Palestine +++ EAST Project +++ Glasgow +++ Gaza +++ refugees in Denmark +++ Absolutely Intercultural 207 +++


light-bulb-1407610_1280The theme of this show is Palestine from two very different perspectives. We’ll be talking about the challenges faced by a stateless Palestinian, Nizar, who, while already a refugee in Syria, was forced to flee the war and ended up once again as a refugee in Denmark. We’ll also be hearing about a joint project called EAST which involved the University of Glasgow in Scotland and the University of Gaza in Palestine.
Continue reading Palestine +++ EAST Project +++ Glasgow +++ Gaza +++ refugees in Denmark +++ Absolutely Intercultural 207 +++

Absolutely Intercultural 201 +++ power of language+++ biculturalism+++ life coach+++


In today’s podcast we focus on people who speak more than one language and on how these languages have an impact on our daily lives and even on our thinking. We will hear Issa Assaf from Jordan who tells us how he learned first Arabic, then English and now German and which new worlds these languages have opened up for him. Issa tells us stories and mentions some books which could potentially change your life, so – beware! Also we will listen to Thomas, who grew up with an Austrian mother and an English father. Is there really an advantage in growing up in a bilingual environment?

Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 201 +++ power of language+++ biculturalism+++ life coach+++

10 years! +++ Lithuania +++ Lebanon +++ Absolutely Intercultural 200 +++

 


We stacandles-588658_1280rted in 2006 exactly ten years ago. We started in March 2006 and this… is our 200th show.
Along the way we have collected a few awards such as the Edublog award for best educational podcast in 2006 and the European Podcast Award for Denmark in the non-profit category in 2010.

So how to celebrate?

We thought it might be fun to get in touch with some of the people from our first year.

Continue reading 10 years! +++ Lithuania +++ Lebanon +++ Absolutely Intercultural 200 +++

neighbours +++ Social Learning +++ GROOC +++ McGill University +++ Absolutely Intercultural 198 +++

neighboursSo 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?

Continue reading neighbours +++ Social Learning +++ GROOC +++ McGill University +++ Absolutely Intercultural 198 +++

absolutely intercultural 151 +++ Australia Day 2012 +++ multilingualism +++ patriotic celebrations +++ BBQs and Barbies +++

Laurent hugging a Koala

absolutely down-under
Like my last show, episode 151 also comes to you from Australia. You can listen to how I get woken up by exotic birds outside my bedroom window every morning because  I thought I should record my introduction at this time of the day to share this experience with you because this has become my regular Australian alarm clock. As I live just metres from the national park I assumed they must have some kind of noisy monkeys in that park but then I discovered, it was birds, such as cockatoos, kookaburras, and some very colourful small parrots that I cannot identify. After a month in the country I finally manage to sleep through this incredible noise, and if I didn’t, I would have to get up at 4:30 every morning when this dubious concert starts. This week my class and tutorial at the University of the Sunshine Coast will not take place because of Australia Day 2012, a national public holiday. So I started asking people what this national day is all about and I received many, but sometimes contradictory answers because while this day is meant to promote and celebrate national unity it seems that every year it is accompanied by the criticism that instead of promoting multiculturalism this day commemorates the 26 January 1788 the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove where English settlers put up their flag. So opponents tend to call it “Invasion Day” and propose to change the national public holiday to another date. Let me share with you what some Australians told me about Australia Day. (If you want to find out more about Australian Identity you may want to revisit Anne’s show 76 on “mateship” and if you want to check out what my own life in Australia sounds like, check out my own last show 149.

absolutely diverse
I would like to introduce you to my neighbours here in Australia. Simone and Leonardo from Switzerland. Their background is so multicultural that it would perhaps be difficult for them to be nationalistic. I got interested when I noticed that mother and son were using several different languages even between them during an ordinary day.
Believe me I was very confused I when I saw Simone and Leonardo for the first time. From where I was sitting I thought I could distinctly hear about five or six people talking in three different languages but when I looked up I could see only two and had to realize that these two were actually using all three languages between them.

absolutely nationalistic
Australia Day is an opportunity to celebrate what is best about Australia including vegimite, BBQs, and cricket but some people are also critical of the fact that the image which is projected on this day is a very “white perspective” where the indigenous people do not really play an important role. I took my microphone into the classrooms to find out what it means to be Australian and what the day actually celebrates. Let us first listen to Mark from England and Meredith and Josh who are Australians. I also asked three international students what they knew about Australia Day and whether they could draw parallels to national or patriotic celebrations and movements in their own countries. I talked to Daniel from Sweden, Martin from the Netherlands and Clement from France.

absolutely barbie
My mate Len shares with me the secrets of the most Australian of all institutions which no Australia Day can do without. The BBQ or the “Barbie”. I had never thought about the unifying factors of this very male-dominated cooking experience. It is true that every house I have seen so far had a fixed BBQ and there are even public BBQ places in every scenic spot on the coast so that families can have an outdoor experience and bring their own food and drink.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 2 March

