accessibility. We heard at the start of the show Bilal Ahmad talking about the direct financial effect of learning English so let’s now hear how Pakistanis are using their radio and their mobile phones to learn English as we go absolutely mobile:

We also heard about mobile learning for not just English but also intercultural communication from Mike Solly of Britain’s Open University who is hoping to build a collection of video content to view on your mobile phone for the migrant workers of Bangladesh. In this case video content helps train a target group that is often semi-literate.

absolutely military
Tarek Walizada explains why army officers in Afghanistan spend 15% of their officer training on English.

absolutely bottom-up
For our next two slots we’ll be moving to Africa to hear from two of the most inspirational speakers of the IATEFL conference. If you have the time to watch these two plenaries on the IATEFL website I really think you will find it worthwhile. Common to both was an absolutely bottom up approach to change. The first plenary speaker was Ann Cotton who discovered that there was not a systematic bias against girls in Zimbabwe. If you move on to the plenary recording you will find out that Cotton set up an organisation called CamFed which not only gives girls an education but helps them in the many other ways they need in order to set up an independent and useful life for themselves. This is a wonderful example of a bottom up initiative where Cotton helps by listening to those in need.

The next extract features Harry Kuchah Kuchah from Cameroon who learned how to teach classes of 250 students by enlisting their help. I must admit that this was not what I was expecting to hear with my head filled with stereotypes of authoritarian African teachers! Watch the full plenary here.

In the next show I produce at the beginning of July we’ll be hearing from Atiyyeh Al-Habal who links up his students in a very rural school of Palestine,Kharbatha Al-Mesbah, west of Ramallah, with classes all over the world and in fact he’s looking for more partner schools so if you are interested then mail him at honoredboy@hotmail.com

Thanks to IATEFL for allowing me to use the recordings.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and stay tuned!

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on June 5th so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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Absolutely Intercultural 189 +++ Brazil +++ Argentina +++ Finland +++ Germany +++

Photo by Laurent BorgmannToday we will focus on studying abroad and we will listen to students from France and Finland who are spending some time abroad in Brazil, Argentina and Germany.

absolutely unforgettable

Brazil is a dream destination for most of us because of the weather, the Carnival de Bahia, the music, and above all the very friendly people. However, it does not have the reputation as one of the safest places and unfortunately, we hear some first-hand experience as Thomas shares with us his traumatic experience of being robbed in the street. The students talk about how they managed to accomplish studying abroad, differences between the cultures, including eating times and what they miss most about home.

absolutely abroad

 

Laura McGuire, our editor grabbed the microphone herself and had a chat with Thomas Eade about differences between student life in Finland and Germany. Thomas talks about how he arrived in Germany, what he hopes to get out of the experience and the challenges a non-German speaker faces.

absolutely immersed

 

We go back to Brazil with Thomas and Quentin to hear what it is like to study in a foreign language. They also give us their reasons to add Brazil and Argentina to our bucket list.

Well I’ve already visited Brazil and can agree with Thomas, it is very a sunny place, especially in February. However, I will have to add backpacking through the beautiful landscapes of Argentina to my bucket list as Quentin suggested.

 

And please do not forget to visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editor: Laura McGuire

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Mongolia +++ Aberdeen +++ Kenya +++ Inside Out +++ Absolutely Intercultural 188 +++

IMG_0116In this show we are going to go to Mongolia, to Kenya and to Aberdeen. There IS an over-arching theme but I wonder if you can guess what it is?

absolutely late
At the high school in Grenaa students there have the chance to go on an exchange trip to Kenya. Last year our family hosted a student from Nairobi and in January it was my daughter’s turn to go to Kenya. Let’s be absolutely late and hear Mia Fox and her friend Karoline Fogh talk about the trip. In fact there is much more to tell about this trip which I might feature in a future show.
Don’t forget that if you have any comments or ideas for future shows you can always contact us through this website or through our Facebook page.

