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 . The next one comes out on the same day as this podcast and includes information, links and news. And of course it’s all free.

And thanks to Jeja Petrici who became our 500th Facebook liker on 16th October. We regularly post links on intercultural topics there on most week days. Just do a search on Facebook for Absolutely Intercultural or use the link on the sidebar.
People overcome all sorts of obstacles to be on our show! Here’s Alexandra Haas in Germany, arriving to our agreed recording a tiny bit delayed!

absolutely at home
We’ll hear more about what the refugee influx has meant for Alexandra’s work later in the show. But first we will make a visit to a very special institution, a Danish high school, which is not what you may think. The network of Danish high schools dotted all over the country, usually in very attractive rural settings, is a place for adults to go on short to long term residential courses. These courses in the past have tended not to be vocational but mainly just for the sake of learning. It’s a very Danish institution and can be traced back to Grundtvig, a Danish 19th century philosopher who gave his name to the European Union’s strand for adult education funding. My local high school specialises in languages and nowadays caters for foreigners in Denmark needing to learn Danish in order to settle down here. I went to Kalø Højskole (see image) to meet Jennifer Appave, a Canadian who has worked in Japan, Africa and Asia, to ask her about her experience teaching multinational groups in this residential setting.

absolutely German
Did you know that this podcast came out of a project called Teaching Culture which ended in 2006? In Teaching Culture we developed a curriculum to help teachers become more interculturally aware and to include intercultural elements no matter what they were teaching. Alexandra Haas was the initiator and coordinator of the project and it was great to catch up with her almost 10 years later to find out how the refugee influx in Germany was affecting her work at VHS Rhein-Sieg.
Hearing from Jennifer and Alexandra is very helpful to me as I update and adapt the Teaching Culture course so that it is suitable for Erasmus+ funding. What we learned there was about the importance of

  • treating each learner as an individual,
  • negotiating what goes on in the classroom and
  • being prepared for conflict and dealing with that by finding out what the underlying reasons for the conflict may be.

absolutely global
I’ll be talking about making the most of the intercultural resources in the adult classroom at the upcoming Global Education conference which is free and online. My session is in the European evening of November 19th at 20:00 CET and you might want to explore the other sessions available from 16-19th November because the overall theme is about going global in your classroom.
So that’s it for this show! We’ll be posting on the Facebook page when the nominations for the Edublog awards start so please do consider nominating the podcast. The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on 4th December. So until then stay tuned!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook or leave a comment on iTunes and stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox




Absolutely Intercultural 187 +++ Cultural Comparison +++ Learning German +++ Australian Culture

Maybe you will notice that we have a new editor on the show. Laura has left the Sunshine Coast, Australia, to come and take on a year here at RheinAhrCampus in Germany. We all think she is crazy to give up all that beautiful sunshine but are so happy to have her on our team. Thanks a lot to Younes Jaber who has helped us produce so many good shows in the past and is now about to finish his studies. Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 187 +++ Cultural Comparison +++ Learning German +++ Australian Culture

Absolutely Intercultural 185 +++ Christmas Traditions +++ New Year’s Resolutions +++ Intercultural Christmas

Christmas-at-the-beach_01December – in the north of Europe this means Christmas trees, mulled wine, lots of snow and if you are lucky you may spot the odd reindeer. In our show today I asked how my guests celebrate Christmas in Australia, England, Germany, Singapore and Eritrea but also how people formulate their New Year’s resolutions in different cultures.