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
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absolutely intercultural 149 +++ Queen and Obama in Australia +++ Day in the life of Laurence +++ Master in International Marketing +++ EXlites solar lighting +++ stereotypes French-German +++

kangaroo road sign near to the University of the Sunshine Coast (photo L.Borgmann)Hello Mates and G’day, this is show 149 of our podcast absolutely intercultural. And it is coming to you all the way from down-under, Queensland, Australia where I am teaching and doing some research for one semester. Two months ago, in October 2011, the Queen of England visited Australia. Only a month later, in November by the President of the United States came to Australia, too. And now, in December I started my summer term as a visiting academic at the University of the Sunshine coast (LOL). So who am I? My name is Elmar-Laurent Borgmann and after all these important state visits which were widely reported about in the Australian media I would today prefer to concentrate on more mundane,  everyday aspects of life in Australia as experienced by a European. And yet, I hope we will be able to surprise you with some stimulating intercultural findings. Our interviewees today are from France, from Germany, and of course from Australia.

absolutely down-under
Let us look at an ordinary day in Australia. Some people back in Europe listened to my absolutely down-under reports during my last stay in Australia. They had heard about a “Tropical Christmas by the Pool”  or a “National Australia Day” which I described both in previous shows and learned a lot about intercultural differences.  However, some of them asked me to concentrate more on a the normal, regular, everyday life in Queensland. And they are right – we do expect holidays and celebrations to be different in different countries – but how about a regular university day? Hmm, what a challenge. I had thought this was too boring to record but maybe not? So, I followed myself with the microphone and recorded my intercultural impressions one morning 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 this part of the world – except for the first minutes after waking up – I admit, I am not a morning person. In the podcast you catch me waking up with my windows wide open to the tropical forest. In a second part later in the show I continue my intercultural report about a regular Australian morning going to work on the Sunshine Coast in my car. I would like to share some thoughts about beautiful landscapes but also of rather masculine-looking cars and trucks in this country before I arrive at the University of the Sunshine Coast where finally I see some wild kangaroos, not on a road sign but in real life and much closer than I expected …

absolutely business-like
I will also take you into the university, where international students from Europe will describe how in their International Marketing Class they did some work for an Australian Business. The round-table discussion was recorde after an exam situation a couple of weeks ago right at the start of the summer semester 2011/2012. To me summer 2011/2012 still sounds rather weird as in Europe only winter semesters could span two calendar years. So this is just another reminder that we are in the southern hemisphere. But back to the classroom. I was invited to sit in on the exams of students on the Master of International Business program. Apart from myself as external examiner, there was of course Dr. Leone Cameron, the regular lecturer but also, Mike Arieni, Managing Director of EXlites, a regional business for whom the group of international students had done some research about solar Energy in Europe. I asked the group how this combination of international students, an interculturally trained lecturer and a local business person enhanced their academic progress. Leone’s Master course the students had the chance to get in touch with a real business man and help him prepare his business plan for entering the European Market. Just like Mike, I, too, was impressed by the depth of the students’ research and I had a feeling that Mike took very good notice of the opportunities and challenges that the students presented for the different European countries. In a second part we will also hear from Waldemar Schneider and Clément Slastan about some of the stereotypes the international students confirmed when they lived together in shared apartments. Clément seems to have noticed a certain “lack of flexibility” in the Germans.

Once you have heard the show, please go to our “write us an email“-button in the right margin and tell us whether you liked these slightly unusual intimate insights into my own life down-under and whether you would like to get more such personal reports.

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

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

absolutely intercultural 148 +++ Languages +++ Acadie +++ French +++ Yoruba +++ Michot +++ Benin +++ Baloubi +++


USA Photo Text Graphics
Myspace Layouts

In this show we’ll be looking mostly at languages in the US and how that helps or hinders intercultural understanding.

absolutely Francophone
We’ll start with Louis Michot, one of the prime movers behind the Cajun Punk band the Lost Bayou Ramblers. In show 144 we heard about their music and what it meant to the band members as well as its cultural roots. Another topic that we talked a great deal about was the status of the French language in Louisiana. I made a trip to Louisiana many years ago and I have to say that the language was not really evident but when I talked to Louis I discovered that this was because it was mostly hidden. So the question is why would anyone in Louisiana want to hide the fact that they can speak French? And do people in Louisiana still learn French? Is it absolutely francophone?