absolutely Aberdeen
We’ve heard a great deal about being an exchange student over the years on this podcast. Today we’re going to talk to students who have travelled abroad for the whole of their degree. What were they expecting? Let’s go absolutely Aberdeen and hear from Amalie and Gwen from Denmark, and Josephine and Saga from Sweden who all met after starting a degree course in Aberdeen, Scotland.

absolutely Mongolian
Now we’ll hear from a scientist who went to do some fieldwork in Mongolia. Tony Fox had never been to Mongolia before and was working there in an international team including US, Chinese, Mongolian, Russian and Korean scientists last July. What was the most noticeable thing about the landscape? Next I could not resist asking about the Mongolian round tents known as yurts or gers. Are they really still commonly used?

absolutely Inside Out
Back at the school in Grenaa, Denmark, I talked to Karoline and Mia about an international art project their class is involved with. So if you have a group of people who want to participate in the  Inside Out project then just go over to the website and have a go.

The over-arching theme? Well, the link was that every one of those segments involved one of my immediate family! Sort of Fox News?

So, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and stay tuned!

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on April 3rd so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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Absolutely Intercultural 187 +++ Cultural Comparison +++ Learning German +++ Australian Culture

Maybe you will notice that we have a new editor on the show. Laura has left the Sunshine Coast, Australia, to come and take on a year here at RheinAhrCampus in Germany. We all think she is crazy to give up all that beautiful sunshine but are so happy to have her on our team. Thanks a lot to Younes Jaber who has helped us produce so many good shows in the past and is now about to finish his studies.

absolutely surprised

As a German I have had many snow-filled days in my life and, to be honest, I dread the complications for public transport or for my evening bicycle rides when the snow freezes over. However, for an Australian, snow is not a part of Laura’s normal routine and you can tell that she is much more excited about it. It is difficult to imagine that she is unfamiliar with the mundane things we do in snowy weather, such as melting snow on pavements with salt, or at least spreading sand on it to make walking safer.

absolutely unknown

Laura had a chat with Franziska about differences between life in Germany and life in Australia and of course we hear something about the typical Aussie BBQ, gorgeous weather, but also a shark attack.

absolutely challenged

We discover what it is like for Laura and Yonatan to learn German in the country. Yonatan is originally from Eritrea but studied at our partner University Yasar in Izmir, Turkey. We hear about exciting situations that the two find themselves in when faced with a language they do not know.

Learning a new language is obviously a very new topic for Laura and the process seems to pose interesting challenges for her and Yonatan. We can only wish them all the best and I hope they continue to enjoy these ambiguous situations they described and keep practicing.

 

And please do not forget to visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editor:  Laura McGuire

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Stereotypes +++ Dubuque +++ Yartey +++ Ideal Global Life Summit +++ Absolutely Intercultural 186

1622414_10203754713767118_2814680752038057489_oHappy New Year! Welcome to the first Absolutely Intercultural show of 2015 brought to you by Anne Fox in Denmark.

absolutely global
W
e start by going absolutely global as the Living Your Ideal Global Life Summit, which ran for the first time last January, is about to happen again. I will let Sabrina Ziegler one of the main organisers, tell us what we can expect this year. Don’t forget that it is free to participate, you can sign up at the website  and the dates are from 26 to 30 January. If we’re lucky we may be bringing you a few highlights from the summit in a future show.

absolutely stereotypical
This show is a little different as most of it is given over to a discussion I had with a group of students from the University of Dubuque in Iowa on the topic of stereotypes. Their teacher, Franklin Yartey contacted us and we arranged to meet via Skype. We had just run a two week series of links about stereotypes on our Facebook page so many of the issues were fresh in my mind and it was great to have all these different perspectives. Let’s go absolutely stereotypical and eavesdrop on a discussion I had with Franklin Yartey’s class on the topic of stereotypes. Just a bit of harmless fun or can stereotypical thinking really affect the course of people’s lives? I started by asking if anybody in the class had ever been stereotyped. Skype. Thanks to Nicholas Dolson, Austin Healey, Sydney Temperly, Cody J. Shipp, Rika Thibodeaux, Guillermo Garcia, Chris Gansen, Adrian Collier, Brittany Chenelia, Bekka Jacobs and all the other members of the class. Thanks to Franklin Yartey who started the whole thing off and who helped out with a great deal of technical support.

