Tag Archive for 'European business administration'

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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absolutely intercultural 131 +++ changing perspectives +++ annoying behaviour in class +++ hospitality club +++ freezing in Australia +++

Why do different people have different perspectives? How can the same person have different perspectives on traffic only because one time the person experiences it in the car and the next day on a bicycle? How do our perspectives on events change over time. How big is the cultural influence on our perspective? And how does our perspecive change when we move to another culture?

absolutely changed
All of us have different perspectives on the everyday things that surround us, we watch news on television, hear stories and we think we are perfectly informed about everything. But are we really? Sometimes a trip to another country or a new episode in our lives can change our perspective on the World dramatically.
Take Paul MacAlindin for example. He moved from small-town Scotland to big-town Germany and this move changed his geographical perspective to one which for Continental Europeans seems very normal.

absolutely irritating
Emese Bognar an exchange student from Hungary, vividly illustrates different perspectives and changing perspectives when she told me what irritated her when she attended a lecture and how her perspective on traffic changed, when she did her driving license.

absolutely hospitable
Agnes Dus from Hungary interviewed Adelheid Korpp, who had tried the “hospitality club”, which is a clever system for travelers to get cheap accommodation. The traveler applies for accommodation to a host, contacts the host and asks if they can stay for 1 or 2 nights. This seems to be a pleasant way for travelers to get around and have a cheap bed for the night. However, more importantly, this could be a good way to change your perspective from that of a regular tourist to that of a dear friend invited to the country. But let us listen to Adelheid how this works in detail, because first of all you need to get approved.

absolutely freezing
In our fourth and last category Roman told me about his time in Australia; he spent a semester at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and we now really have to change our perspectives here, because he is telling us that in the middle of the Australian summer you can still feel pretty cold, but listen to him yourself.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 01 April

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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


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absolutely intercultural 129 +++ comfort zones +++ dangerous situations +++ scary moments +++ classical artist +++

your comfort zoneWelcome to show 129 of our Podcast “absolutely-intercultural”. Thanks you again to all of you who have helped us win in the non-profit category of the European Podcast Awards (fourth place in Germany and even number 1 in Denmark!). We really appreciate all your input and the attention our podcast has received as a result. We feel absolutely comfortable seeing that what we produce seems to have a wide audience of listeners.

absolutely scared
Today we are going to talk about comfort zones and especially leaving our comfort zones. A comfort zone is the place where you feel comfortable, where everything seems to be easy and under your control. But what happens if you have to leave this comfort zone because of a change in your life or if you decide out of your own free will to leave your comfort zone? In our first category I had a meeting with people who have chosen to spend some time outside their comfort zones – by going to a foreign country: Lucy from Australia, Gintare and Vaida from Lithuania and Yasha from Turkmenistan decided to leave their comfort behind and experience something new. They left their home countries and entered a new world. I asked them which situations in their new lives were the scariest.

absolutely dangerous
If the feeling is strong, you may even feel out of place or unsafe in your new environments. This happened to Beatrice, when she went to Egypt on a holiday for the first time and all the new impressions, smells, the loudness of the street and the different behaviors of people she met, made her feel like a fish out of the water and she was even a little scared. In our second category I asked whether she could still remember leaving her comfort zone for the first time.

absolutely prepared
In our next category I will return to our round table, where the foreign students tell me how they try to introduce familiar objects from their home countries into their unfamiliar surroundings in order to be a little more comfortable even outside their comfort zones. But first I asked the participants to tell me what situations in their host country made them most uncomfortable.

absolutely comfortable
When I was putting together this podcast it seemed that nowadays it is a universal truth that we need to leave our comfort zones all the time? But can that really be right? I went out of my way to find someone who says that there are professions where everybody would want you to stay within the comfort zone. How ironic, I actually had to find an artist who would speak in favor of comfort zones so in our fourth and last category I finally spoke to Paul MacAlindin, a classical musician who is active in organizing international orchestra performances, e.g. for the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, of which he is the Musical Director. I asked him where he leaves his comfort zones during his artistic work and also in his private life. To my surprise he explained that in classical music most stakeholders prefer not to leave their comfort zones.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 05  March

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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


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absolutely intercultural 96 +++ Cao Lei +++ Minhaaj Ur Rehman +++ China +++ Pakistan

hfutlogo

The two people we will be hearing from in this show have both come half way round the world to visit Europe and such a long distance seems to lead to very strong contrasts – not always in those aspects which you would expect. We’ll be hearing from Cao Lei, a biology lecturer from Heifi in China, here on her first visit to Europe.