Christmas celebrations differ around the globe but typically involve gatherings of family and friends and indulging in rich and glorious food and drink. When talking about Christmas, everyone seems to have their own ideal view of what “Christmas” should be all about, which, however, varies greatly from country to country. For me, as a child, Christmas meant spending the holy evening with my family, singing traditional, often gloomy German Christmas songs, remembering previous Christmases and excitedly anticipating the moment where I get to un-wrap my gifts. For the last 25 years, I have been abroad in different countries for that period of year, experiencing different intercultural traditions. I have been fortunate enough to meet people from all around the world and hear about how they spend their festive night.

absolutely festive Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 185 +++ Christmas Traditions +++ New Year’s Resolutions +++ Intercultural Christmas

Absolutely Intercultural 181 +++ Germany +++ German Habits +++ Intercultural Experiences In Germany +++ Language Barrier +++ Students Blog +++

Ha World CupAre YOU interested in soccer? Did you follow the FIFA World Cup which ended a couple of weeks ago?
When you look at it – it is probably the biggest intercultural event in the world where people from all continents come together to enjoy sport. Some countries stood out more than others, above all Brazil which hosted the games and we learned a lot more about Brazilian geography and culture. But Germany also stood out, because they won the cup.
So now, many people are thinking about doing a trip to Germany. As a consequence, we, the team of Absolutely Intercultural have decided to give our listeners an intercultural inside view into some parts of the German culture in the hope of reducing some stereotypes which you may have heard.

Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 181 +++ Germany +++ German Habits +++ Intercultural Experiences In Germany +++ Language Barrier +++ Students Blog +++

Absolutely Intercultural 177 +++ Intercultural Complexity and Simplicity +++ Vietnam, Finland, and Germany +++ Differences in Everyday Cultural Conventions +++ Culture Shocks +++

If you like the podcast then please also LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Indochine057traffic jam webOur current exchange students from Vietnam and Lithuania are here in Germany studying and doing their internships. Within their first days after their arrival, they mentioned some cultural differences concerning the complexity and simplicity in their new lives and in their home countries. Cultural anthropologists have discovered and described differences in the level of cultural complexity in various parts of the world. But – as we know – the understanding of such a difficult and complicated phenomenon is not the same if you just read about it. Traveling around the world and getting in touch with many different cultures is probably the best way to understand how cultures – and especially cultural conventions – differ from country to country. Continue reading Absolutely Intercultural 177 +++ Intercultural Complexity and Simplicity +++ Vietnam, Finland, and Germany +++ Differences in Everyday Cultural Conventions +++ Culture Shocks +++

absolutely intercultural 175 +++ Australia Day +++ can-do attitude +++ the lucky country +++

Please put your headphones on and listen to Show 175 from Australia! If you like the podcast then please also LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

John Major, Bush Poet at Australia Day NoosaToday our show will take you to the “Lucky Country“,  where the inhabitants with distinctive multicultural backgrounds have developed a positive “can-do”- attitude and try to give everybody a “fair go”.

Listen to my interviewees in Australia.  On the last weekend in January we celebrated Australia Day, and I took along the microphone to share my impressions with you.

absolutely immigrated
Let us listen to two typical Australians whose ancestors came over from Europe. I met Vivian and Wayne in Sydney Harbour over coffee and with the beautiful view on the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and when I was conducting the interview I wished we had a video podcast so I could have shared with you a perfect hot summer morning in late December.

absolutely Aussi
Three weeks later I had left New South Wales and was back on the Sunshine Coast. Let us see whether in Queensland being Australian is also about football, meat pies, and BBQs. I asked some colleagues from the University of the Sunshine Coast how they were planning to celebrate Australia Day. Bishnu told us that when he first moved to Australia he did not really like eating lamb but now it has turned into his favourite dish. Talk about successful integration!

absolutely aboriginal
I am following up this topic of the first owners of the land and asked how the attitudes of ordinary Australians towards Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders have changed over the years in society and in education.

absolutely multicultural
Every year the Australian of the Year is elected and this person will give important public speeches during that year. This year I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to the speech of the outgoing Australian of the Year talking about attitudes to indiginous people and to multiculturalism in general. You could really see on Ita Buttrose’s face how happy she is that her ancestors came over to Australia in the 1850ies.

absolutely original
On 26 January I visited Australia Day in Noosa, Queensland, in search of examples and explanations of the”can-do” attitude, the “fair go” and the “Lucky Country”. I did not have to search long because the first person I met, John Major, “Bush Poet” and former farmer, explained to me in his own words what these Australian concepts are all about for him.

