Erasmus +++ Student stories +++ Exchange semester impact +++ Learned skills +++ Absolutely Intercultural 222 +++

To what extent does study abroad influence  students’ future life both in academic and career perspectives? Well, in this episode, which will be the last of a series on the 30th Anniversary of the ERASMUS program, we will listen to my colleague from RheinAhrCampus , who works with outgoing students, and helps them find the best partner universities for their stays abroad. She will talk about differences in students’ behaviors and appearance which she notices after they come back from their host country. We will also interview two guest lecturers from Portugal and from our partner university Indian Institution of Technology, Madras. They will talk about staying abroad and an extraordinary campus in India, and how it was first established with German aid in the 1960s. And we will hear some voices of international professionals who were once exchange students in Germany and who will tell us what skills and habits they gained during their studies at RheinAhrCampus. Finally we will listen to my co-host Anne Fox from Denmark who was in Germany and took part in our seminar Managing Cultural Diversity.

Continue reading Erasmus +++ Student stories +++ Exchange semester impact +++ Learned skills +++ Absolutely Intercultural 222 +++

Absolutely Intercultural 221 +++ before Erasmus +++ study abroad experiences +++ stereotypes +++

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.

Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 221 +++ before Erasmus +++ study abroad experiences +++ stereotypes +++

Absolutely Intercultural 214 +++ Erasmus 30 +++ Teaching Staff Mobility +++ Study Abroad

Welcome to this special episode dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of the European Erasmus Program. In today’s episode we are going to hear from three participants of the program sharing their experiences and stories about how they decided to leave their comfort zones and made a bold move to internationalise themselves. Listen to the the stories of two international Erasmus Exchange students from Azerbaijan and Georgia, and a guest lecturer from Canada.

Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 214 +++ Erasmus 30 +++ Teaching Staff Mobility +++ Study Abroad

Refugee journey +++ Global Educator +++ UK referendum on EU +++ Julie Lindsay +++ Absolutely Intercultural 202 +++

Radwan Abdullah
Radwan Abdullah, former Social Studies teacher from Syria

If you have ever wondered about the journeys of those thousands of refugees from Syria then you will want to hear Radwan Abdullah’s story of how he got to Denmark with his cousin and disabled daughter. We will also be hearing from Julie Lindsay about her new book on how to become a Global Educator.

What else? Well we’ve been nominated in the Podcast Awards and are waiting to hear if we will get in the final selection on May 22nd. If we do, we will let you know and ask for your vote. So keep an eye on our Facebook page and here on our webiste.

And you may have noticed that there is a referendum coming up in the UK on whether or not to stay in the EU. Continue reading Refugee journey +++ Global Educator +++ UK referendum on EU +++ Julie Lindsay +++ Absolutely Intercultural 202 +++

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 197 +++ Cultural Diversity +++ Serious +++ Refugees +++

Absolutely Intercultural Show 197

blog_photoIn today’s podcast we discuss aspects of the German culture, involvement of refugees in everyday university life and integration of international students at Brock University. We talk to Sheila Young from Brock University, Canada who was visiting Germany for the first time in her life when we met her at RheinAhrCampus. She told us about how she prepared her visit to Germany from a cultural point of view. We will also hear about the experiences of three students, who took part in the Managing Cultural Diversity seminar. They will explain how refugees were involved in this project and how they benefitted from this experience. Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 197 +++ Cultural Diversity +++ Serious +++ Refugees +++

refugees +++ integration +++ Denmark +++ Germany +++ Eddies +++ absolutely intercultural 196 +++

Kalø HøjskoleWe have a new look for the website, a Facebook milestone, a webinar on culturally responsive teaching and a plea for help on the Edublog awards! We will be talking to two teachers about how they adapt to a diverse classroom.
So we have updated the website to accommodate the new material we have on culturally responsive teaching. You can now also sign up for the Teaching Culture newsletter . Continue reading refugees +++ integration +++ Denmark +++ Germany +++ Eddies +++ absolutely intercultural 196 +++

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 160 +++ entrepreneurship +++ critical thinking +++ intensive seminar +++ Lithuania +++

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If you like the podcast then LIKE US ON FACEBOOK HERE!

Did you know that if you are a student in a European University you are able to take part in an intensive seminar with students and lecturers from all over the EU?  We’ll be hearing from some students who took part in one such seminar in Lithuania earlier this year.  Did you follow Karsten Kneese on Twitter last month?  Karsten took over the ’I am Germany’ Twitter account for a week early in October.  One thing I learnt about during that week was the German work canteens which are open to the public.  So what do you think of this as a way of representing a country?  You can add your comments to our blog here or on our Facebook page. Thank you An, Vian, Sammy, Katherine and Roman who are the latest to have liked us there.

So in May, 35 students and lecturers from all over Europe gathered together in Lithuania to work together for two weeks on an intensive seminar about entrepreneurship called RECEIVE.  The topics explored included marketing, intercultural differences, digital communication, coaching and critical thinking.  Critical thinking not only has an application to entrepreneurs but is also an important skill for students who have been taught in quite a different way across the world.

absolutely critical
I talked first to Serge Koukpaki from Edinburgh University, which attracts many international students each year, about why he teaches a course on critical thinking and the effect on his foreign students. Then I talked to three of the students Serge brought with him to participate in the RECEIVE project who came from China, Thailand and Tanzania to find out what they thought of bringing a diverse group together to create joint products.  Guangqian Li from China spoke about his experience of working in a multinational group.  I was certainly surprised to learn that this intensive seminar in Lithuania was Li’s first experience of a truly multicultural educational setting.  Didn’t he have that in Edinburgh I wondered? Next I spoke to Duanjam Surbpong or Mo for short from Thailand about the benefits of the Intensive programme; extending your network is certainly a useful entrepreneurial skill. My final interview was with Hassan Iddy, a teacher trainer from Tanzania who found that the communal living aspect of the project reminded him of life in Tanzania much more than in Edinburgh where he is currently studying for his Masters.

absolutely challenging
So far we’ve heard a lot of good things about the Receive project but there were also a few challenges.  For example the group visited holocaust memorial museums while in Lithuania which lead to a discussion on genocide and the question about whether China’s one child policy could also be classed as genocide.  For Li, whom we heard from earlier, this was a problem as he explains. And that wasn’t the only challenge.  In my own workshop where we were constructing the project website, we suddenly noticed after about four days of work that all the personal photos on the website were of males.  This was quite a shocking realization which lead us to review all the photos on the website as well as discussing how this could have happened.  In fact it wasn’t just about photos.  You may have noticed that all my interviewees in this pod cast were also male.  So lots of food for thought.

absolutely entrepreneurial
If you are interested in following up the cross-border entrepreneurial theme you can join me in the free online Global Education conference on Monday 12 th November  at 18:00 GMT when I’ll be showing  a way of helping interns make more of their foreign posting through online skills training. All details and links will also be on our Facebook page.

absolutely Amazon
And finally don’t forget that if you are interested in following up any aspect of intercultural communication we have put together a collection of books, old and new, theory and practical in the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon book store. You don’t pay any extra but we get a small contribution to help continue pay the expenses of this podcast. Now that the northern nights are drawing in, a book may be just what you need here! 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 December 7th so stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox 

Recordings done on my iPad and 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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