See below for a very eloquent and passionate overview of the issue.

So, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and stay tuned!

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on February 6th so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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Absolutely Intercultural 185 +++ Christmas Traditions +++ New Year’s Resolutions +++ Intercultural Christmas

Christmas-at-the-beach_01December – in the north of Europe this means Christmas trees, mulled wine, lots of snow and if you are lucky you may spot the odd reindeer. In our show today I asked how my guests celebrate Christmas in Australia, England, Germany, Singapore and Eritrea but also how people formulate their New Year’s resolutions in different cultures.

Christmas celebrations differ around the globe but typically involve gatherings of family and friends and indulging in rich and glorious food and drink. When talking about Christmas, everyone seems to have their own ideal view of what “Christmas” should be all about, which, however, varies greatly from country to country. For me, as a child, Christmas meant spending the holy evening with my family, singing traditional, often gloomy German Christmas songs, remembering previous Christmases and excitedly anticipating the moment where I get to un-wrap my gifts. For the last 25 years, I have been abroad in different countries for that period of year, experiencing different intercultural traditions. I have been fortunate enough to meet people from all around the world and hear about how they spend their festive night.

absolutely festive

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Laura from Australia, Anna from England, Rashimah from Singapore and Yonatan from Eritrea and hear about their Christmas traditions. First up I asked Yonatan whether or not everyone celebrates Christmas in his African home country.

absolutely resolved

It’s not just Christmas, New Year’s is also just around the corner. Typically, at this time of year, it means formulating a New Year’s resolution to leave our bad habits behind. Generally this means setting some unrealistic ambitions, such as for a chain-smoker to quit smoking or for me to lose 5 kilos of weight. Of course resolutions differ from country to country and from culture to culture. I asked Beatrice from Germany if she has any new year’s resolutions for the coming year.

absolutely different

We already heard about various Christmas traditions from different cultural backgrounds and now we go further in depth and hear about what preparations are involved for the joyful meals. I ask Rashimah if eating at a restaurant would be on the cards for her Christmas night in Singapore or is Christmas celebrated strictly at the family house.

For over 25 years my wife and I have been away from German Christmas and traveled to warmer climates; however, wherever you go the festive season seems to catch up with us in some way. Myself and everyone from the absolutely intercultural team wish you a very merry Christmas and as we would say in Germany “Einen guten Rutsch in’s neue Jahr”, meaning “A joyful slide into the New Year”.

And please do not forget to visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editors: Younes Jaber & Laura McGuire

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Scotland +++ referendum +++ Ewan McIntosh +++ Absolutely Intercultural 184 +++

8577971814_0e4aa90744_zYes it may be cliché Scottish music, but Amazing Grace is the only bagpipe music that I could find with a Creative Commons licence, and I did like a bit of bagpipe music when I lived in Scotland a long time ago. A couple of months ago I was on a trip to Scotland where all the talk was about the Scottish referendum so I thought I would talk to a few people about it, but would they talk to me?

We had a phenomenal response to our stereotype fortnight on the Facebook page. Thank you to all those of you who liked us and thanks especially to Henrik who was our 400th liker. And yes it really is complete coincidence that Henrik is based in Denmark!

Coming up in mid-November we’ll have a polychronic and monochromic fortnight – Poly what? It’s all about your perception of time and how you use it and if you’re not sure what that is all about and how it relates to intercultural communication then head on over to our Facebook site from November 17th.