We’ll also be hearing from Minhaaj Ur Rehman, from Pakistan, who recently arrived in Sweden to do an MBA even though he already has an MBA from Pakistan but apparently a foreign MBA will be much more impressive to any future employers back home. One of the major differences which was immediately apparent is the relationship between the students and their teachers. It’s often surprising to us who live here what people from outside the area notice so I had to smile when Minhaaj mentioned how considerate he found drivers in Sweden to be.

absolutely exhausted
When Cao Lei from China visited Europe recently she found that the Netherlands was very relaxing and peaceful in spite of it being one of the most densely populated countries in the world. But once she started to talk about the normal 18-hour school day in China for her 13 year old daughter I began to understand how much the visit to Europe must have represented a change of gear for her.

absolutely freezing
It is a cliché for a Brit like me to talk about the weather but the weather has certainly made a deep impression on Minhaaj Ur Rehman who came from Pakistan to do an MBA in Sweden and not in southern Sweden but in northern Sweden, Umeä where already in October the temperature was close to zero (centigrade that is). And it’s interesting that Minhaaj points out the lack of congestion and people as a plus, just as Cao Lei did.

absolutely spoiled for choice
If you don’t speak a language which uses script then you have probably never given a thought to the way in which a computer produces ideograms such as those used in Chinese and Japanese. So when Cao Lei from China visited us recently it was fascinating to watch how she could turn Chinese written with western letters into Chinese script using good old Word.

absolute double?
Minhaaj Ur Rehman is from Pakistan and already has an MBA so why is he in Sweden doing another MBA? Is this an absolute double? It turns out that even if you are reading the same books there are some very good reasons for re-doing the course and he gets to experience some very different approaches to education along the way.

By the way if you have any comments or suggestions you’re always welcome to contact us through our blog at www.absolutely-intercultural.com and leave a comment. We love following up on contacts or just reading about your reactions and experiences.

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on November 27. So until then, stay tuned won’t you?

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Editor: Dino Nogarole


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absolutely intercultural 82 +++ cultural intelligence +++ Plum +++ Tomalin +++ diversity +++ human rights +++

Cultural Intelligence
Are you intelligent?  one of our listeners, Dennis Jim Frederiksen wanted to know in February. Well he didn’t ask the question directly, but he did suggest that we take a look at the work of Elisabeth Plum who has come up with a new way of looking at intercultural differences and how to overcome them. She calls this cultural intelligence. So this show is about a new way of looking at the issue of intercultural competence.

We’ll also be hearing from Barry Tomalin, kicking off an exciting new European project called Diversity in Europe at Work, on why human rights has become part of the cultural landscape.

absolutely theoretical:
Why did Plum think we needed a new theory of culture? Ignoring the many aspects of diversity means you fall back on stereotypes according to Plum so how do you become culturally intelligent?

absolutely Russian:
So how does this translate into practice? When you meet with Russians, you should find out about Russian culture, right? Or maybe we shouldn’t!

absolutely diverse:
The idea that we shouldn’t focus on just one aspect was also the theme of Barry Tomalin’s talk to the ICC conference in Florence, Italy a couple of weeks ago. Tomalin is Director of Cultural Training at International House in London and was at the conference to present a new project called Diversity in the European Workplace or DEW for short, which is preparing some exciting intercultural training materials based on critical incident methodology. Tomalin started by talking about the different aspects of diversity which you typically find in a European workplace. These he called the 7 – ‘isms’. Watch out for an explanation of the Somali worker mystery at the end.   The recording comes courtesy of Carl Dowse who does intercultural training as part of his Business English courses in Germany and I hope to be talking to him in more detail about his approach in a later show.

absolutely intelligent:
Well let’s return to this idea of cultural intelligence. It is clear that the concept relies on the interplay of 3 factors, emotion, cognitive, action or what you feel, what you know and what you do. We hear how Elisabeth Plum explains the three factors.

So what do you think? Is this an idea that would help you in your intercultural encounters? You could let us know by leaving a comment here If you want to find out more about cultural intelligence then go to Elisabeth Plums blog where you can find details of her book and an article explaining the basic concepts of cultural intelligence. You may have heard Elisabeth mention that the phrase cultural intelligence is also used by a research group in the US in a slightly different way. So we will try and follow up on that so that we can see how the ideas compare. Well I hope that you are now a little more culturally intelligent. If not then you’ll just have to come back for more on May 15th when Laurent Borgmann hosts the next show from Germany.

