Absolutely Intercultural 199 +++ Culture +++ Software of the Mind +++ Updates +++

blog-picture-software Absolutely Intercultural Show 199

Have you ever tried to explain something, and in the middle of it, you figured out that the best option would probably be to compare it to something else?

Hofstede did the same thing with culture and software, showing their similarities in his book “Cultures and Organizations – Software of the Mind“.

The metaphor of culture as the software of the mind works really well when we compare them in terms of installing, uninstalling and updating cultural software, for example.

In this episode, we listen to two interviews about Hofstede’s idea, on how you can easily see his theory present in your daily lives.

Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 199 +++ Culture +++ Software of the Mind +++ Updates +++

Absolutely Intercultural 195 +++ international students +++ internship experience abroad +++ gypsy art +++

Sander WillemsIn today’s podcast we hear about ‘‘International students and their internship experience abroad”. We talk to Sander, a Dutch student who is living in Spain working in a bike tour company and he told us about how to plan, organize and prolong a student internship then we listen to an interview with two gypsy artists Delaine and Damian from Great Britain who are traveling the whole world and exhibiting their art in various places, e.g. at VHS Aachen Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 195 +++ international students +++ internship experience abroad +++ gypsy art +++

SIETAR +++ Third Culture Kid +++ Shelley Morrison +++ Lisa Liang +++ Alien Citizen +++ Absolutely Intercultural 192 +++

Hemispheric_Twilight_-_Valencia,_Spain_-_Jan_2007In May I attended the SIETAR conference in Valencia, Spain and today I’m going to bring you two very different tastes from the conference. SIETAR is the Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research and we will be hearing about third culture kids and how to train people to work well together online. Continue reading SIETAR +++ Third Culture Kid +++ Shelley Morrison +++ Lisa Liang +++ Alien Citizen +++ Absolutely Intercultural 192 +++

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? Continue reading Mongolia +++ Aberdeen +++ Kenya +++ Inside Out +++ Absolutely Intercultural 188 +++

absolutely intercultural 169 +++ intensive programs +++ Izmir +++ Turkey +++ nudity +++ money exchange abroad

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Flags in airport_small
During the past months our international exchange students have experimented with “Citizen Journalism”. They tried it out as a preparation for an intensive program in Izmir, Turkey. This seminar looked at journalism from different perspectives. One of the aims was to develop strategies for working efficiently in intercultural teams with students from several different European countries. In the end the students even created their own “intercultural newspaper” which was presented on the last day. Have you had the opportunity to work in an intercultural team yourself? Including absolute strangers from different cultural backgrounds? Do you think such intensive programs could be helpful for your future career? Improving your intercultural people skills?

absolutely diverse
Last semester, some of our international exchange students created an intercultural blog in order to try their hands at “citizen journalism”- as a preparation for a two weeks Erasmus Intensive Program in Izmir, Turkey. The seminar was about “journalism”. Lecturers and students from five different countries meet in one university, learn and work in international groups and spend their free time together for two weeks. Both, teachers and students have the chance to develop internationally and improve their social skills by working in teams with people from different cultural backgrounds.

absolutely shocked
So the students tried out citizen journalism as a preparation for their joint seminar in Turkey. As a preparation the group produced short audio files which describe their intercultural experiences in a foreign country. They were quite shocked by some conventions in these countries.

absolutely Erasmus
You may be asking yourself how these international seminars can be financed in times where all universities are hit by severe budget cuts. You are right, such complex international projects can be quite expensive. 25 students and lecturers have to travel by airplane and trains to the partner university and once in the foreign country they need accommodation and food, too. The costs for this international experience could be an insurmountable problem for students. In order to lower that hurdle students who are interested in intercultural experiences are supported by funding programs like the European Erasmus Program, which covers a part of the costs. What is your opinion about subsidizing international student excursions with European taxpayer’s money? Is this money really well spent? Matthew, Tehlia, and Lucy are going to give us some reasons why such study trips should be sponsored.

absolutely helpless
Even with the European funding, of course, the participants of the seminar in Turkey also needed to exchange money from Euros to Turkish Liras. In our last category “absolutely helpless” one lecturer shares how something simple like exchanging money can turn into an intercultural learning process, too. Reka, from Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary, shares her trouble in a bank.

Would you like to share with us your own intercultural experience in foreign countries? If so, we would be delighted to hear both positive and negative experiences, so don´t hesitate and share your intercultural experiences with it with us on our Facebook Page.