absolutely informed
So there’s a lot of sensitive history behind the survival of the French language in that part of the United States. Then a few weeks ago, my eyes and ears in Florida, Kole Odutola alerted me to a Communiqué sent out by the Southeast African Languages and Literatures Forum on October 2nd, which read:
We, the members of Southeast African Languages and Literatures Forum (SEALLF) at the second annual conference of the forum held at the Chapel Hill Campus of the University of North Carolina, acknowledge that in view of the internationalization of the curriculum at many American colleges and universities, there is the need to increase the number of American undergraduate and graduate students engaged in the study of critical languages of Africa.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks many US universities beefed up their foreign language requirements in recognition of the fact that to understand another culture it helps greatly if you know a bit of the language. So here was a Communiqué suggesting that the foreign language requirement should more often lead to the learning of an African language such as Yoruba. But why? To find out more I spoke to Dr Désiré Baloubi of Shaw University in North Carolina, the Chair of the Forum behind the Communiqué. And during the course of our conversation I also learned a new acronym, HBCU, which stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. So why does an English teacher start a campaign to promote the learning of African languages?

absolutely illegal
The issue of language just doesn’t go away and after finding out how and why Louis Michot learned French, I spoke to his father Tommy Michot to find out more about attitudes to the French language in the recent past and discovered that at one point it was absolutely illegal! We’ll start by hearing as Tommy Michot sings in French a snippet of  La Valse de la Meche Perdue with his band Les Frères Michot.

Thanks to all those who took part and remember that if you’ve got a good idea for a show then get in touch and we’ll see if we can include it. We’re always on the look out for interesting people and ideas. Don’t forget to take a look at our webiste if you want to follow up on some of the people or issues we’ve looked at in this show. You’re welcome to leave us a comment about what you thought, a question or a suggestion.

Thanks for your support which got us all the way to a European Podcast Award last year. The nominations are open for this year’s competition and as part of the PR around the award I was interviewed about this podcast and what it meant to win the award. You’ll find a link to that podcast here.

Well it’s been a busy few weeks in which amongst other things I took part in the Managing Cultural Diversity seminar held every year at the Rhein Ahr campus. And this year there are pictures so here is a link to the Facebook Album. And as if this wasn’t enough, my co-host Laurent Borgmann is once again leaving for Australia for a few months. So in order to make things more manageable we have decided to go monthly. So watch out for the next show which will be coming to you from Down Under!

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Australia

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

 

absolutely intercultural 145 +++ Internship FAZ +++ Facebook no thanks! +++ JUAf charity Tanzania +++ Tradie of the Month +++

Kikwe Woman in the JUAf projectToday our show will be all about work and will focus on different work situations. You will first listen to an interview with Kyle Hickman from California who did an internship with a German newspaper, then to Mathew Dunne, a plumber from New Zealand, who worked in England and who is currently working in Munich, Germany. Also, I interviewed Judi McAlpine, an American manager who quit her job to found a non-profit organization in Tanzania. Adelheid Korpp will tell us her reasons, why Facebook will never play a role for her, neither in her working life or her private life.

absolutely committed
In our first category I talk to Kyle Hickman from California. At the time of the interview, Kyle was doing an internship with a big national newspaper in Germany, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“,  and told us a little about the cultural differences he had noticed between California and Germany. For example, he seems to have detected a difference in attitude towards interns who are doing a practical training in a company. While he expected to be exploited as cheap labour – making coffee, copies or “cold calls” he noticed that his internship in Germany was really centered on the professional development of the intern – often even based on the intern’s personal likes and interests. So, from the beginning Kyle was trusted with what he calls “real work” and was able to contribute to the success of the newspaper. However, he also found out that smiling too much in the work place could be seen as suspicious in his host country and adapted his behavior accordingly. He did not find it difficult to integrate, though, as he grabbed every opportunity to be social with his co-workers. Listen out for what Kyle shares about eye-contact and how he had to adapt to a different culture.

absolutely careful
In our second category I talk to Adelheid Korpp. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus. Students from our partner universities who have been in contact with her often want to add her as a friend to their Facebook accounts. However, Adelheid is suspicious of being part of this biggest virtual community in the world. Well, she is probably right because life was difficult and complex enough before we had to check Facebook and Twitter. Sharing your personal information and pictures on the internet can, indeed, sometimes perhaps be harmful for you and for your career. So let’s find out, why she doesn’t want to take part in the big social media hype.

absolutely helpful
In our third category  I interviewed Judi McAlpine from the US when we both met in Cambodia earlier this year. Judi was a very successful manager for a huge company in the US. But then she transferred all her resources into a 2-years stay in Tanzania, where she lived in the villages with indigenous people and founded a charity. JUAF is a registered non-profit charity located in the Kikwe village of Tanzania. In partnership with indigenous women, Judi founded a village with resources for vulnerable women and children to empower them to fight poverty. This is done through micro financing, education, and support. Check out their blog for more information. But why would someone like Judi give up her well-paid job in the US to move to third-world-country?

