Hello and welcome to show 221 of our podcast “absolutely intercultural” which is the fourth of series of “Erasmus 30” podcasts to celebrate and highlight the 30th anniversary of the most successful of all student exchange programs. In this episode, our two lecturers will share their exchange experiences and stories about their studies abroad. How did teaching in Germany under the Erasmus mobility program benefit a lecturer’s research activities and his academic life? Then we will listen to a lecturer from RheinahrCampus, he will talk about how he studied abroad two decades ago. Was it more difficult to arrange than an exchange semester today? What were the required documents in the past and now? And finally, we will look at the differences in student lives in different countries.
So it is time for those New year resolutions which we don’t tend to stick to. Maybe we have too many? Maybe we don’t share them with anyone so that makes them easier to break? In this show I am going to be exploring just one idea. Maybe, just maybe, if we stick to one idea then we have a better chance of succeeding. And that one idea is about being a good neighbour. How about it? Worth a try?
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People say that gaining intercultural experiences improves your transferable skills, your ability to adapt to new situations. However, getting in touch with other cultures may also change your personal preferences, conventions and habits. Sometimes this process can even take place unconsciously but it still changes your way of thinking dramatically. So, should we start printing warnings on travel brochures? “Warning: This trip to France could seriously change your view of the world?”
Today the whole show is dedicated to the go-out campaign, of BMBF and DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, which encourages young people to spend a semester abroad. I spoke to students and organisers and asked them how to plan your stay abroad, which skills are needed and what benefits we can expect to get out of it. They told me what reasons motivated them to plan this big step in their careers and but also in their private lives and which intercultural experiences they have made abroad.
Making intercultural experiences abroad is becoming more and more important for our working lives. It is generally agreed that students should pack up, leave everything behind, discover the intercultural world and learn about new cultures at least for one semester. I met a student who has done this more than one time. In our first category we hear how Tobias Pfanner went to Canada and after this experience he also did an exchange semester at our partner university in Australia. Right now he is applying for a scholarship to do his internship in China. But let us listen to how it all began during his first weeks on campus.
absolutely going out
In our next category I spoke with Wolfgang Kreft, from the go-out campaign of the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. He told me how they tour from city to city – from university to university park their mobile stand with information in the middle of the campus they visit and try to convince students to make that big step and study abroad. I must say I am a great fan of the go-out campaign of the DAAD that reaches out to the students where they are – in the middle of their campus and sends out the clear signal that going abroad is not reserved to the best students and certainly not only to the richest students but should be an aim for everybody. On our campus this has inspired many students to find out more about our partner universities and scholarships and to visit the international office to get more information
In our next category, I interviewed David, a student who has made internationalization a priority and has studied and worked in Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Russia, and in Great Britain – no wonder he is strategically planning to join the diplomatic service after his studies.
absolutely german In our last category I did an interview with Dino, who is the student editor of this podcast and who has just come back from his experience abroad. He spent a semester at our partner university in Spain and told me what motivated him to make his own intercultural experiences abroad.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 23 July
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
An intercultural university on a boat, how to deal with re-entry shocks and a great metaphor for culture.
!!! If you had any problems downloading this episode with iTunes or another podcatcher, please try again now. I made a mistake by including the wrong file in the feed, but I’ve fixed the problem. I apologize for the inconvenience and hope, you’ll enjoy the show !!!
Welcome to episode 13, which comes to you in parts from the NAFSA conference in Canada.
Curious things are happening around us and our show and we seem to become rather famous – or should we say infamous?
We had a rather serious research article of no less than 11 pages written about our first show by Fred Dervin from the Department of French Studies at the University of Turku in Finland.
Paul Braddock has developed a lesson plan, also for our first show. This is absolutely amazing! He has taken our show, transcribed it and developed several exercises, including listening comprehension and some games. Paul, thank you so much! We are really honored.
And another amazing thing has happened. Two good friends of us have produced a show for us. Thomas Berger and Theo Schenk both work for the intstitute inter.research in Fulda, and Thomas recently went to the NAFSA conference in Canada, where he recorded several absolutely fantastic interviews with:
Dr. Josef Orlander, captain of the The Scholar Ship, which is an intercultural university aboard a cruiseliner
Alice Wu, an intercultural consultant and teacher at Cornell University, about re-entry shocks, and how to avoid them.
And Charles Hodgson from Podictionary explains how the word “ciao” came into the English language.
We are also trying to answer one of our regular questions: What is culture? So let’s listen to the ideas of Rhiannon and Victor, two students from Canada and the USA who took part in the Hessen Global Summer Internship Program organized by the institute inter.research e.V. and the Universites of Hessen/Germany.
You see, the show is packed with interesting reports, and we really hope you will enjoy listening to it.
And speaking about conferences…Laurent, Thomas and other project partners from Sweden and Spain will be at the EAIE conference in Basel, Switzerland from 12th until 15th of September. So if you happen to be there, then why don’t you join our roundtable session in intercultural preparation of internships abroad at the EAIE on the 15th of September.