And do not miss the brass band at the beginning and the end of that interview!

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 7 March 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




absolutely intercultural 171 +++ semester abroad +++ intercultural experiences +++ Germany +++ exchange student support +++

If you like the podcast then please also LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

BlogpictureOur exchange students from Australia and Hungary have finished one year studying and doing their internships in Germany. Spending a long time far away from home – all on your own – will probably change your way of thinking and of doing things. Maybe – it will even make you cross that invisible line between being a teenager and an adult.

Have you ever thought about spending some time abroad in order to acquire intercultural experiences? Or are you still undecided, because you have too many worries about leaving your comfort zone and getting along in a foreign country?
You are in good company, our international exchange students, too, had many worries before they arrived at our university but they did survive their year abroad with a smile in their faces.

absolutely open-minded
During the last year our Australian exchange students collected a number of intercultural experiences in Germany and Turkey. They met many new people and made many new friends.
But before they came to Germany, they also had many worries in their heads.
I interviewed Tehlia, Matthew and Lucy – all Australian students in order to hear more about their main worries and getting some suggestions for future exchange students.

absolutely helpful
We asked ourselves what kind of help future exchange students need during the planning of their semester abroad. I interviewed Adelheid Korpp. She told us more about typical questions and worries of exchange students before they arrive in Germany.
It seems to be mostly about accommodation…

absolutely life-changing
Barbara Neukirchen, our colleague who looks after the “outgoing students” will share her impressions of how students have changed after their stay in a foreign country. I asked her how the students find out about their options for spending a year abroad.

absolutely inspired
Andreas Faulstich, lecturer at RheinAhrCampus, is going to explain in how much his year in Scotland influenced his style of teaching.

Would you like to share with us your own intercultural experiences 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 1st of November 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




absolutely intercultural 170 +++ cross-cultural trainers +++ Burgheimer +++ Gokun Silver +++ SIETAR

Credit: Dennis Hill,

Welcome and shanah tovah.  Why shanah tovah? Because that is the Hebrew New Year greeting and it was the Israeli new year the day before this podcast came out. I learned this from Marion Burgheimer, an Israeli cross cultural trainer I spoke with about the most popular links on our Absolutely Intercultural Facebook Page. She also told me that Shanah Tova is a wish for a good new year rather a happy new year, as a good year makes you happy. Welcome to Christian Garry Kansil who is the latest person to like our Facebook Page. I wonder if you’re finding the links we post there of interest Christian? In this show I talked to two cross cultural trainers to find out more about their work and how they got into it.

absolutely curious
How do you become a cross cultural trainer? I’m sure that this isn’t something you told your careers adviser at school that you wanted to be when you grew up. So that was how I started my conversation with both of our guests in this show. First I asked Marion Burgheimer about how she came to be a crosscultural trainer.

absolutely linked
Then I spoke to Marion about some of the links which have proved popular on our facebook page and what made them popular. If you know of any interesting links which we should share on our Facebook Page then leave us a comment there or use our blog or send us an email. Also use the blog to contact us if you know of someone we should be speaking to for a future podcast.

absolutely lost
So now to our second cross cultural trainer, Margarita Gokun Silver, founder of the Global Coach Center; same questions, what’s your background and how come you became a cross cultural trainer and we’ll see that Margarita’s strength lies in helping the spouses of people who get stationed abroad and who are absolutely lost in some cases. Here are some of the things they say:

You can find more Global Coach Centre videos on their YouTube channel. In fact I spoke at greater length to Margarita and I hope that I can bring you a bit more of that conversation in later shows. But in the mean time search this post for all the links we talked about and the videos that Margarita has produced, visit us on Facebook Page or see the show on our YouTube channel.
Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann on October 4th so stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Editor: Younes Jaber

Image: Dennis Hill, at Flickr




absolutely intercultural 158 +++ Flat Class +++ Julie Lindsay +++ Vicki Davis +++ Thomas Friedman +++

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

Flat Classroom Project 2010In the last three shows we’ve been hearing about Corporate Social responsibility, different attitudes to it and how to promote it. In this show we’re going to move away from business and hear about a very special project which helps to globalize the attitudes of students of all ages.

absolutely flat
The Flat Class project started in 2006 when two teachers, one in Bangladesh and one in the US discovered they were both studying the same book with their classes and decided that it might be fun to link their classroom discussions together.