The next show will be coming to you on 15th May Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Jan Warnecke


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absolutely intercultural 81 +++ Software of the Mind 3: updates +++ studying abroad +++ International Business Simulations+++

"I love being updated" by Daan Berg / DBreg2007

absolutely updated:
Together with Karsten Kneese and Fernando Reyero Noya, we continue to explore Geert Hofstede’s concept of Culture as the Software of the Mind. We discuss the aspect of cultural updates and how people need to adapt to new rules and behaviours due to changes in our society. Often they are brought about by changes in the law where as a result everybody around us starts behaving differently – for example after the smoking ban in public places. In fact, this update goes even further and there is a new word in the English language: “smirting”, which is a combination of “smoking” and “flirting”. This new behaviour pattern came with the non-smoking laws and allows a new kind of communication which lasts as long as a cigarette just outside the pubs. You wait until someone you would like to get to know in the pub gets up to have a cigarette and then join the person outside and use this 5-minute break together to get to know each other. Wikipedia has picked up this new trend and even describes the phenomenon of “passive smirting” as “the pastime for those who stand outside with friends or colleagues but do not actually smoke themselves.”

absolutely changed:
While most of the time we just react to updates and readjust our lives accordingly, some people actively open themselves to challenges and updates – for example by studying in another country in order to broaden their horizons. Aurora Mustonen from Finland is such a courageous person. She tells us how after her A-levels in Finland she decided that she wanted to move to England to do her bachelor’s degree.
It is amazing how such stays abroad do not only train our adaptability to other cultures but also seem to change our attitudes when we go back to our own cultures afterwards. This may be because we integrate successful pieces of behaviour which we learned and tested abroad into our home culture.

absolutely motivating:
In our last category, we go on to another Finnish exchange student, Anna Moisio, a student at our University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz, who took part in a course called “International Business Simulations”. She soon found out that while this was called a “simulation” her managerial tasks as the CEO of the simulated company with branches in Lithuania, England, and Hungary had to be pretty “real”.
Anna explains to us how she had the opportunity to prove herself as the boss of an international company and was able to put into practice what she had learned about motivation and leadership in lectures and books, all within her experience at the foreign university setting. This experience was particularly important for her, as after completing her master thesis she plans to set up her own company. We wish her good luck for that!

The next show will be coming to you on 1 May from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Jan Warnecke


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absolutely intercultural 80 +++ 3 year anniversary +++ Cultural FAQ

Celebration

As well as 80 being a nice round number, this show also marks the third anniversary of the podcast so we are telling the story of culture through some of the many pieces we have done over the last three years.

So this is a sort of audio Frequently Asked Questions to the topic of intercultural communication and competence.

Q1 What is culture? Are the Screaming Men of Finland culture? Is what they do singing?

Listen as Laurent explores the idea of culture as the software of the mind with two guests.

Q2 Why do we need to know about intercultural differences?I once had a colleague who was very proud of the fact that he had gone to work in Morrocco without doing any research beforehand; the idea being that the voyage of discovery was all the more pleasurable that way. However when I spoke with Mark Karstad about his time as a technical assistant at the Dubai Women’s College I could appreciate the value of a little forewarning about the expectations of behaviour between males and females there.

Q3 What are Critical incidents?These are the times when you break the unwritten rules of culture. These tend to be the incidents that make the most impression on you. Here are a couple; firstly we hear from Fernando, a Spaniard, talking about a strange party he was invited to during his stay in Germany.

And  a second example from Turkmenistan where American peace corps workers come to work and often wonder about some of the situations they witness.

You can see that things can be very different and that this can take some gettimg used to. So this brings us to

Q4 What is Culture shock? This is when so many rules are different that you get a psychological reaction.

Listen how Mark Anderson from South Africa describes his reaction on accepting a job in Korea.

Q5 Can you learn cultural competence? We have discussed several different ways in which you can train intercultural competence. One of the most innovative was surely the Swedish Living Library initiative.

Q 6 Are cultural differences apparent in different communication media such as email and virtual worlds? Does IT flatten the world and make everyone the same or does it also reveal cultural differences? I discussed this in relation to the Virtual World Second Life with Helen Keegan and Sus Nyrop.

Q7 Is there a connection between culture and language? Language is intimately connected to culture. For example Europeans going to China may experience much more of a culture shock because their languages have so little in common. I discussed the issue with Ken Carroll in Shanghai.

Greenlandic is not only a little spoken language but also difficult to learn for other reasons. Hear why from Jens Nyeland, a Dane who worked in Greenland for 3 years.