Our next show will be coming to you on 6 September from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Until then –

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

 

Editor: Younes Jaber

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absolutely intercultural 167 +++ citizen journalism +++ foreign experiences +++ special needs +++ storybud

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Storybud-podcast-image

Our international exchange students from different cultural backgrounds sometimes describe their first cultural experiences in their new surroundings as if they had “intercultural special needs”. They say their experience is as if they were re-learning to walk, or as if their vision was impaired and they needed to navigate very carefully in their new surroundings, for example during their first trip to the supermarket or to the gym. Have you had that experience yourself? That in a foreign culture you suddenly felt as if you could not move normally but it seemed as if you were walking with crutches while everybody else did not have that impediment and seemed perfectly comfortable in the situation?

In this episode we will talk to Judit from Hungary and Thelia from Australia who will share their experiences in Germany which made them feel like they have ‘special needs’.
We will also speak to Paul Halligan, from Ireland, who will tell us about everyday challenges of people who really do have special needs in the medical sense, in this case visually impaired people. Paul tells us how he helps these people.

absolutely foreign
Two international exchange students Judit and Thelia have designed an audio blog in order to try their hands at “citizen journalism”. Citizen journalism is a new kind of reporting which is done by the public, by people like you and me, usually through social media such as Facebook,  Youtube, blogs, etc. Citizen journalism allows us to see what is really happening in the world. Judit’s and Tehlia’s blog examines cultural diversity experiences among their international friends who live abroad. Their slogan is: “Citizen Journalism – giving a Voice to Diversity”. So they collect some intercultural experiences and record them as audio files for their blog.

absolutely special needs
Thelia and Judit mentioned that as foreigners in a new culture somehow they felt like people with special needs. But now we will turn to people who really do have special needs, in the medical sense of the word, in this case people who find it difficult to read from conventional computer screens. Can you imagine how these visually impaired people handle their everyday life – including their computer work? Solving communication challenges which aren’t problematic for sighted people? I interviewed Paul Halligan from Ireland. He is partially sighted and he is going to tell us about one of his everyday challenges as a Daddy with “special needs”: reading bedtime stories to his children…

absolutely intuitive
Visually impaired people struggle with technical and emotional challenges which sighted people cannot even imagine. However, their medical limitations can also lead to a heightened problem-solving ability as in Paul’s case. He told us about his dream which some years ago he put into practice. He created a storytelling website which is made for visually impaired people – but not just for them – everybody can profit from it, also language learners as the special help that Paul offers will also empower them to understand the stories better.

Would you like to share with us your own intercultural experience in foreign countries? If so, we would be delighted to hear both positive and negative experiences, so don´t hesitate and share your intercultural experiences with it with us on our Facebook Page.

Our next show will be coming to you on 5 July from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Editor: Younes Jaber

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absolutely intercultural 166 +++ slavery +++ NoProject +++ HotHouseProductions +++ Clandfield +++ Request Dance Crew

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If you like the podcast then LIKE US ON FACEBOOK HERE! Congratulations to DIANA STROHMAIER  who was our 200th like on Facebook! We hope you like the links we post there periodically.
Ismini-Butcher-1024x720

absolutely YouTube!
See this show on our new YouTube channel to see a wider selection of the art associated with our topic today.

absolutely no excuse
We are devoting the whole show to the topic of modern slavery and why we are all involved in sustaining this evil even though we may consider it to be going on very far away. There’s basically only one strand to today’s show and that is that there is absolutely no excuse. You will be hearing from Judy, who started the NoProject, Lindsay Clandfield about why it’s difficult to get the topic of slavery into course books, from Ismini Black about why she produces art about the slave trade and from Cody Brotter who wrote the two minute awareness raising video, ‘Now You Know‘ for a global audience.

absolutely hiphop
Request Dance Crew

absolutely Amazon
If you buy through our Amazon store you don’t pay any more while we get a little bit of the price which helps to pay our podcast costs. You will find links to our Amazon store on our Facebook page also. If you know of an item which we should add then do let us know. There is a permanent link at the top of this blog page.

The next show will be coming to you from Germany on June 7th with Laurent Borgmann so until then stay tuned!

Links

The NoProject

Now You Know

HotHouse Productions

Request Dance Crew

Dark Side of Chocolate

RSA Animate ‘The Empathic Civilisation’

The host of this show is: Anne Fox 

absolutely intercultural 165 +++ volunteering +++ European Voluntary Service +++ workcamps +++ West and North Africa +++ Southeast Turkey +++ Ramadan

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youth_in_action2

 

What are the pictures that you have in your mind when you think about “volunteer work“? Do you think of people travelling to developing countries and teaching people the right way to do things? Is “volunteerism” the new “colonialism” dressed up in 21st century social responsibility? Or could it be a way for the volunteers to learn some new skills? And, do you even have to go abroad or is it possible to volunteer and learn new things through volunteerism in your own hometown from other cultures? In this episode we will talk to Elena Colunga Caballero and John Kaethler from Brock University in Canada who will demonstrate that volunteering is much more about learning than about teaching.

