Grocery shopping is a regular activity in our every-day culture. However, there seem to be different cultural aspects in our weekly shopping. At first, we will listen to Beate and Kati talking about the two opposite but equally strong movements in Germany: have you banned meat from your diet or do you buy big portions for your weekend BBQ? Javier from Spain reports how grocery shopping has changed through the generations in Spain. And finally, we will listen to Professor Scott Henderson from Canada, who talks about how the diverse cultures in Canada influence the choice of produce in supermarkets and how they differ from European supermarktes.
In our first category “absolutely vegetarian“ Beate and Kati will talk about how in Germany the mainstream has gone from markets to supermarkets and Kati suggests that we are also at a curious turning point right now. There are more and more determined vegetarians but also there is an equally strong-minded counter-movement of determined BBQers and meat eaters.
In the second category “absolutely communicative“, Javier Chapa Madrid from Spain will talk about the differences between the market culture among the elder generation and the supermarket culture among the younger generation in Spain. In Spain, the cashier usually takes some time to have a chat with the regular customers.
In our final category “absolutely fake” our guest Professor Scott Henderson, from Brock University talks about his grocery shopping experience in Canada. He was very surprised by the differences he noticed in different countries such as Germany, Canada, and England during his travels. He is a little suspicious about fashionable “farmers markets.
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Our next show will also be coming to you from Laurence Borgmann in Germany on 3 August.
Our show is getting more and more international. My English co-host Anne Fox has been doing her shows from Denmark where she lives with her family, our half-German half Italian and half Swiss editor Dino Nogarole is currently doing his semester abroad in León and so is editing the sound files from Spain – and I am still in Queensland, Australia where I am teaching and doing some research for one semester. However, thanks to the new media – email, virtual drives, and digital platforms – such international cooperation is feasible which means that we can bring fresh, new and I hope interesting reports from around the world directly into your ears. Our interviewees today are from Spain, Canada, and from Hungary.
Some people who listened to my absolutely down-under reports asked me whether, apart from a “Tropical Christmas by the Pool” or a “National Australia Day” which I described both in previous shows – a very normal, regular day in Australia would also be different for a European. So, I followed myself with the microphone one morning and recorded my intercultural impressions from getting up at 7 o’ clock until I arrived at the University of the Sunshine Coast at 9. You will notice from my comments how much I like it here – except for the first minutes after waking up – I admit, I am not a morning person.
In our second category we go to an unusual language classroom in Canada where the Chinese teacher encourages the students to interrupt the teaching if they are thirsty. In different cultures some gestures mean different things. Symbols are not universal. But what do you do when a good friend from abroad uses a gesture that offends you? Do you choose to ignore it and pretend nothing happened? Or do you talk to your friend and explain that the gesture is not acceptable in your culture? Listen to what John Kaethler from Brock University in Kanada did, maybe we can learn some general strategies about how to react constructively to these intercultural incidents.
Have you ever needed to construct an image of yourself, because otherwise people won’t take you seriously? When you start a new job or move to another city you could plan to try out something new. So, quite some time ago we asked Marlen from Spain and Anita from Hungary how they have worked on their personal image projection when they first started their new jobs, teaching at a university.Marlén describes how she wanted to prove to the students that she was the teacher and perhaps went a little over the top to the point that one of her students was frightened.
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Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 05.03.
To be honest it feels strange to celebrate Christmas in the summer heat here at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Back home normally we have temperatures below zero degrees Celsius and often a bit of snow, but this year I have done my Christmas shopping in shops where air conditioning from morning to evening is absolutely essential even if from the loudspeakers we are all listening to “Winter Wonderland” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”. And while the students at USC tell us about the typical Australian Christmas with seafood barbecue, salad and drinks by the swimming pool, of course different national groups also keep up their own traditions in Australia and Cassie told us about a Nigerian Christmas party with wonderful African food where Father Christmas is impersonated by a black Nigerian, which seems a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to be reminded of cultural diversity.
In our second category we see what Canadian students can learn from ordinary Africans if they have the right attitude to learning and to their guest country. I asked John Kaethler, a colleague from Brock University in Canada why he takes students out of their regular surroundings and organizes intercultural excursions to Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. It seems to make absolute sense that if students approach a foreign country with humility and the wish to learn they will probably get more learning out of their intercultural experience than if they followed a seminar about that country.
So we understand that intercultural learning could be initiated by lecturers at the home university, it could be triggered by contact with people in the country that is visited but our last guest on the show stresses that the ultimate responsibility is on us, the learners and travelers and that the experience should always be accompanied by thorough reflection. In our last category Ariane Curdy explains that we need to understand our own values and backgrounds in order to be open to learn from the others.
This was the last show for the year 2009, I hope you’ll enjoy the festive season, be it in the cold or in the heat! The team of “absolutely intercultural” wishes you all the best for the year 2010. And don’t miss our next show, believe it or not this will be show No 100, and will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 8th January 2010