Q8 Are there any topics Which tend to arise more often? Looking back it seems that we talk a lot about education. Here is one example of the difference in attitude to learning as described by Bob Compton of 2 Million Minutes

Another topic which crops up rather a lot is the link between culture and music. We started with the screaming men of Finland and this is an extract of Weightless Escape by Moussa Diallo, a prime mover behind the Global Music Festival in Grenaa Denmark whose aim is to build bridges between the native and immigrant populations in Denmark.

So that’s a taste of what we’ve been doing over the last 3 years. Thank you to everyone who has taken part. We couldn’t have done it without you. If you have any comments then you can add them to our blog .

The next show will be coming to you from Germany on April 17th.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is Anne Fox:
Editor: Jan Warnecke


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absolutely intercultural 79 +++ Borrowed Identities Part II +++ revisiting Achill Island +++ workshop insights +++

 

participants of the Borrowed Identities workshop from Germany/Angola, Spain, Lithuania, Finland, Hungary, Switzerland, and Germany I would like to take you back to the island where I took you a month ago. Previously, I shared my experiences of an Erasmus Intensive Programme with you and we listened to students and organisers who had taken part in it. We have more material about the project “Borrowed Identities” on Achill Island for you today.

absolutely developed:
In our first category Egle, Dainora and Marijus from Lithuania tell us how important this experience was for their own self-development and that the fact that so many students from so many different countries worked and lived together for two weeks was a challenge in itself.
We hear that the international workshops organized themselves democratically and some students were tempted to try out new leadership roles. It seems that the beautiful landscape on Achill Island inspired students in different ways – many of them found out more about themselves and their strengths and weaknesses. With the help of the “ship-metaphor” the students analyzed how they actually worked together as a team and how they could change roles. Some students tried to be captains, others were up in the look-out making sure that the ship does not hit an iceberg and some others were reading the maps and pointing out to the captain which direction to take.
Many students reported that the experience had helped them develop the confidence that they needed to be successful and at the same time enjoy the international teamwork.

absolutely focused:
Maria Koenen tells us how she was encouraged to have experiences on two very different levels: to do the work in the workshop but at the same time look at her own behaviour and the group dynamics within that workshop.
The Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) says that when you look out of the window you have to decide whether you focus on the tree outside or on a little spot of dirt on the window pane. He says it is impossible to focus on both at the same time. However, this is exactly what we encouraged our students to do. On the one hand the students had to concentrate on the contents of their international teamwork and on the other they were encouraged to talk about their behaviours and their positions within the workgroup and even to play with different roles within the team. This change of focus and perspectives was perceived as stimulating but rather unusual. Reports from the students were that during the two weeks they were forced to work within constraints which come very close to those in international work places where the job may be defined by somebody else and the colleagues were already there when you started.

absolutely real:
We listen to Sabine Rauh, who tells us that the other participants – like characters in a film – grew because of their self-development and the intercultural challenges they mastered during the seminar. She describes what it felt like at the beginning to find one’s place within this international team. Her job as student manager had put her in email contact with the other participants from Lithuania, England, Hungary and Germany but she admits that all this contact only felt real when she finally met the real students from the partner universities in the real train station in Dublin, Ireland.

absolutely helpful:
One of the factors that allowed participants to develop and grow was the students’ close contact with the local population on Achill. During the initial welcome reception the students had invited local people into their workshops. Among them was Anton, a local reporter from the Mayo News, who tells us how he joined the group only to write an article about the project but then was integrated in the workshops as the students appreciated his advice for the media workshop. In fact you can find out how useful Anton’s tips were. The students learned from him how to make the headlines of their travelogue “snappy” and how to vary the formats of the reporting by introducing little poems or even personal email messages in their travelogue.

absolutely European:
At the beginning of their international teamwork stereotypes about the Lithuanians, Germans, Hungarians and English really seemed to help because they seemed to make predictions about individuals’ behaviours possible. However, even during the first week these borders seemed to disappear and the way was free to look at personalities instead of nationalities.
In this show’s final category we hear how the group developed its own intercultural identity and turned into a kind of European family. Our 40 learners from 10 different nationalities on the Borrowed Identities Intensive Programme were able to get a much closer insight into what it means to work in European teams. They discovered that the diversity of cultural backgrounds produced a much richer team product than if the work had been done by learners from just one country.