absolutely reciprocal
Elena is from Spain, where the majority of people are Christians. Through her international volunteer work she has developed an intercultural sensivity and awareness of different traditions and ways of thinking. She tells us how she embarked on this intercultural learning journey thanks to her parents, who encouraged her to get involved in a volunteering project at high school. Later she collaborated in an association called “Kala – Encuentro en la Calle”, located in her city , Córdoba, in the South of Spain whose aim it is to support children and young homeless and unprotected migrants from the Northern and Sub Saharan Africa.  Also, a couple of years ago she was nominated to participate in a workcamp in the region of Kurdistan, in South Eastern Turkey. She is convinced that volunteering is a great recipe for reciprocal learning.

absolutely inexperienced
Some time ago I interviewed John Kaethler from Brock University in Canada who told me that he had volunteered for two years as a development worker in Nigeria and again for two years in Papua New Guinea a long time ago. He points out that the international volunteer workers need to understand that THEY are the ones who are learning a lot and are growing in the process…

absolutely open-minded
In our last category “absolutely open-minded” we will come back to the intercultural learning process triggered by international volunteer work. Elena tells us about a situation during which she learned about the frictions between the Kurdish and Turkish people and how the exposure to this conflict helped her accept the coexistence of different opinions on the same reality. This seems to be the key to intercultural open-mindedness. She also shares her first experience of Ramadan in a region with a majority Muslim population. We also learn that typical international volunteers seem to have some characteristics in common and finally she gives us some advice of how to start a volunteering experience through the European Voluntary Service.

Would you like to share with us your own experience as a volunteer in your own country or abroad? If so, we would be delighted to hear both positive and negative aspects of it, so don´t hesitate and share your intercultural experiences with it with us on our Facebook Page.

If you want even more background as to broader issues behind our intercultural stories in this podcast then you might consider visiting the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon store where we have both classics, basics and specifics for sale, a small proportion of which goes to us to support the costs of maintaining this podcast.

Our next show will be coming to you on 3  May from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

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absolutely intercultural 162 +++ South Africa +++ UniKey +++ Mhadi A Thavha +++ Hlokomela +++

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If you like the podcast then LIKE US ON FACEBOOK HERE!Murals painted in gender equality workshops

The sound we started with was an instrument made by Thomas Kubayi who sculpts, drums and plays music and who gave my daughter a sculpting lesson when my family stayed in the Limpopo region of South Africa last year. It just so happens that I am working with a South African partner in a European project, the Uni-Key project, so I was very excited to meet  Marié-Tinka Uys on her home turf when she showed me round some of the many projects which abound in her region of South Africa which is centred on Hoedspruit just outside the famous Kruger National Gamepark. The UniKey project is about supporting university interns who choose to do their internship in small enterprises rather than the large well-known companies. This means that the interns have a better chance of working with the founder of the company and get a better feel for the entrepreneurial skills needed to run a company. Europe is starting to send interns outside the EU, for example to South Africa, and there are plans for promoting exchanges in the other direction too with South Africans able to do internships in Europe. The UniKey project has developed an online course for the interns to follow and what we needed from our South African partners was some feel for how well our online course would travel outside of Europe. For example when we talk about marketing and partnerships in the UniKey course, is our definition wide enough to encompass the African way of doing things? What about our definition of business even? Marcelle Bosch, a Dutch woman and former aid worker, has her sustainable tourism lodge business, Madi A Thavha where we stayed a few days. Can you make a living employing the former farm workers that gained their livelihood from the land that you just bought? I also spoke to Costas who works for a clinic supported by the farms, which in South Africa, are huge concerns employing thousands of workers who often live on site.  This is very different to farming in Europe which is highly mechanized with very few employees. And while we in Europe depend on a universal health service paid for through taxation, South Africa is facing the HIV and Aids epidemic which affects mainly adults in their prime, so health projects are often centred around the workplace as in the case of the Bavaria farm I visited near Hoedspruit where the clinic is financed partly by the employers and partly by community efforts. We’ll also be hearing a new perspective on how to improve the status of women and how European experts can’t always cope with the differences they meet in the African context. Welcome to Melina, Akos and Omar who are the latest people to like our Facebook page.

absolutely sustainable
So let’s start at Madi a Thavhi by seeing how we can be absolutely sustainable in the Limpopo region of South Africa on a former farm near Louis Trichardt or Makhado as the town is also known. And by the way, why towns have two names in South Africa is a whole other story which we could discuss on the Absolutely Intercultural Facebook page if you want to know more.