absolutely tradie
In our last category I Interview Mat Dunne who is a plumber from New Zealand. He has travelled a lot around the world for his work. He worked in Canada and in England. Right now he is living in Munich, Germany. In every step of his life he experienced different cultural situations. In the interview he will tell us about the differences in reputation between “tradies” in New Zealand and craftsmen in Europe. It is, indeed, true that the same profession may have very different prestige and reputation in different countries. I was personally surprised during my time in Australia to find that “tradies, unlike their often bourgeois German counterparts would mostly be very good-looking guys with a cool hair- and life style and a surfboard on their cars so that in between two customers they would hop on their boards and enjoy the surf. On page 3 of cheap newspapers you would sometimes even find the picture of a shirtless “tradie of the month”.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 14 October

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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

absolutely intercultural 143 +++ ERASMUS special +++ Experience Report +++ EU-placements +++ Internship +++

ERASMUS LOGOToday, we present a show which is going to focus on the European Program called “ERASMUS”, named after Eramus of Rotterdam. However, the name also stands for “EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”. So, University students can apply for ERASMUS grants when they want to study abroad withinin Europe. Therefore we will hear different opinions about this mobility program and the opportunities students gain by studying abroad within the ERASMUS framework. Nowadays it is more and more important for students to internationalize themselves during their studies. This means they have to leave their comfort zones and broaden their horizons by studying abroad. In order to initiate this process, the European ERASMUS program was founded almost 25 years and has been giving out grants for the internationalization of students.

 absolutely basic
In our first category Adelheid Korpp is going to tell us, what the program is about and which preparations students have to make. She is an expert on the ERASMUS program. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus and she knows a lot about the grants. She will tell us which countries in Europe take part in the ERASMUS program and what benefits student can expect if they decide to go on an ERASMUS exchange. For good Europeans it is essential to understand each other better particularly in context of the recent discussions about financial solidarity between the European member states.

absolutely experienced
In our second category Timo Schneider will share his experiences with us. He is back from his stay in Worcester, England, where he studied at a partner university of RheinAhrCampus. He will tell us how he heard about the program, what motivated him to put in an application, and of course which benefits he got from his stay. Timo also shares some of his intercultural experiences in sports where he noticed that his previous stereotypes really did not help. He will also give us a very useful advice.

absolutely working
In our last category Carsten Ritterath a student of business administration reports about his preparation for an internship in England. His football coach helped him find the English organisation where one of his tasks was to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten managed to get a grant from ERASMUS-placements and he tells us what he needed to do in order to apply for this. He wrote a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, he took part in an intercultural seminar and he had to pass an English test. I took this interview with Carsten some time ago so in the meantime he is already back from his very successful ERASMUS stay.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 16 September

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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

absolutely intercultural 127 +++ e-mail addicted +++ communication guide +++ social media +++ digital media +++

Today we are going to talk about how important social media and email have become in our lives. Do they help us be more productive or do they dominate our daily lives? 2010 may have ended peacefully and the holiday season was pretty calm but what was your first look at the internet like when you came back to work? Hundreds of email messages that were waiting for an answer? Dozens of requests to join somebody’s Linked-In network or to accept or decline messages because you are the moderator of a list or a blog? To be honest, after 10 minutes at the computer where I felt like a fire-fighter trying to get the worst catastrophies under control I was tempted to shut down the computer and do some “real work”. But did I? No, somehow I felt I needed to write quick answers, press “Like” butt0ns on Facebook and accept digital invitations because it all looked so urgent and real even though I was alone in my office and all the urgency was “only digital”.

absolutely addicted
I met Elaine and Will and had a discussion about how to monitor your work-life balance and perhaps separate your business and your private lives. In this respect almost all my friends fall into one of two very separate cultures and will explain to you that their particular work situation (rather than their own choice) determines their behavior. Are you the kind of a person who will switch off totally after work and recharge your batteries so that you can perform well in the work place afterwards? Or are you always connected and keep checking your email account at home even when you should be preparing dinner? If you decide not to look at your work email at home, does that this really mean that you are less than fully committed to your job or does the constant digital connection to your work place show that you cannot let go and eventually lead to burn-out syndrome? However we deal with this, most of us somehow have a bad conscience about our work-life balance one way or another, so let us discuss this and see whether digital addiction is actually a bad thing? In our first category Elaine and Will describe how two partners deal with this daily challenge in very different ways.

absolutely professional
In our second category Andreas Faulstich tells our interviewer Maria that some badly written email messages can drive him crazy and cause him a lot of extra work. Fortunately, there are only few messages which steal his time. Listen to how he tries to deal with these messages and how he suggests writing email messages more professionally. First, Maria asked Andreas how many email messages he receives every day?

absolutely connected
In our last category we organized a round table where I am talking with Lucy, Emese and Markus about how students who leave their home universities and study abroad can stay connected with family, friends and their home university through the digital media. Do we perhaps need to choose different channels for different target groups?

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 04. February

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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