The next show will be coming to you on 3 April from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Jan Warnecke


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absolutely intercultural 78 +++ Borrowed identities +++ Gaelic language +++

Souvenir from AchillJust as much as Achill seems to have become part of the annual calendar so does the Intercultural Management Institute conference each March. 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the Washington conference and promises to be the best yet so if you haven’t already booked your place then I suggest you hurry. We’re hoping to be able to bring you some highlights from the conference in a few weeks but to get the full flavour you really ought to attend in person.

absolutely Irish:
We’re not talking about green souvenirs or drinking a pint of Guiness. Instead this is about about the Irish language, Gaelic, whose future is hanging in the balance. All over the world people are learning English mainly for practical economic reasons. But could something be lost if English is at the expense of the local language? Tom Johnston is a former teacher in Achill on the west coast of Ireland where Gaelic has been the native language. What is the situation now? Réka and Kerstin, two of the Borrowed Identity students went to find out.

absolutely musical:
Pride is an important element in keeping a language alive, and so, it turns out, is music. You may recall hearing the haunting song, The Island, on this podcast last year. It is not traditional but it was written by an Irishman and one of the activities for our visiting students this year was to learn this song from Kate so that they could perform it at our final evening event. As we’ll hear later, music is a way of maintaining and passing on traditions…so let’s go absolutely musical and hear how they’re doing.

absolutely Irish 2:
So what can be done to preserve a language? Let’s find out more from Tom Johnston who tells us about the Conradh na Gaeilge, the organisation promoting the use of Gaelic. Do you live in an area where the native language is threatened? Is anything being done to save your language? Should we be saving languages in the same way that we try to preserve animal and plant species? If you have any comments about this or any of our other content then do let us know.

The next show will be coming to you on 20 March from Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Jan Warnecke


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absolutely intercultural 77 +++ Borrowed Identities Part I +++ Achill Island +++ live Irish Music +++

Media Workshop on Achill Island

absolutely achill:
This show is centered around our European Project which is called Borrowed Identities. And as you can see and hear Anne Fox is also involved in this. We are on the beautiful Irish island called Achill out in the Atlantic off the coast of Westport. I am very priviliged to be here with a group of 38 learners from four European Universities on an ERASMUS Intensive Programme subsidised by the European Commission. The participants have 12 different mother languages and in this remote part of the world we must look like a pretty colourful bunch of Europeans. Though during the day we are working a lot in our workshops all of us were immediately captured by the landscape and the music of this amazing island.

absolutely intensive:
In our first category we take you listeners with us on a virtual journey which started in the classrooms of the universities of Kaunas in Lithuania, Worcester in England, Koblenz in Germany and Budapest in Hungary in October last year. All participating students took part in a preparatory course where they got to know the students at the other stations through the new media. By getting in touch with each other they found out more about the cultures of the participating countries and produced documentation, e.g. on how to prepare a meeting in Lithuania, how to tailor your job application for the English market or an advertisement for the Hungarian market. During this “virtual phase” the students used email, forums, chats and podcasts to get in touch with each other and prepare for their real face-to-face meeting in February. Then on the same day all students from the various countries got on planes and flew to Ireland to meet each other in real life – they went “from virtual to real”. In Ireland for two weeks they worked in mixed nationality workshops and lectures on Intercultural Communication and related topics. The workshops managed to include local Irish participants and some students took the challenge of trying out new leadership roles as workshop coordinators, documentation or language diversity managers. They also learned that working in international groups can be quite a challenge and acknowledged that this real life experience teaches you more than any international project management book can. Most participants were surprised to find out a lot about their home culture – simply by stepping out of it and looking at it from a distance.

absolutely conversational:
Our social manager Maria Koenen had prepared an interesting small-talk exercise to prepare all students just half an hour before we were expecting our local guests in order to warm us up for small talk and find the right topics which would actually keep the conversation going. We had to stand outside our reception place in two circles, the inner circle facing out and the outer circle facing in so that everyone had a conversation partner just in front of them. After 60 seconds of small talk Maria asked the inner circle to move one person on so that everybody had a new conversation partner – a bit like in speed dating. With the new partner we could either practice the same conversation topic again or try another one. The subjects ranged from to the workshop contents to national stereotypes, age and background of the participants to the eternal small-talk subject: the weather.

absolutely integrated:
Anton McNulty, a local reporter of the Mayo News, turned up to the first reception of the European group without telling anybody that he was from the newspaper in order to get a neutral impression. He was astonished and delighted that the students all seemed so eager and kind of competed to attract him to their particular workshops in order to spend their time on Achill working with him.

If you want to hear more about the project Borrowed Identities and want to listen to what the students produced and learned from the two weeks, please check out our podcast in a month’s time, where we will follow up this story with a second part.

The next show will be coming to you on 6 March from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Jan Warnecke


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