So back to Scotland. It’s rare that a new country is born peacefully. I can think of the division of Czeckoslovakia in my lifetime and very few other examples. But when the Scottish National Party won a landslide victory in the devolved Scottish parliament in 2011, they had a mandate to run a referendum of whether the people of Scotland wanted Scotland to become independent and so on September 18th the vote was held. In case you don’t know the result I’ll let you know at the end! But while we were in Scotland there was no getting away from the referendum with posters everywhere and people trying to sway you on the street corners and in private homes the topic came up pretty much wherever we went.

absolutely new
One of the most noticeable aspects of the referendum was who was allowed to vote. So let’s start with absolutely new to Scotland, the whole reason I was in Scotland, my daughter, Gwen Fox, who was moving there to start her studies at Aberdeen University.

absolutely young
And next we’ll talk to Huw Mitchell who at 17 has the vote.

absolutely no doubt
One man who was in absolutely no doubt is Ewan McIntosh, as he explained to a group of Norwegian High School students that had contacted him as part of their studies of European politics.

We heard more about this question of voting with your head or your heart from Ian Frances who works in Aberdeen.

And finally I talked to Huw’s mother, Philippa about why she was keeping absolutely quiet about her views.

Is a country the same as a culture? Does Scotland have a culture so different that it should be separate from the rest of Britain? Do nation states even matter any more? I’m afraid we haven’t touched on any of those questions but there was a very interesting article about how fragile the idea of a nation state is in the New Scientist (summary only)  recently.
Thanks to Gwen Fox, Huw Mitchell, Philippa Mitchell, Ian Francis and Ewan McIntosh for contributing to the show. ….
Oh the result? In the end it was tight but the No’s won, so Scotland remains a part of the United Kingdom.

So, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and stay tuned! We’ll play you out with medieval music,  by German band Strang, playing Dance Dame Jolie.

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on December 5th so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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Picture credit: Scottish Government

Absolutely Intercultural 183 +++ Internship Abroad +++ Intercultural Preparation +++ tourist-industry +++ First Impressions In Germany +++ Australian +++

 Vladimir on his bike tourIsn’t it great to experience new cultures by travelling to different parts of the world? Four weeks ago I spent my holiday in Andalucía, in Spain. I have wanted to go there for a long time: Granada, Cordoba, Sevilla – the place names have always sounded attractive to me.
On the first day my wife and I took part in a guided bicycle tour in Malaga – and by chance – we met Nils Langer. He told me that in the framework of his studies at the university he is completing a tourism internship in a Spanish bicycle shop
Quite a number of my students take on internships abroad in order to gain intercultural awareness and to improve their language- and transferable skills. They are culturally immersed in their host country much more than during a regular holiday. Working as an intern abroad provides them with insights into foreign work environments and working styles. Afterwards they benefit from the new international contacts they made during their internships abroad.

absolutely prepared
On my holiday in Spain, I took part in a guided bicycle tour in Malaga. I was rather surprised when I found out that our very competent young guide; Nils Langer was a German student from Lippstadt – doing his internship in a shop which offers guided tours for tourists in a variety of languages. First I asked him what his main tasks during his internship were and if he recognized any improvement of his intercultural skills.

absolutely dressed up
Sandra Elsom – an Australian guest lecturer at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen, – recognized a great number of intercultural differences right when she came to Europe. She even noticed that Germans are physically different from Australians and it made her a bit uncomfortable. Would that mean that size matters after all?

absolutely extraordinary
I interviewed Vladimir Jescht the native Russian owner of Bike2Malaga, The Guided Tours& Bike Rental Shop right by the sea. In the brochure Vladimir calls himself the “bike adventure specialist”. He does not only offer bicycles for rent but also – as we heard from Nils – offers international tours for tourists. I asked him to explain the concept.