absolutely positive
So that was an example of how to look after your employees in a small scale business and now you can hear the sound of my daughter having a go at sculpting wood with renowned local artist, Thomas Kubayi. While I was in South Africa I had the chance to discover that there is a wide range of community organisations working hard with the big employers to provide all sorts of health, education and other benefits for their employees. So this means that instead of local government or public sector provision, there is a much more local and volunteer based-coverage in South Africa. In the Hoedspruit area the two businesses I heard most about were the game lodges and the farms. So my next visit was to a clinic based on a fruit farm which treats mainly HIV and AIDs patients through the Hlokomela project. In speaking with Costas I learned that when you are HIV positive, a key indicator you need to look at are your CD4 levels and I also learned that, at least on this farm, the disease can be managed so that there are reasons to be absolutely positive!

absolutely equal
As I was driven around the projects by Marié-Tinka Uys my eye was drawn to a set of murals painted on the wall of the Bavaria farm showing desirable male behavior such as not drinking and not using physical violence against your wife. When I asked Marié-Tinka about these she gave me a surprising solution about how to affect gender roles.

absolutely tasty
Marié-Tinka also talked about another part of the Hlokomela project which is an organic herb garden which has been started to supply the many game lodges in the Hoedspruit area. As we were talking she mentioned why interns should come alone and gave one example where the foreign expertise just could not cope with the differences experienced in South Africa.

Thanks to everyone who was willing to speak to me in South Africa and especially to Marié-Tinka Uys who introduced me to the wealth of activity going on in her area. She literally opened doors and gave me a peek into so much, which, as a tourist I would never have experienced.  Thanks also to the UniKey project for giving me the opportunity to wonder about how people do business in other parts of the world.  Who knows? This might even be the start of your own African internship adventure?

absolutely Amazon
And if you want even more background as to broader issues behind what people were telling me about in this podcast then you might consider visiting the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon store here where we have both classics, basics and specifics for sale, a small proportion of which goes to us to support the costs of maintaining this podcast.  You don’t pay any more to buy them through our store and every purchase contributes a little to the running costs of the podcast so if you’re thinking of buying, consider using our new store. There is a permanent link at the top of this blog page.

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann on February 1st so stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Editing done with the help of Hindenburg Journalist Pro

absolutely intercultural 157 +++ CSR +++ students view +++ real life projects +++ community work +++ school children +++ elderly people +++

Today I would like to pick up the topic of your last show. We talked about CSR which stands for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. In times of global markets and increased business competition, Small and Medium sized Enterprises must find a way to increase their competitive edge. Therefore they often try to save costs as a result of competitive conditions and market instabilities. However, maybe a cultural change in companies will give them a competitive advantage? Implementing and practicing CSR may lead to increased costs and you may not see the benefits immediately. So why do successful companies go in that direction? Apparently around 50% of American and European SMEs believe that CSR-activities are somewhat effective for their business. SMEs can change their company culture and provide significant benefits by investing in small, efficient projects in society to increase their own visibility in the community. Some companies may do something good for the environment or donate money and others might start working in close cooperation with Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations. This time I would like to approach the topic from a different angle. CSR is becoming more and more important in business life and thus future managers should have a solid knowledge about it. In previous shows I talked to CSR specalists such as lecturers from different European universities and employees of companies which have implemented CSR in their business plans. Our focus was to find out how CSR work changes the culture within the company but also the contacts between a company and its stake holders. Today my focus is on students and what they learn about CSR during their studies of Business Administration. I interviewed students from Hungary, Russia, and Mongolia who dealt with corporate culture and CSR in their last semester at RheinAhrCampus in Germany in one of my courses called “International Business Simulations”.

absolutely young
In our first category  I asked Katalin Perjési from Hungary what she thinks about CSR and what she learnt on the course. She will tell us about a project where the students designed and implemented their own CSR projects for the university. They invited school children to the campus to teach them about respect and diversity in the community. Some said afterwards that they walk past the university every day but had never dreamed of spending a day inside before they reach their A-levels. As these were school children who often get taught in classes with many national backgrounds it was not so surprising, how much they already knew about diversity, respect for different cultures and dealing with other children who do not have the same first language.

absolutely green
I interviewed Nadya Kokareva from Russia. She will tell us about the vague ideas people have about CSR and gives us some examples of how a university could practice CSR. This is not exclusively about institutions “going green”, which means saving the environment. Nadya also took part in the course and participated in another project. This time, the target group were not the children in the community, but the elderly people who live in a nursing home just 800 metres from campus. In spite of the proximity, the students who took part in the project had never visited the home.

absolutely courageous
Oyunbileg is an exchange student from our Turkish partner university in Izmir. However, she is originally from Mongolia and is currently doing her Erasmus semester abroad. In our last category she will talk about her theoretical lectures on stakeholder relationships and relates the theory to the practical CSR projects she was involved in last semester. Finally she gives us an idea of the cultural differences she experienced moving between Mongolia, Turkey and Germany.

Our next show will again be coming to you on 7 of September.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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

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