The book was ‘The World is Flat’ by Thomas Friedman in which Friedman discusses the forces which are leveling the global playing field. The project has just grown and grown with many more classrooms involved and different topics being explored such as racism and digital identity. And now six years later the originators of the Flat Classroom Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davies have written a book to help teachers implement these global connections in their own classrooms. The book is called ‘Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds’ and I was lucky enough to be able to speak to the authors a couple of months ago when it first came out.

absolutely Amazon
By the way, in the six years since this show started we have mentioned quite a number of books on this show and we have now collected them together in an Amazon store. So you will find a link to this book and all the others 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 but in the meantime you can get a sneak preview below.

See more from the video from which I took a couple of extracts here.

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann on October 5th so stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Recordings and editing done with the help of Hindenburg Journalist Pro

absolutely intercultural 153 +++ South Korea +++ Germany +++ Semester abroad +++ Ideal student +++ Personal development +++

EWHA-University-Students Today I am going to talk about the exciting decisions of those students who broaden their horizons by studying abroad. Furthermore we will talk to an expert who helps these students get the right information and financial support for fulfilling their dreams of living and studying in another country. Last but not least I would like to share an urban myth about an intercultural incident on a British Airways flight complete with a happy ending (at least for some of the people involved!)

absolutely remarkable
In Germany it is normal for about 20% of students at universities go abroad during their studies. However, Anne Gründer, is rather special in many ways. She studied Biomathematics and chose to spend a semester studying abroad at EWHA Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea. And because she enjoyed her time so much she actually extended her stay for a second semester. Anna also successfully learned the language with the Asian symbols that look so unfamiliar to the western eye. Now that she is back in Germany she looks back on the cultural differences she experienced and shares how she benefited from her stay. In our first category  she will start by telling us why she chose South Korea as her destination for her semester abroad.

absolutely courageous
If one of our listeners is toying with the idea of coming to Germany, our interview will be particularly interesting for you. Kata Perjési is an Hungarian student. After spending a study semester abroad in Finland, she had planned to do her internship in Finland too. However, luckily for us she ended up being our new intern here at RheinAhrCampus. Kata is from Corvinus University in Budapest and will stay here for six months. In our next category she is going to tell us, why she chose Germany as her destination and what benefits she expects to get out of her stay abroad.

absolutely ideal
Our last guest for today is Wolfgang Kräft. He is working for the “German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD”. Together with his team, one of Wolfgang’s jobs is to travel through Germany and to inform German students how they could study abroad and which financial support they can get. They stop in bigger cities with their go-out mobile bus and provide students with a lot of information. In our last category Wolfgang will tell us what the ideal study abroad student should look like, how students can receive information about a semester abroad and finally he will give us advice on how your stay abroad could be the most productive time of our studies.

absolutely funny
Let me finish today with an intercultural urban myth about a black man and a white woman – a story has turned into a well-copied piece on the internet over the last decade. According to different versions this incident would have happened on about 17 different Airlines which is not very plausible but the story is nice enough to be re-told here:

“A 50- year old white woman on a British Airways flight arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.
“Whats the problem, ma?” the hostess asked her
“Cant you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t sit here next to him! You have to change my seat”
– “Please, calm down” – said the hostess
“I think, all the seats are occupied, but I`m still going to check if we have any.”
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
“Madam, I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn`t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class.”
“Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class be upgraded to the first class. However, given the circumstances, the captain thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person.”
And turning to the black man, the hostess quickly said:
“Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your hand luggage, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…”
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some giving standing ovations.”

Adapted from:


Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 4 May.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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