And please do not forget to visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editor: Younes Jaber

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Jerusalem +++ Diversity Icebreaker +++ Svetlana Kurilova +++ Absolutely Intercultural 182 +++

Diversity Icebreaker badges In today’s show we will be going to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel twice, first with Mitch Weegman who was collaborating with leading edge researchers there for a two week research visit. We’ll be hearing about how just walking through Jerusalem takes you on an intercultural journey and then we’ll be hearing from Bjørn Zakarius Ekelund in Norway who was wondering if his team building tool, the Diversity Icebreaker, could help build bridges between Israelis and Palestinians.  And finally thanks to Svetlana Kurilova who contacted us through our Facebook page to tell us about her travels through Europe with a Spanish friend.

So you can contact us through our Facebook page like Svetlana did or through this blog where you can also leave comments. Thank you to Evelyn Sears in Australia who alerted us to a problem with the commenting. That is now fixed thanks to Thomas Jöckel of Toolstage in Germany. Thomas has also made our podcast accessible through mobile devices so you should now be able to hear us on any mobile device too.

It’s nice to hear from old friends of the podcast and one such is Shai Reshef who started the University of the People where you can get a degree online with free tuition. Hear him in shows 94 and 134 where you can follow how his idea was born. Shai contacted us to tell us about the TED talk he gave in Vancouver recently so I will also embed the video on our Facebook page soon.

absolutely cutting edge
So on with the show where we talk first with Mitch Weegman, an American PhD student who went for a 2 week visit to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

absolutely icebreaking
Last May I was fortunate enough to meet Bjørn Ekelund, a Norwegian, who has developed a great tool that gets people working together, the Diversity Icebreaker. After a while, Bjørn began to wonder if the tool could be used, not just in business situations but also in conflict situations so that brings us back to Israel and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem once again.

absolutely together
And finally, it’s great when we get to know our listeners a little better so I was very happy to talk with Svetlana Kurilova who caught up with us on our Facebook page to tell us about her travels across 12 European countries over the last 8 years with a Spanish friend. Let’s hear more about the new perspectives you get when you are absolutely together:

So don’t forget to keep liking us on Facebook or you can leave a comment on our blog here.

I’ll leave you with this thought. Did you know that it is Intercultural Dialogue Day on September 25th Are you doing anything special for that day? If so let us know. Who knows, you may end up on a future show!

Comment on our Absolutely Intercultural Facebook page .

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on October 3rd so until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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Absolutely Intercultural 181 +++ Germany +++ German Habits +++ Intercultural Experiences In Germany +++ Language Barrier +++ Students Blog +++

Ha World CupAre YOU interested in soccer? Did you follow the FIFA World Cup which ended a couple of weeks ago?
When you look at it – it is probably the biggest intercultural event in the world where people from all continents come together to enjoy sport. Some countries stood out more than others, above all Brazil which hosted the games and we learned a lot more about Brazilian geography and culture. But Germany also stood out, because they won the cup.
So now, many people are thinking about doing a trip to Germany. As a consequence, we, the team of Absolutely Intercultural have decided to give our listeners an intercultural inside view into some parts of the German culture in the hope of reducing some stereotypes which you may have heard.

absolutely legal
I interviewed Matt Schroeder an American from South Carolina of German decent.
He spent one month at RheinAhrCampus in Germany and is going to share some personal experiences he made during his stay.
He noticed several cultural differences – even the laws on campus seem to be different.

 absolutely exotic
I interviewed Gia from Vietnam, Kristina from Lithuania and Christian from Germany.
They share some very interesting first-hand intercultural experiences with us.
But first of all I asked them if they have had difficulties approaching people and making friends in Germany

absolutely informed
If you are thinking about studying in Germany for a semester or two and you want to get an idea of what it is like you had better listen to Adelheid Korpp. She is going to tell us about a Blog which is managed by the international students themselves – with the aim of sharing their intercultural experiences with future international students.

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editor: Younes Jaber

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